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oscar shorts: eat them up

BONSAI FILMS in association with ShortsTV will be releasing the 19th annual Oscar® Nominated Short Films from 22 Feb at 37 cinema locations nationally with sessions that will be staggered through to early March.

 The release – only to screen in cinemas – will contain all of the short films nominated in the categories of Best Live Action, Best Animated and Best Documentary Short Film.

 This will be the sole opportunity for Australian audiences to view all of the short film nominees before the 96th Academy Awards® ceremony on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (Monday March 11 Australian time).

 As the Academy Awards approach their centenary, it’s worth noting that short films have played a role in the ceremony almost since its inception. While for the press the spotlight often gravitates toward the feature categories, for those immersed in the world of short films the announcement of the nominees remains an annual highlight.

More than ever before, they showcase not only a rich range of themes but also a significant increase in diversity, from female representation to the emerging international filmmakers from around the globe.

Women directors, producers and writers within the short film categories have taken centre-stage like never before, as evidenced by the majority of the directors in this year’s Best Animated category being women. From captivating narratives to thought-provoking themes, the 2024 line-up celebrates the world’s finest short films.

In the animation category, Israeli film maker Tal Kantor gives us LETTER TO A PIG, a note from a Holocaust survivor to a reviled farmyard animal that was instrumental in saving his life which has reverberations for a present day high school student.

Using hybrid visuals that create a drawn palimpsest over live action footage, LETTER TO A PIG is mired in metaphor.

From Israel to Iran, OUR UNIFORM from director Yegane Moghaddam, sees an Iranian girl unfold her school memories on the wrinkles and fabrics of her old uniform.

PACHYDERM is a sombre piece about child abuse from Stéphanie Clément, a film with summery tones but with wintry subtext.

The United States has two entries, WAR IS OVER, inspired by the music of John Lennon and Yoko Ono and NINETY-FIVE SENSES, an ode to the body’s five senses delivered by a man with little time left to enjoy them. Both films are striking in their visuals and pack an emotional punch in their narratives.

This year’s program will include two “Highly Commended” animation films:

 I’M HIP from director John Musker, a four minute frolic about a self absorbed cat, in a jazzy song and dance rendition of Bob Dorough and Dave Frishberg’s iconic song and WILD SUMMON from UK animators, Karni Arieli and Saul Freed. This is an astonishing natural history fantasy film, following the dramatic life cycle of the wild salmon in human form, narrated by Marianne Faithfull.

The five contenders in the Live Action category include the Canadian youth angst odyssey, INVINCIBLE Directed by Vincent René-Lortie and the equally dour American entry, RED, WHITE AND BLUE, Directed by Nazrin Choudhury, that stars Brittany Snow as a single parent living paycheck to paycheck. When an unexpected pregnancy threatens to unravel her already precarious position, she’s forced to cross state lines in search of an abortion.

From the UK, comes THE AFTER, Directed by Misan Harriman, an intense short film, starring David Oyelowo as a grieving ride share driver who picks up a passenger who helps him confront his devastating past.

A lighter but no less poignant take on lost love is KNIGHT OF FORTUNE from Danish Director, Lasse Lyskjær Noer. A funeral chapel is the unlikely setting for a slightly absurd series of events that help a couple of widowers face the future. A little farce in the face of finality.

And last but certainly not least, THE WONDERFUL STORY OF HENRY SUGAR from wunderkind Director, Wes Anderson, chronicles a variety of stories, but the main one follows Henry Sugar, who is able to see through objects and predict the future with the help of a book he stole. Based on a story by Roald Dahl and featuring Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel and Benedict Cumberbatch, this is a motormouth extravaganza with all the visual virtuosity one has come to expect from Anderson. After eight Academy Award nominations this could be his time to bring Oscar home.


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