I did not make it to see the documentary shorts but I did see the animated films and the live action films. If you click on the link here, you can go to ShortsTV and find the films that are available on line or where they might be playing near you.
The Animated Shorts
“Dear Basketball” is the Kobe Bryant created film. There is some pushback from the #metoo movement because of Kobe’s rape charge. This film however was directed by Glen Keane, an old hand at Disney. The music is from John Williams, so the film has a pedigree. Kobe narrates an ode to the sport that he loves and some lovely line and pencil animation accompanies his words. The simplest of the designs but still very effective. It is almost enough to make you like him if you did not already.
“LOU” is the charming Pixar film that played in front of “Cars 3” last summer. It is a brilliant realization of how story can be told without dialogue and through character. There is a lot of humor but also a touching moment or two in the seven minutes that this runs. Because John Lassiter is currently in the dog house with #metoo, this film probably has a reduced chance at taking home the award.
“Negative Space” represents a claymodel approach to animation with a somber mediation on a father son relationship. The design is a bit odd but the story works and the payoff is a bit heartbreaking. It does however hold some very practical advice for packing your luggage, so if you are traveling, make sure to check it out.
“Revolting Rhymes” Here is a twisted take on fairy tales that will give the little ones nightmares but offers a lot of humor that adults will appreciate. One of the voices was from Tasmin Greig, an actress that I know from the Showtime series “Episodes”. Let’s just say that Red Riding Hood and Snow White have more elaborate finishes to their stories than “Happily Ever After”.
“Garden Party” This short starts out as a frolicking nature film. It has distinctive animated animals as characters and there are several whimsical interludes. In the background however, we begin to see signs that things are not exactly as light as they may seem. The computer animation on this is gorgeous, it reminded me quite a bit of “Rango”. The last shot in the film also makes “Revolting Rhymes ” only the second most gruesome of the five nominees.
Because the animated films are all relatively short, the program included three additional and worthy Honorable mentions to go along with the nominees:
“Lost Property Office” is a cardboard and claymation film from Australia that focuses on a lonely man responsible for a lonely job in a lonely location. Everything turns out better than you might hope. Dialogue free and easy to underestimate.
“Weeds” This is the little flower that could story that might be a little cloying but ultimately has it’s heart in the right place. It is inspiring to kids but a nightmare for homeowners trying to keep a yard in ship shape.
“Achoo” I was really surprised that this was not one of the nominees. The animation is excellent, it tells a cultural story and it is pretty funny as well.
It’s late, so I’ll wait and do a second post on the live action shorts tomorrow.