Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Best Animated Short - 2012 - Qualifying Films

Well, it's that time of year again, when the Academy reveals their list films that qualify for the Best Animated Short film Oscar. As I revealed in an earlier thread, a film can qualify by either getting a public showing in a Los Angeles County theater, wins a competitive award at an approved film festival, or a Gold Medal at the Student Academy Awards (for student films.) Any film that meets one of these requirements qualify, and they'll go in front of a committee that will vote on the films. The top 10 goes on the short list.

This year there are 57 qualifying films. That's a LOT, especially since there were only 33 in 2010, the first year that I paid attention to the qualifying films. The full list, courtesy of Oscar nominee Michael Sporn (Doctor DeSoto, 1984) and Animation Magazine after the jump. I'll write a short blurb that hopefully I can expand once the nominees are announced in January. Plus I'll link to trailers or even the short film whenever available.

7596 Frames
Um, wut?

Adam and Dog
This is a film by a Disney visual development artist named Minkyu Lee. It was nominated for an Annie award and was featured on Cartoon Brew. That's an impressive accomplishment already.

Pretty sure this was one of the bonus short films they showed at the 2011 Oscar nominated showcase. It's quite surprising that they would show a film that can potentially get nominated, but I don't know if it'll get that far. It's a cute little film about a pair of tree frogs trying to get lunch in the Amazon. The animation is quite impressive, but the film feels a bit lightweight.

Being Bradford Dillman
The official website lists the film as being about a bullied girl named Molly Flowers that was told a tale from her "self-medicated" mother, and after which entered into a dream world where she has many adventures with her friend Bradford Dillman. Then stuff happens. Interesting use of animation overlying live action.

The entire film is available on Vimeo. Oscar, his brother Alex, and his best friend goes to the beach. Alex goes swimming but gets into trouble. Oscar and his friend must  venture into the belly of a whale to save Alex, but at what cost? This surreal film is full of strangeness but is actually quite powerful. I can see it getting into the shortlist, but would it be too strange for a nomination?

According to Urban dictionary, Bydlo is a Russian word referring to people without class. Apparently it is also a film from the National Film Board of Canada. From the site: "Like a dream in the morning mist, a mighty ox emerges from the rain-soaked earth dragging the remnants of an old cart. A prisoner of its yoke, the great beast pulls its heavy load, which carries within it a greedy and angry nation of people - a hungry parasite that saps its energy and consumes its body and soul. An allegory of mankind heading for disaster, this animated short is a tragic vision inspired by the 4th movement of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. Drawing on the composer's brilliant ability to evoke work and labour in his music, director Patrick Bouchard brings earth to life through animated clay sculptures, creating a tactile nightmare in which man is his own slave driver."

It's got its own website where hopefully the full film will be posted eventually. From the site: "A cadaver wakes up to say a last goodbye to his wife, but discovers a truth in death he didn't know in life. CADAVER is 2D animated short film and adult picture book. It is a bittersweet love story starring Back to the Future's Christopher Lloyd, fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson and Academy Award winner Kathy Bates." It's got an impressive cast, but is it any good?

The Chase
Sweet! The full film is online! An amateur hitman is sent to assassinate a mysterious figure to retrieve his parcel. When the job doesn't go as plan it soon becomes a struggle for survival. The Chase was made by a Chilean animator for essentially $700 USD. Its low budget can be seen in its relatively simplistic character design (but then again I can't do anything better), but the backgrounds are quite lovely, and there is a lot of tension and terrific action sequences.

I don't know much about this film. What I do know is that it was made by Katsuhiro Otomo, the master director responsible for Akira and Steamboy. And it also opened this month at the Platform International Animation Festival to great fanfare. My sister will probably watch it before me, maybe on its own or maybe as a part of the omnibus film Short Peace coming next year.

Daffy's Rhapsody
This played before Journey 2, which I didn't see, but I did see the film when somebody recorded it and put it on YouTube. I'm not going to link to that because it's eventually going to get taken down. Anyways, a distinguished Elmer Fudd goes to watch a play, which turns out to be Daffy singing about how everybody wants to kill him. The sight of an old nemesis turns Elmer Fudd back into the killing machine that he is. It's actually quite creepy if you think about it. Anyways, the film is much like I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat from last year in that it takes an old recording of Mel Blanc and put it to 3D animation. The recording is quite nice. It features Daffy singing about his misfortunes set to Lizst's "Hungarian Rhapsody #2." I can't understand all the lyrics, but just hearing the tune is nice. The gags are decent, and while I don't like the 3D animation styles in the other remade films, this one has more of a 2D feel. I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat last year and Coyote Falls from two years ago made it onto the shortlist, so I expect this one will as well. Will it get a nomination - Daffy's first? That's something else entirely. I don't really feel like linking to the bootlegged video, so here's a little clip.

Dell' Ammazzare Il Maiale (About Killing the Pig)
I linked to the trailer. It kind of reminds me what I've seen of Dedalo

La Detente
From Cartoon Brew: "La Detente is an animated short movie set in a trench during the first World War, where a French soldier becomes paralyzed with fear. His mind disconnects from reality and he escapes into a dream world where wars are fought by toys." Sure this is a psychotic breakdown, but doing war with toys is actually a pretty good idea. Because war is hell.

Another film that is online in its entirety! This French film is about an art thief with an amazing ability. He can gain the ability of paintings he steals by eating them. Of course, what happens when he runs out of paintings to eat? This film is designed as a tribute to Jackson Pollock, most famous for his legendary splatter style. It does have a nice little tribute to Pollock's work, but the creator has a sharp eye for famous paintings. The highlight of the film is a montage where the art thief just goes on a feeding frenzy and gets all sorts of amazing powers. The design of the scene is surreal and terrific. It also has a nice combination of 2D and 3D animation.

The Eagleman Stag
The entire film is online! An aging etymologist looks back at his life from birth to when he made an important discovery using one of the insects he found: the Eagleman Stag has the amazing ability to regenerate nerves. He decides to use this amazing medical technology as a way to reset his memories and fight the phenomenon of time perception - the way time goes by faster as we age. However, the experiment does not end up the way he had hoped. This darkly funny film is certainly strange but also quite profound, especially since I've often fretted about the problem of time perception. The climax kind of confused me, though. The animation is done with stop motion animation using an interesting material that gives the film a look and feel a though it was an answer in the back of those old Magic Eye books.

Edmond was a Donkey 
Edmond is a quiet man with a good job and a loving wife, but he is different. His co-workers taunt him by giving him a set of donkey ears out of newspaper, but that only makes him more different. At least that is what the synopsis says.

The Fall of the House of Usher
The Fall of the House of Usher is one of the most famous of the tales by Edgar Allen Poe, and it's getting another animated adaptation from former Disney animator Raul Garcia. The wood-block character design is kind of weird, but the trailer sure seems to capture the creepiness of the original Poe story.

Fear of Flying
From the official site: "a small bird with a FEAR OF FLYING tries to avoid heading South for the winter." Sounds like a cute tale, but the puppets look kind of weird in a Domon kind of way.

Fresh Guacamole
This film from the director PES uses pixilation to show the process of making guacamole from some of the strangest household objects. It has fairly fluid movement that isn't often seen in pixilation, with some incredibly use of stop edits. The video has over 6 million views on YouTube, but probably after he submitted it to qualify for the Academy Award because here it is!

The Game
The Game is such a common name that I really can't find anything about the film unless I can rule things out. 

The Gruffalo's Child
The Gruffalo told the story of a mouse using his wits and a little bit of 狐假虎威 to scare a Gruffalo and save his life. It was nominated for the Oscar, but it lost to The Lost Thing. This sequel tells the story from the Gruffalo's point of view. Specifically, it tells of the Gruffalo's curious child searching for the fabled Mouse. I'm pretty sure it's out on DVD already, but I'll wait until it gets on the shortlist before getting it. 

Head Over Heels 
From the official site: "After many years of marriage, Walter and Madge have grown apart: he lives on the floor and she lives on the ceiling. They live separate, parallel lives in the same house, never talking, barely even looking at each other. When Walter discovers a long-lost memento of their wedding day, he tries to reignite their old romance. But it brings their equilibrium crashing down, and the couple that can't agree which way is up must find a way to put their marriage back together." This film certainly uses an interesting method to depict a marriage that has gone cold, and the trailer shows that the method works quite well. There are a lot of interesting gags to show off the arrangement, and I am definitely curious.

Here and the Great Elsewhere
Another dense looking film. Apparently it had an exhibition in Taiwan at the Golden Horse festival. From the the trailer: "Lost in a reverie, a man reels with sudden awareness of his own state of being. He ponders the world in which he lives - from life to death." Heady stuff.

House of Monsters
The full film is available online! Just in time for Nightmare Night! The mummy lives in a house for monsters, and one morning he wakes up with his skin feeling quite irritated. He gets a moisturizing lotion from the mad doctor, but application proves to be quite difficult, especially after he tries to woo the Bride of Frankenstein. This film is done in stop motion animation. The puppets are well designed, although the being essentially a one-woman production, the animation is a bit wooden. That hasn't stopped anybody before. Balance won the Oscar behind a strong story and a powerful message. House of Monsters is merely a cute film. I don't see it moving past the longlist, but it's got some good gags, and hey. It's Nightmare Night!

The Hybrid Union
What's this? Another film that they showed at the Oscar nominated films showcase? Plus and Minus are trying to outrace a storm cloud. Soon they decide to race each other, but when a little yellow machine outraces both of them, they are forced to work together. I don't remember much of it since it has been eight months, but I do remember thinking this was kind of a weird film. The animation was sublime, but the plot was strange. It's available on iTunes if you want to pay money to buy it. Here's the trailer instead.

I Hate You Red Light
So I saw this film on a FYC ad on Cartoon Brew, and I thought that was interesting because I hate red lights too! The film spoke more to me after reading the synopsis on the official site: "The perfect morning is ruined for Fred, when he gets stopped by every Red Light on his drive into work." Unfortunately, I've only got access to the trailer.

I Saw Mice Burying a Cat
So this probably has one of the strangest titles on the longlist. It's either this or Edmund was a Donkey. Of course maybe it doesn't seem as weird when you consider that it's a Chinese-Russian co-production. Those countries can be pretty weird. It's available in full on Tudou but I don't know if the embed would work. It's worth a try. Anyways, it's about a mouse along the side of a stream that watches a funeral celebration for a cat. However, things go awry somehow. Who will be the one that really gets buried? And after watching the entire film I do think yes, this is a weird film. It jumps from one topic to another with transitions that left me wondering. However, the film is quite poetic, and the 2D animation style that resembles the style of shadow puppets is nice as well. The embed does not work, but I linked to the video.

It's Such a Beautiful Day
Don Hertzfeldt came into prominence with his Oscar nominated film Rejected. However, his masterpiece may be his trilogy of films about a man named Bob that may be afflicted with a fatal mental illness. I saw Everything will be OK, and Hertzfeldt seemed to have abandoned his non-sequitur humor from Rejected and replaced it with a highly poetic contemplation of life. I assume this film will be the same way. He may have become known for his stick figure style of animation, but he augments it with some interesting split screen shot construction and beautiful camera techniques to make it a visually vivid film. From the trailer it seems this will be the same way. However, the Academy passed by on Everything will Be OK and the middle film I am So Proud of You, so I'm not sure if they'll go for this one. But they did nominate Rejected, which seems even less like the film that the Academy would go for, so you never know.

My search for this film led me to an adult animated comedy web series and an animated film by Hisko Hulsing. I assume it's the latter. The film looks weird in a Satoshi Kon (RIP) kind of way, but it does have some nice 2D animation.

Kali the Little Vampire 
Oh no! Vampires are taking over modern media, but this film is from National Film Board of Canada and Regina Pessoa, director of Tragic Story with Happy Ending, so perhaps there's hope. From the NFB website: "He lives in the shadows. The one who inspires fear. Other children don't even dream that he exists. But the young vampire Kali does exist, and suffers from not being able to live in the light. One day, while once again watching the other young boys play beside the train tracks, he breaks from his isolation and discovers that because of who-and what-he is, he can make a difference in others' lives." Hmm, it does seem more Let the Right One In than Twilight (not Princess/Sparkle), especially after watching the trailer.

As video games get more photo-realistic, the thin line between video games and animation gets even smaller. And with Kara that line may have shrunk to nothing. Kara, made by Quantic Dream, the team behind Heavy Rain, made a splash at the Game Developer's Conference this year, and now it's qualified for an Academy Award. The film is about an android being assembled. She is put to the test for her motor and language abilities. But what happens when it decides to show emotion? The film was rendered on the PlayStation 3, showing that even after six years Sony's console still has a lot of life left in it. But more importantly it has a strong story that leaves an impact on viewers. Luxo Jr. and Tin Toy were tech demos made by Pixar for SIGGRAPH. Can Kara do the same for video game consoles as the Pixar films did for computers? That would be something interesting to find out.

Keha Malu (Body Memory)
Okay, the trailer was pretty useless, but this Estonian short film explores the idea that our bodies remember not just our experiences, but the experiences of our ancestors as well. I have no idea what it'll be like.

Kubla Khan
The entire film is available on the LAIKA website, but I can't seem to embed it. Oh well. Here's the trailer. You can enjoy the full film in the link. Kubla Khan was the grandson of the great Genghis Khan and ruled over the massive Mongolian empire, where his name became known far and wide through the visits of Marco Polo. His legend inspired a poem by British poet William Taylor Coleridge in the 18th century. It remains one of the most elusive poems, but probably because it was written after Coleridge had a hallucinogenic episode following an opium binge. And 200 years later Oscar winning animator Joan C. Gratz (Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase, 1984) attempted to recapture the vision of Coleridge using her representative clay painting animation style. And she does for the most part. Her clay animation is colorful and vivid, with the smooth and brilliant transitions that made Mona Lisa such an appealing film. The original poem serves as the source of the narration, and that is read by actor Ted Roisum with the same fiery oration that James Earl Jones did with Gratz's Oscar nominated The Creation.

The Longest Daycare
The Longest Daycare was a film based off The Simpsons that played before Ice Age: Continental Drift. I didn't go see the new Ice Age movie, but I managed to watch this film because people have posted it online like they did with Daffy's Rhapsody. This film follows Maggie as she is sent to the same day care where she spent her time in the episode "A Streetcar Named Marge." There she runs into her nemesis Baby Gerald once again, and he has developed a habit of killing butterflies. When Maggie makes a new caterpillar friend, can she carry it to safety? I had been a big Simpsons fan when I was younger but hadn't watch it for a while. Still, this film recaptures the magic of the earlier Simpsons episodes. It didn't care about cameos or pop culture references. It just told a story and filled it with delightful visual gags. The Simpsons Movie was passed over for a nomination back in 2007. This is better than that, so maybe it can get the Simpsons their first nomination.

Lost and Found
Okay, I guess I am lost about this film. Everywhere I look I find stuff about the Lost and Found film by Studio AKA, the studio behind certain scenes in the stunning The Canterbury Tales and the zombie film A Morning Stroll. However, that film is 24 minutes long and was made in 2008, so it should have qualified in the year of La Maison en Petits Cubes or Logorama. The Animation Magazine lists the director as Joan Gratz, who also qualified with Kubla Khan. I can't find anything about the Gratz film, so I guess we're out of luck for now.

The Maker 
The entire film is available online. A rabbit-like creature is given a limited amount of time to not only create another one just like it, but also imbibe it with life. What is the purpose of his mission, and will he succeed? This Australian stop motion film certainly has is interesting in its animation and design. The animation is quite fluid, and the entire film has a strong gothic feel to it. Yes it may be a little bit distracting that the creatures look more like Rabbids in the Rayman series, but you'll soon get lost in the tension. And the film really does open your eyes to the beauty of art. It doesn't exactly answer all of the questions, but it's still a satisfying film nonetheless.

The Making of Longbird
An animator discovers a long lost piece of animation made in Russia in 1910. He attempts to bring the film into the 21st century, but along the way he discovers some chilling information that will completely change not only his project but also his life. This film combines both live action scenes with silhouette animation done in the style of the 1910s. It looks to be quite promising, and it's a film about making films, and the Academy always likes that.

The Missing Key
From the official site, "In a gloriously imagined 1920s world inhabited by people who have gramophones for heads, young composer Hero Wasabi has left Japan to study musical composition in Venice, accompanied by his oboe-playing cat Jacuzzi. Hero is a student of the terrifying Madame Zero at the Scuola di Musica, where his fellow students include the aristocratic Count Telefino, an unscrupulous telephone-head who is planning a campaign of dirty tricks to help him win the school's graduation prize, the Abacus Scroll." And then the synopsis goes off to spoil the ending, which is never any fun. Because from the trailer this looks to be a fun movie, what with an animation style that combines 2D animation against 3D backgrounds, bizarre character designs, and clever visual gags.

La Nina de Viento (The Wind Girl)
I have no idea what this film is about, since the trailer doesn't tell us much, and all of the dialogue is in Spanish. However, it does seem to be an atmospheric and emotional work, and that may make up for some of the not-so-fluid stop motion animation.

Oh Willy...
I don't really know what this film is about, but from what I can tell it's about an obese man (Willy, possibly) who goes on a sort of an existential journey. It looks kind of weird, but the stop motion animation is quite divine...except for the nude shots of Willy. Yeah...

Okay, this is kind of weird. The film that I found using the information on the Animation Magazine list suggests that this is the film that debuted on the Cartoon Brew Student Animation Festival. However, Sporn's list says that the film that qualified is nine minutes long, while the Cartoon Brew film is only 3 minutes long. Oh well, I'll just go with the Cartoon Brew film because that one is available online in its entirety. The film is about a man who has to live with a rain cloud. One day he tries to escape from its constant presence, but is that the right thing to do? This is a cute little film with a kind of a surprise ending. The "Out of the Inkwell" style animation (animated characters over live action footage) is very nice, with some inventive integration. 

Paperman plays before Wreck-It Ralph (which is excellent. Go see it), and it tells the story about a lowly office worker as he tries to impress the girl of his dreams using nothing more than paper. It combines traditional 2D animation with computer animation lovingly done in a sepia tone. Disney hasn't had much success in this category as of late. It hadn't even been nominated since The Little Matchgirl in 2006. (Pixar doesn't count.) Still, this film could hope to end that streak. It is a delightfully sweet romantic tale, and the animation features both a great blend of 3D animation done in a 2D style, and the sepia tone is great and goes well with the nostalgic feel. The climax of the film feels pretty strange to me and reminds me of Spirited Away but done more awkwardly. Still, there was quite a bit of applause in the theater when I saw it, and that is pretty remarkable for a screening among general audiences.

From the official site: "While conducting experiments on a quiet night, a scientist receives an unexpected visitor - whose arrival will change everything." Yeah...way to have a synopsis and trailer that barely explains anything. Thankfully the Kickstarter for the "Art of" book tells some more information. It was inspired by an exhibit he once saw in France about "water and fire at zero gravity. In that situation, each of them took the form of a perfect sphere." This became the inspiration for the film. It's got some screenshots, and I'm liking the Disney-esque character design.

Pepe & Lucas
No trailer or anything, but Animation World News did an article about the film when it debuted. According to them, "Pepe & Lucas is a fully-animated romantic comedy short that depicts the conflict between two classic forms of street entertainers: clowns and mimes. The story begins in the colorful town of Starlight City, where Pepe the clown is being thrown out of a local tavern. Thirsty for attention, he stumbles out onto the streets in search of an audience. Instead, he comes across his nemesis Lucas the mime, a rising star that knows how to please a crowd. It's clear that this town isn't big enough for the two of them, and a battle of the street titans ensues. An army of robot clowns, squawking chickens, invisible mech suits and flaming car chases are just a few of the surprises that enliven the screen, as Pepe and Lucas try to one-up each other in hopes of becoming the king of the street. But when the real identity of Lucas is revealed, it's clear there can be only one." The article also mentions how it's a film that's driven by visual gags. It's also the first animated film by visual effects studio Brain Zoo, so it should look good as well.

Posledny Autobus (The Last Bus)

As I've learned in my History of Animation course, Czechoslovakia was a major hub for quality stop motion animation, with masters like Jiri Trnka and Jan Svankmajer. It's continued to become this way even after the country broke off into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This film looks to continue in that tradition. From the official site: "It's the start of the hunting season. The animals of the forest board a small bus and flee to safety. When the hunters stop the bus in the middle of the night, its passenger reveal their true natures in fear for their lives." No wonder the trailer is like Fantastic Mr. Fox, but much darker.

The Pub
The Academy really looks down on rotoscoping. They've only recently reluctantly started accepting rotoscoped films as being animated, and many feel that the bias against rotoscoping kept The Adventures of Tintin from securing a Best Animated Feature Oscar last year. Well British animator Joseph Pierce uses rotoscoping in his films, including A Family Portrait, which qualified for the Oscar two years ago. The technique is evident in The Pub, as the characters move in a way that is realistic, but the expressions are out of this world and frankly quite disturbing. I'm guessing it's kind of a "day in a life of a pub" type film.

Oh hey. I saw this film when it was linked on Cartoon Brew. A woman goes and gets ready for her date that night. However, she gets into an altercation with her reflection in the mirror that eventually becomes physical. Can she make things right before her date gets there? Reflexion is an amusing gag-based film. It doesn't break any new grounds in terms of plot, but it is highly entertaining, and the 3D animation done in the style of watercolors is very appealing as well.

Okay this is another film that pulls up way too many results. Neither Sporn's list nor the Animation Magazine list include any of the filmmakers, so I can't really tell which is the one that qualifies. We'll just have to wait and see.

The entire film is available online. It is about an architect who often incorporates symmetry in his designs as he begins to lose his mind and get stalked by dogs. Or something like that. I don't really get it. I also don't get where the animation comes in. Normally you get something with real life actors and it's done in pixelation, the stop motion using still images, but Shift does not appear to be done in pixelation. There is some use of special effects to simulate his increasingly fractured point of view. Actually, the entire film is very beautifully shot. I just don't quite get it

Slow Derek
From the official site: "The tale of Derek, an office worker, as he struggles with the true speed of planet earth." We never really stop and notice the rotation of the Planet Earth thanks to the law of Inertia, but I suppose this film is going to put it into our heads. There is some decent stop motion animation in here but I'm more curious to see how much of a mindf^_^ it is.

The Story of Pines
The whole film is available online! This environmental film tells the story of Pine, a lone pine tree up on the mountain that watched her brethren get chopped down from her perch atop a mountain. She was afraid of losing more, so she had been keeping a firm grasp on her pine cones because those were all she had left. One day she meets a bird (coincidentally named Bird), and this meeting will change her life forever. The Story of Pines was based on a story by Alison Sudol, better known by her stage name A Fine Frenzy. Sudol also supplied the voice for the anthropomorphic Pine. The story is a nice one that not only has an environmental focus, but it also teaches a lesson about the importance of letting go for progress. The animation is also done in a stop motion style with paper cutout figures, but I did find the voice acting by Sudol to be kind of annoying. At least the songs from her new album "Pines" are nice.

The Tale of a String
Okay, while you'd think it would be easy to find information about a film with a unique title like The Tale of a String, I can't find anything. And neither can Animation Magazine. So I guess we're out of luck once again,

There are no trailers for this film, nor are there any official sites. The only information I can find is from websites for film festivals where the film played. From Images Festival: "The mundane details of Stark's urban surroundings are transformed into a shimmering rhythmic dance of forms in this hybrid of digital and analogue technology. Traces consists of a series of short 35mm films generated from still images and output to a film recorder, a device that prints directly onto film." From the Ann Arbor Film Festival: "A series of short 35mm films generated from digital still images and printed onto movie film. The top and bottom half of each image alternate in the projector gate, and the images are arranged in a dizzying array of rhythms and patterns. The images also bleed onto the optical soundtrack area of the film, generating their own peculiar sounds." I still don't know what to expect, but it sounds like an experimental film to the max.

Michaela Pavlatova, the director of the film Reci, Reci, Reci comes back with another film that won her the Annency Crystal at the Annency Film Festival. It appears to be about a female tram operator who has many erotic fantasies to pass the time. Yeah, it's kind of weird, but the film design looks to be quite interesting. 

Wiggle Room
From the official site:  Many things happen around the kitchen when you're not there. Come along for the ride with the most unlikely character...a slug. Watch as he ventures into a new world filled with vibrant colors and delicious treats. However, the soothing environment is only a disguise for the evil that is lurking nearby." So this appears to be an action packed tale told using the medium of stop motion animation. The site makes the point to mention that "many of the high paced scenes of this film have been shot between 24-60 frames per second," and that is visible in the trailer. The slug moves slowly like you'd expect from most stop motion animation, but there are some shots that move especially smoothly. I am curious about what the full film would be like.

Wolf Dog Tales
From the official site: "Wolf Dog Tales is an animated film that takes us through a series of stories inspired by Navajo sand paintings, a Native American art form, revealing ancient wisdoms about what animals teach us about respecting life." It's not very often that we get a film centered around Native American philosophy, even though they do have a lot of interesting stories. The trailer also showcases some of its more innovative animation techniques involving sand, which the creators call "Faux Sand Painting Animation." It mixes sand animation, stop motion, and wind erosion. It looks pretty dazzling in the trailer.

Zeinek Gehiago Iraun (Who Lasts Longer)
There's no official site for the film, but IMDb does have a synopsis from somebody that presumably saw the film. "A group of children is playing on the train tracks, challenging each other to see who stays longer on the tracks before the train comes. Ander stays a bit longer than what he should have and, grazed by the train, he was thrown out of the tracks, leaving him with a number of important physical and neurological injuries, which will disrupt his future and his family's, turning their lives into the same harsh and dramatic 'ZEINEK GEHIAGO IRAUN' game that changed them for good." It seems like pretty heavy stuff. The animation doesn't seem to be anything special, but the storyline is intriguing, and also how it is made using the minority Basque language spoken  in the Iberian peninsula. I don't think I've ever heard of a film being made in the Basque language so this would be something unique.

Well, that's it. That's all 57 films. Sure, there were some where I didn't have much to talk about, but oh well. 47 of these films won't make it into the shortlist, effectively ending their hopes for a nomination. I'll do more in depth reviews once the shortlist comes out.

I have seen 18/57 so far, over 30%, which is actually pretty darned good for not going to festivals. The list includes Amazonia, Belly, The Chase, Daffy's Rhapsody, Dripped, The Eagleman Stag, Fresh Guacamole, House of Monsters, The Hybrid Union, I Saw Mice Burying a Cat, Kara, Kubla Khan, The Longest Daycare, Overcast, Paperman, Reflexion, Shift, and The Story of Pines. I have no idea how many of those will make it onto the shortlist, but I hope it's considerable. Less films to try to catch up.

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