The five animated short films for the Oscars this year are an interesting mix of personal stories and life lessons — and there’s the incredibly entertaining film that takes Shrek’s fairy-tale creatures to another level.
Dear Basketball by Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant: having spent all of his adult life on court, Bryant takes to animation to pay a touching homage to the sport and his relationship with it.
Negative Space by Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata: This is a man’s trip down memory lane, more specifically what he learned from his father when he taught him the intricacies of packing efficiently. Packing for a trip, for a vacation, or just travels in general can be a challenge. Negative Space is about taking this underestimated skill of using space in the most efficient of ways.
Lou takes place at a school, where kids are being kids and there are real life lessons to be learned. From the perspective of a bully who is out to make trouble for everyone during break time, Lou is a simple story of how every one of us is a little kid looking to fit in and all it takes is reaching out, gently and with an open heart, and the walls crumble.
Garden Party is an amphibian’s perspective of the world. A deserted wealthy mansion with a swimming pool has frogs running the grounds, making it their fiefdom.
My favourite was Revolting Rhymes (by Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer) which takes the classic fairy tales and weaves a thoroughly entertaining story inspired by Roald Dahl’s parody of traditional folk tales, which have the non-traditional unhappily ever after endings. Brilliantly shot and crafted, it helped me relive my erstwhile favourite fairy tales without the naivety of a little boy pining for his prince charming. I do think that a piggy bank would be way better manner of banking than the modern day digital nonsense.
My only problem with these nominations was that the shorts were supposed to be platforms for newer talent, the people outside of the Hollywood/Studio system to bring their work to an audience. When even the nominated shorts are produced by Pixar and Disney, I don’t know where an indie/starving filmmaker can take their films.