At the Movies
Get a jump start on your Oscar pool: See all the animated, live-action &documentary nominees
For those of you who are passionately committed to the art of cinema -- and, yeah, for those of you who want to make more informed guesses in your office Oscar pool – Alamo Drafthouse and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houstone have joined forces to showcase all shorts nominated in the animated, live-action and documentary categories of the 83rd Academy Awards.
That’s right – almost all of those groups that wind up serving as tie-breakers when more than one member of your betting pool aces all the upper-tier categories. Now if we could just get somebody to screen all the Foreign Language and Documentary features, we’d be ready to crush our co-workers.
And, of course, satisfy our rarefied appetites as serious cineastes.
The shorts have been divided into three programs – Live Action (101 minutes), Animation (85 minutes) and Documentary (194 minutes) – that will screen at various times Friday through Feb. 18 at the Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park.
At the Alamo Drafthouse West Oaks, however, it’ll be just a one-day-only event on Friday: Animation Program, 12:30 and 10 p.m.; Documentary Program, 2:45 p.m.; and Live Action Program, 7:10 p.m.
Over at MFAH, the schedule looks like this: Animation Program, 5 and 9 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday, 9 p.m. Feb. 18 and 1 p.m .Feb. 19; Live Action Program, 7 p.m. Friday, 1 and 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 p.m .Feb. 19; Documentary Program, 1 p.m. Feb. 20.
Here’s a handy-dandy guide to what’s on tap:
Day & Night (USA/6 MIN) Director/Writer: Teddy Newton
Producer: Kevin Rehar
When Day, a sunny fellow, encounters Night, a stranger of distinctly darker moods, sparks fly. Day and Night are frightened and suspicious of each other at first, and quickly get off on the wrong foot. But as they discover each other's unique qualities -- and come to realize that each of them offers a different window onto the same world -- the friendship helps both to gain a new perspective.
Lets Pollute (USA/6 min.) Director: Geefwee Boedoe
Writer: Geefwee Boedoe, Tim Crawfurd, Teddy Newton
Producer: Geefwee Boedoe
In the spirit of the ‘50s & ‘60s educational films, Let's Pollute is a modern satire on how pollution is our heritage and keeps our economy growing strong, while instructing us how to be better polluters for a better blighted tomorrow.
The Lost Thing(Australia, UK/15 min.) Director/Writer: Andrew Ruhemann, Shaun Tan
Producer: Sophie Byrne
A boy discovers a bizarre looking creature while out collecting bottle tops at the beach. Realizing it is lost, he tries to find out who owns it or where it belongs, but is met with indifference from everyone else, who barely notice its presence, each unwilling to entertain this uninvited interruption to their day to day lives. For reasons he does not explain, the boy empathizes with the creature, and sets out to find a place for it.
Madagascar, Carnet De Voyage (France/11 min.) Director: Bastien Dubois
Writer: Bastien Dubois
Producers: Ron Dyens, Aurelia Previeu
A visual travel journal demonstrating the importance of dance, death and traditional customs present and vibrant in the Malagasy society.
The Gruffalo (UK, Germany/27 min.) Directors: Max Lang, Jakob Schuh
Writers: Julia Donaldson, Max Lang, Jakob Schuh
Producers: Martin Pope, Michael Rose
Voices: Helena Bonham Carter, James Corden, Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt, Rob Brydon, Robbie Coltrane
The magical tale of a mouse who takes a walk through the woods in search of a nut. Encountering three predators who all wish to eat him -- a fox, an owl and a snake -- the plucky mouse has to use his wits to survive, creating an imaginary monster who then turns out to be all too real.
Killing In The Name (USA/39 min) Director: Jed Rothstein
Producers: Jed Rothstein, Liz Garbus, Rory Kennedy
In 2005, a suicide bomber walked into Ashraf's wedding, killing 27 people. Now he is on a quest to confront terrorism around the globe.
Poster Girl (USA/38 min.) Director: Sara Nesson
Producer: Mitchell Block, Sara Nesson
Apple pie cheerleader turned tough-as-nails machine gunner in the Iraq war, Sgt. Robynn Murray comes home to face a new kind of battle she never anticipated.
Strangers No More (USA/40 min.) Director/Producers: Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon
In the heart of Tel Aviv, there is an exceptional school where children from 48 different countries and diverse backgrounds come together to learn. Many of the students arrive at Bialik-Rogozin in the wake of poverty, political adversity and even genocide. Here, no child is a stranger.
Sun Come Up (USA, Papua New Guinea/38 min.) Director/Producer: Jennifer Redfearn
Sun Come Up tells the story of some of the world's first environmental refugees, the Carteret Islanders. The film follows relocation leader Ursula Rakova and a group of young families as they search for new homes in war torn Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea.
The Warriors Of Qiugang (USA/39 min.) Director: Ruby Yang
Writer: Thoman Lennon
Villagers in a remote district of central China take on a chemical company that is poisoning their water and air. For five years they fight to transform their environment and as they do, they find themselves transformed as well.
LIVE ACTION PROGRAM
The Confession (UK/26 min.) Director: Tanel Toom
Writer: Caroline Bruckner
Producer: Emily Williams
Cast: Aran Bell, Joe Eales, Lewis Howlett, James Simmons
Quiet and sincere, 9-year-old Sam is worried about making his first confession at church. As his conscience is clear, he therefore cannot hope for any relief from the experience. He and his friend Jacob decide to remedy that situation, but their initially innocent prank turns unexpectedly tragic.
The Crush (Ireland/15 min.) Director/Writer: Michael Creagh
Producer: Damon Quinn
Cast: Charlie Bonner, Neili Conroy, Oran Creagh, Rory Keenan, Olga Wehrly
An 8-year-old boy is so besotted with his teacher that he challenges her boyfriend to a duel to the death.
God Of Love (USA/18 min.) Director/Writer: Luke Matheny
Producers: Gigi Demant, Ryan Silbert, Stefanie Walmsley
Cast: Luke Matheny, Marian Brock, Christopher Hirsh, Emily Young, Miguel Rosales
Lounge-singing darts champion Raymond Goodfellow finds his prayers are answered -- literally -- when he receives a mysterious package of passion-inducing darts. The catch is that the one woman he loves -- Kelly, a drummer in his band -- is already in love with Ray's best friend Fozzie. Romance is in the air in this bohemian charmer.
Na Wewe (Belgium/19 min.) Director: Ivan Goldschmidt
Writers: Ivan Goldschmidt, Jean-Luc Pening
Producer: Ivan Goldschmidt
Cast: Renaud Rutten
1994: There is civil war in Burundi, a small country of Central Africa directly bordering Rwanda. A near genocidal confrontation opposes rebels mainly composed of ethnic Hutus and a national army with a majority of Tutsis. "Na Wewe" (pronounce "Na wayway") means "You Too" in Kurundi.
Wish 143 (UK/24 min.) Director: Ian Barnes
Writer: Tom Bidwell
Producer: Samantha Waite
Cast: Jim Carter, Jodie Whittaker, Dean Andrews
A 15-year-old boy with only months to live is granted one wish from the Dreamscape Charity. But David doesn't want to go to Disneyland or meet Gary Neville; what he really wants is an hour alone with a naked woman. Hey, I don’t know about you, but this sounds like the sort of short I’d vote for if I were an Academy member.