The Oscar animated shorts are an incredibly unique medium, and a rare opportunity for some of the most creative artists in the film industry to shine.
Because they are created with smaller budgets, short films can be produced without the limitations often imposed on feature-length films by Hollywood studios, allowing filmmakers’ imaginations to take flight, and their visions to remain without compromise.
THE BEST ANIMATED SHORTS PROGRAM IS NOW AVAILABLE ON ITUNES AND ON DEMAND!
This year’s lineup of Oscar-nominated shorts are just as outstanding as last year’s, and parents will be delighted to note that this year’s program is full of family-friendly films. Only a few (noted below) contain intense scenes, but children age 8 and up can easily enjoy the wide variety of stories and animation styles included.
“Get A Horse” is phenomenal. There is just no other way to say it. The short film that opens Disney’s Frozen in wide release is a marvel, and seamlessly blends the classic look of the very first Mickey Mouse shorts with modern special effects, with eye-popping results. Viewers are going to be charmed and surprised. The thing I love most about this film is that Walt Disney voices Mickey Mouse throughout. Filmmaker Lauren MacMullen went through archival recordings of Walt’s voice and added them to the film for Mickey’s lines. I’ll say it now: this is my predicted winner for the Best Animated Short Oscar 2014!
Yet there are other fantastic films you won’t want to miss. “Mr Hublot” from Luxembourg is amazing. The look of the film is the future…as imagined through the nineteenth century. It’s another film that somehow captures the mood of early cinema and those early experiments Thomas Edison dreamed up. Mr. Hublot is a clock watcher and number cruncher. His life is empty. He needs something to fill the void. Something like…a robot dog, of course! Yet his world turns to chaos when the dog gets too big for the apartment and…you’ll have to see it. Suffice it to say that I love sweet twist endings.
“Feral” is a very cool and artistic animated piece for those animation purists who really love something experimental. With minimal brush strokes in stark black and white, this film tells the powerful story of a boy, raised by wolves, who attempts to join civilization. But can his wild heart be tamed? This film contains several intense moments that might be too much for very young viewers. There is a still-life quality to the gorgeous animation.
“Room on the Broom” is an adorable children’s film based on the best-selling book of the same title by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. It is the tale of a compassionate witch who allows not just the cat we are used to seeing fly on her broomstick, but a dog, bird, and frog as well. This is such a gentle fable with a beautiful twist ending…perfect for kids of all ages.
The Japanese short “Possessions” is a fascinating portrait of an ancient folk tale, in which possessions, frustrated that they have been discarded, come to life and trick a samurai…until he shows them some respect. The film blends inspirations of traditional Japanese prints and Japanese anime. Deep thinkers will love the metaphysical themes addressed.
The screen in theaters now also features a selection of wonderful commended shorts. My favorite of these is “A La Francaise,” which portrays all the intrigue of Louis the Fourteenth’s Versailles…with chickens.
Don’t miss the screenings playing in theaters this weekend! You can search for screenings in your area here. The movies will be available on iTunes and Video on Demand on February 25, 2014. Click here for details.