Short film producers, promoters and the people that love them are again having their hearts broken by the Academy Awards. There is a big push to drop the short film award categories from the Oscar telecast in an effort to save time and keep the production close to two hours. Isn’t there something else that could be cut…..like a few minutes of host Billy Crystal’s ribald comments or a tap routine honoring the glories of silent cinema? One of the hidden reasons given for dropping the short film awards (for animated, live action and documentary shorts, in three separate categories) is that the audience has never seen them and therefore are not invested in who the winners might be. In days of yore, short features were a part of the movie going experience, where audiences were treated to an animated cartoon and a documentary or fiction featurette before the main film began. While short films are now accessible via online platforms, they are woefully underappreciated and unseen by the vast number of moviegoers.
Well, hats off then to New York distributor Magnolia Pictures, which is offering the chance for members of the public to catch nearly all the nominated films at about 250 theaters starting today. The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2012 program, commendably sponsored by ITunes and AT&T, will present almost the complete roster of nominated films in three separate programs. In the running for Best Live Action Short Film are PENTECOST (Ireland), RAJU (Germany/India), THE SHORE (Northern Ireland), TIME FREAK (USA) and TUBA ATLANTIC (Norway). The Best Animated Short Film contenders include SUNDAY (Canada), A MORNING STROLL (UK), WILD LIFE (Canada), THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE (USA) and LA LUNA (USA), the latter from animation mainstay Pixar. In contention for Best Documentary Short Film are INCIDENT IN NEW BAGHDAD (USA), SAVING FACE (Parkistan), THE TSUNAMI AND THE CHERRY BLOSSOM (Japan) and THE BARBER OF BIRMINGHAM (USA). Almost every major filmmaker of note started off their careers making short films, so if you want to catch the next Spielberg or Lucas, run, do not walk, to the theaters that are showcasing these short films, since this is definitely a short engagement (no pun intended). To see clips and find theaters near you, visit: http://theoscarshorts.shorts.tv/