Shorts Awards honors Oscar nominees, ‘Wallace & Gromit’ creator
The Film Independent Spirit Awards wasn't the only pre-Oscar ceremony happening this weekend: On Friday, the second annual Shorts Awards presented film slate-shaped plaques to the nominees competing in the short film categories at Sunday's 84th Academy Awards and honored "Wallace & Gromit" creator Nick Park with a lifetime achievement award.
Park was not at West Hollywood's Soho House to accept the prize, but in a video acceptance speech he said, “I’ve always loved making short films. It’s a good way to get ideas out quickly. Many see it as a stepping stone to features, but I will always go back to short films.”
An enthusiasm for shorts permeated the event, which was presented by ShortsHD, a cable network that exclusively airs short films.
“We are entering the golden age of short films,” said producer Marc Bertrand, on hand to support his Oscar-nominated animated short “Dimanche,” citing an increase in options for independent distribution, as well as the technology that makes it easy for anyone to make a film.
To honor that technology, ShortsHD this year created the Shorts Technology Awards, whose winners Friday night included the Apple iPhone 4S and the app Movie Slate by Pure Blend Software.
“I think audiences have now opened their eyes for short films,” said Norwegian director Hallvar Witzø. His 25-minute short “Tuba Atlantic” is nominated in the live action shorts category. He pointed to the success of ShortsHD’s limited theatrical run of the Oscar-nominated shorts, which had earned $1.196 million at the box office as of Friday, ShortsHD chief executive Carter Pilcher announced at the event.
“Nobody knows the directors. Nobody knows the actors. But people want to see them anyway,” Witzø said.
The event seemed to be a bit of a rally for the nominees. During a presentation of clips from the Oscar-nominated films, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” got the loudest cheers of the animated group, to which the film’s co-director Brandon Oldenburg said off-stage, “Wow, we have fans."
“I’m king here,” said Luke Matheny, attempting to describe the small celebrity status that has followed his 2011 Oscar win for a live action short. “There are a few communities where people know who I am, and the Oscar-related short film community is one of them.”
Matheny told 24 Frames that he’s “rooting for ‘Raju,’ ” a 24-minute German-Indian film, to win the Academy Award in the live action category. “I thought it had a real battleship of a plot ... and just kept making the right artistic decisions throughout the whole movie until it was over,” said Matheny, who is prepping his first feature, “Love Sick.”
The Shorts Awards also presented visionary awards to Joan Collins, Ray McKinnon, Marcy Page and Bill Plympton, as well as the International Award to Turkey, an honor earned largely because of the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, which takes place each fall in Antalya, Turkey.
–- Emily Rome
Photo: "Wallace & Gromit" creator Nick Park Credit: Carlo Allegri / Imagenet