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Short attention

Screen profiles the final nominees for the live-action short and animated short Oscars.

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Live-action short film nominees

Pentecost (Ire) [pictured]

Dir/prod Peter McDonald. 11mins, EMU Productions

A strong but light-hearted coming-of-age tale about a rebellious 11-year-old boy who — after an incident at Mass — is banned from watching his beloved football team, Liverpool FC. A chance at a reprieve means he must play the dutiful altar boy or never see a match again. Pentecost garnered high praise after winning best Irish short at the Cork film festival, as well as being selected to screen at Tribeca 2011.

Raju (Ger)

Dir Max Zähle
Prod Stefan Gieren. 25mins. Hamburg Media School/Filmwerkstatt

An emotional film about a couple who adopt an Indian orphan who then disappears. They realise they are part of a child-trafficking problem. This student film has won a bronze medal at the 2011 Student Academy Awards alongside many other awards on the festival circuit.

The Shore (UK) [pictured]

Dir/prod Terry George. 29mins. All Ashore Productions

Ciaran Hinds stars as Jim, returning to Northern Ireland after leaving 25 years previously at the height of the Troubles. He soon finds his best friend and ex-fiancée are now married. Directed by Terry George — co-writer of In The Name Of The Father and director of Hotel Rwanda — this blend of comedy and drama is beautifully shot and played, managing to deal with the Troubles in a clever and understated way.

Time Freak (US)

Dir Andrew Bowler Prod Gigi Causey. 11mins. Team Toad

A comedy about a neurotic man who invents a time machine — and how it goes disastrously wrong when he tries to make perfect the previous day. Yet to break out beyond the US festival circuit, this out-and-out comedy should prove a welcome antidote to some of the more serious fare on the shortlist.

Tuba Atlantic (Nor)

Dir Hallvar Witzo. 25mins. The Norwegian Film School

When 70-year-old Oskar discovers he is going to die, he decides to reconcile with his brother. But his sibling is across the ocean. A technically impressive film, this was a recipient of a gold medal at the Student Academy Awards and screens at the upcoming edition of the Clermont-Ferrand short film festival.

 

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Animated short film nominees

The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr Morris Lessmore (US)

Dirs William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg. 16mins. Moonbot Studios LA

A paean to the power of books, this is a hugely impressive mix of animation techniques and styles. While successful on the US festival circuit, the app version of the film — which turns it into an interactive book — has proved a huge hit with iPad owners.

La Luna (US) [pictured]

Dir Enrico Casarosa. 7mins. Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar’s La Luna is the poetic story of a young boy who takes a boat trip with his father and grandfather, unaware of the adventure they will undertake. Praised at its premiere at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, La Luna will be seen widely when it plays in front of new Pixar feature, Brave, later this year.

A Morning Stroll (UK)

Dir Grant Orchard
Prod Sue Goffe. 7mins. Studio AKA

This marvellously witty film, loosely based on a Paul Auster story, follows a chicken through important moments in modern history. Very popular on the festival circuit due to its humour and innovation, the film has picked up a Bafta nomination.

Sunday (Dimanche) (Can)

Dir Patrick Doyon. 11mins. National Film Board of Canada

National Film Board of Canada animations are typically good and this delightful tale about a grey Sunday seen through the eyes of a child is no exception. Screenings have included the 2011 Berlinale.

Wild Life (Can)

Dirs Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby. 14mins. National Film Board of Canada

In 1909, an Englishman is sent to the Canadian border. His positive letters home belie the reality of his situation. Another extremely accomplished effort from the National Film Board of Canada, Wild Life is a gently humorous film with an undercurrent of pathos.

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