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    Oscar shorts nominees hit theaters Friday - Variety 2/15/07

    Oscar-nommed shorts hit theaters
    Release to make shorts available to public

    By Laura Repstad
    Variety
    February 15, 2007

    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=1 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD class=photoCaption>Bloom</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><!-- /noindex -->Compilations of Oscar-nominated live-action and animation shorts will be released as two separate film programs in more than 40 theaters nationwide on Friday.


    Release aims to make shorts available to the public before the Oscars and create more public interest in the categories.

    "It is a fabulous way to broaden our audience of Oscar-excited moviegoers beyond filmmakers and students," said Jon Bloom, chair of the Academy's Short Films and Feature Animation Branch.

    Live-action shorts program runs 99 minutes and features Javier Fesser and Luis Manso's "Binta and the Great Idea," Borja Cobeaga's "Eramos Pocos," Soren Pilmark and Kim Magnusson's "Helmer & Son," Peter Templeman and Stuart Parkyn's "The Saviour" and Ari Sandel's "West Bank Story."

    Torill Kove's "The Danish Poet," Gary Rydstrom's "Lifted," Roger Allers and Don Hahn's "The Little Matchgirl," Geza M. Toth's "Maestro" and Chris Renaud and Michael Thurmeier's "No Time for Nuts" join four non-nominated shorts to fill out the 82-minute animated program.
    Magnolia Pictures and Shorts Intl. are releasing.
    http://www.variety.com/awardcentral_...ryid=1985&cs=1

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    Re: Oscar shorts nominees hit theaters Friday - Variety 2/15/07

    They won’t waste any of your time

    The Oscar-nominated animated shorts pack a lot of entertainment in brief works. ‘The Little Matchgirl’ stands out.

    By Kevin Crust
    Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    February 16, 2007

    Brevity is especially prized this year among the contenders for the animated short Oscar, and the total running time of the five nominees would stop somewhere short of 40 minutes. Magnolia Pictures and Shorts International, the distributors of the 2006 Academy Award Nominated Animated Shorts, have added five more titles to bring the program closer to feature length.

    It's a testament to the depth of talent in the animation world that the five films chosen to supplement the nominated shorts stack up so favorably. As is often the case with short films, comedy is the dominant tone, but drama and especially, science fiction, are also well represented. It's worth noting that seven of the 10 films forgo the use of spoken language to communicate their stories, providing especially cinematic experiences.

    The nominated quintet includes three films with studio pedigrees, led by Pixar's "Lifted." The writing and directing debut of venerated soundman Gary Rydstrom — his 13 previous Oscar nominations for sound on such films as "Terminator 2," "Titanic" and "Saving Private Ryan" include seven wins — is a wry account of alien abduction gone wrong. Recognizable to anyone who has difficulty parallel parking, this close encounter of the Keystone kind is wickedly amusing but also offers handsome visuals, especially its depiction of nighttime skies and otherworldly lighting.
    "The Little Matchgirl," based on the Hans Christian Andersen story, is as un-Disney-like in tone as anything you're likely to see produced by the House of Mouse. Directed by Roger Allers and produced by Don Hahn, the film concisely portrays the heartbreaking circumstances of a young girl on the streets attempting to scrape by selling matches, her imagination being her only sustenance. The filmmakers blend digitized traditional 2-D animation and computer animation to render the cold gray of her reality and the warm hues of her fantasies with the painterly look of watercolors.
    Which of the nominated films will win on Feb. 25? "The Little Matchgirl" would seem to combine the required level of visual artistry with a powerful emotional element, both characteristics the academy favors.

    That the filmmakers reportedly fought hard for their vision of the story within a studio as imposing as Disney also won't hurt their cause.

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