24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Shorts

Sundance 2012: A child's-eye view in 'Kid-Thing'

January 23, 2012 |  9:02 am

David and Nathan Zellner are premiering their new feature, "Kid-Thing," at the Sundance Film FestivalBrothers David and Nathan Zellner are American originals, makers of willfully oddball films. They will be premiering their second feature, "Kid-Thing," at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday as part of its NEXT section. The duo have become quite a fixture on the U.S. festival circuit, with a series of shorts including the recent, outrageous "Sasquatch Birth Journal 2." Their previous feature, 2008's "Goliath," was about a man whose loss of control in his life is snapped into focus when his cat goes missing.

"Kid-Thing" is about a 10-year-old girl (Sydney Aguirre) largely left to her own devices. An outsider less by choice than circumstance, she marauds around the playground, makes prank calls and wanders the woods on her own. There she finds a woman stuck at the bottom of a well. Unsure of what to do, she doesn't tell anyone, but keeps returning to check on and care for her discovery.

Considering their short films are marked by an off-beat humor and eccentric worldview, the Zellners' two feature films each have an unexpected emotional core, a surprise seriousness. Which brings up the question: How do they know what makes for a short and what makes for a feature?

PHOTOS: The scene at Sundance

"When we first come up with an idea for something, we can't force it into a certain time length or anything," David Zellner said by the phone from their home base in Austin, Texas, shortly before the start of the festival. "The idea dictates."

"Sometimes ideas are big and sometimes they're small," added Nathan, also on the line. "I think we have enough of them that if we're waiting on one of the bigger ones to progress, we can dip in and do a small one."

"Kid-Thing" captures the point-of-view of a young child whose eyes are opening for the first time to the world at large. Some things are silly, some scary, and it's all new.

"We really wanted it to be from that perspective, as opposed to a nostalgic look back from an adult," said David Zellner. "We wanted it to be very much in the now, with the beauty and the horror of everything that goes on at that age. One thing I like about childhood: Kids are like scientists and explorers; everything is new to them and they are constantly testing boundaries.

"They don't have any experience to apply to something," he added. "They come in from a fresh perspective, an outsider's perspective that an adult might not have. But they also have a kind of screwy kid-logic in how they deal with problems."

They cast Aguirre, the daughter of a childhood friend, after having worked with her on a music video they directed. Hoping to capture the same qualities of native toughness and innocent willfulness as in Linda Manz's seminal performances in Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven" and Dennis Hopper's "Out of the Blue," the Zellners said they were surprised by how Aguirre assuredly responded to situations.

"I don't think we had to manipulate her at all," said Nathan Zellner. "It was a lot of mature conversations about what the character was going through and what the scene was about. She got it as if she was a seasoned actress who had done it before."

"At one point she busted us for trying to dumb things down to her a little," said David. "We were trying to explain the language of why you shoot things in a close-up and she looked at us like we were total morons."

As the story of "Kid-Thing" progresses, and the girl goes back to the well time and again, the film takes on the tone of a parable, something perhaps not quite totally real as small flourishes begin to depart from strict reality. So, which is it?

"We'd like for people to decide on their own," said David. "We definitely wanted to combine those qualities that are like a really earnest, naturalistic coming-of-age story with some qualities of a fable and keep the line kind of blurred which is which."


Sundance 2012: A dilemma of ethics, power in "Compliance"

Indie Focus: "Nobody Walks" is a big step for Ry Russo-Young

Sundance 2012: Rashida Jones does romantic dramedy in "Celeste And Jesse Forever"

-- Mark Olsen

Photo: Sydney Aguirre in "Kid-Thing." Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Sundance shorts stream on Yahoo for online Audience Award voting

January 19, 2012 |  6:06 pm


In the past, any independent film fan who couldn’t make it to Park City, Utah, in the last two weeks of January had to wait until distribution deals went through to see Sundance Film Festival hits such as “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Napoleon Dynamite.” That’s starting to change. Recently, Sundance started bringing its programming into select cities during the festival, and starting this year, nine of the short films in the festival will be available to watch online.

Starting today, the short films premiering at Sundance are viewable at sundance.yahoo.com via Yahoo, a sponsor of the festival. Through Jan. 27, Web users can watch the films and vote on them for the Yahoo! Audience Award. The winning filmmaker will be announced  Jan. 28 and will receive $5,000.

“Some of the best filmmakers started their careers developing short films and now our audience has the chance to pick what could be the next big name in the film industry,” Mickie Rosen, senior vice president of Yahoo Media Network, said in a statement.

The nine films were selected by festival organizers and Yahoo movie editors. See the full list along with synopses below:

Continue reading »

Oscar shorts: Discovering story through location in Norway

January 19, 2012 |  5:15 pm

 Edvard Hægstad and Ingrid Viken in "Tuba Atlantic"

The list of winners at the 2011 Academy Awards was populated with Hollywood big-shots such as Aaron Sorkin and Christian Bale. But also among the winners was a filmmaker just out of film school, and the same could happen this year, as two of the live-action shorts in the running for an Oscar made their way onto the category’s shortlist by way of the Student Academy Awards. One, called “Tuba Atlantic,” earned Norway its first Student Oscar last June.

The news that the film would be awarded one of the Student Oscars — it went on to win the gold medal in the student foreign film category — came via email to director Hallvar Witzø on a day that already was full of celebrating, Norwegian Constitution Day.

“That was surreal. It was amazing timing,” said Witzø, 27, who made “Tuba Atlantic” as his thesis project for his bachelor's degree at the Norwegian Film School.

“Tuba Atlantic” tells the story of 70-year-old Oskar, who learns that his doctor expects him to die in six days. As he comes to terms with his fate with the help of a teenage girl, he searches for a way to get in touch with his brother, whom he hasn’t spoken to in 30 years, with an unusually large musical instrument.

Before Witzø had that story, though, the film started with just an image: “a globe, two old guys, one of them trying to [send] a sound to his brother in New Jersey.”

Location scouting inspired the story and the main character. Witzø decided to film at a house by the ocean on Stokkøya, an island on the west coast of Norway.

“We went there to find the story,” said the film’s writer, Linn-Jeanethe Kyed, 29, who met Witzø at film school. “It was something about the weather that was so harsh, so a man who lives in that place must be stubborn.”

Also inspiring Oskar was the house itself, which had no toilet and no running water.

“If you’re always taking a dump in a bucket and have to empty it yourself, you’d probably turn kind of bitter,” Witzø said.

Continue reading »

Pixar’s awards hopes may lie with its short film, not ‘Cars 2’

January 16, 2012 |  1:50 pm

'Cars 2' and 'La Luna'

When Pixar's "Cars 2" lost the Golden Globe award for animated feature to Steven Spielberg's 3-D performance-capture film "The Adventures of Tintin" at Sunday's 69th ceremony, it marked the first time in the history of the Globes' category that a movie from the beloved animation house failed to capture the top prize.

That doesn't bode well for the John Lasseter-directed sequel to the 2006 film about race car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and the friends he makes in the little burg of Radiator Springs, given that the Golden Globe winner for animated feature has been repeated at the Academy Awards for the past four years (with all Pixar films).

If the trend holds, that means “Tintin” will take home Oscar gold.

“Sequels, I think, have a harder time [winning awards]," Lasseter told 24 Frames on the red carpet at the Golden Globes on Sunday. "But every sequel at Pixar is something totally different, and it’s as good or better than the original.”

That certainly was true with “Toy Story 3,” which last year earned an Oscar and a Golden Globe for  animated feature, in addition to a best picture Oscar nomination. But “Cars 2” — which has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 39% fresh — hasn’t won over audiences and critics as easily as the 2010 threequel.

This time around, Pixar's best Oscar hopes might lie in the animated shorts category, where its seven-minute film “La Luna” has made the shortlist. (Nominations will be announced Jan. 24.) Lasseter said when the short’s director, Enrico Casarosa, pitched him the idea for the mystical coming-of-age story, “It had this magic to it. I knew it would be so special.”

“We love making short films at Pixar,” he added. “They're these labors of love, these artists’ little visions, and they’re these beautiful little things. It’s not corporate filmmaking. It’s an artist really bringing something to life at Pixar.”

Casarosa felt similarly about Pixar shorts, as he told 24 Frames last month that the “La Luna” production “felt like a small studio inside a bigger one.”

“La Luna” qualified for Oscar consideration during its festival run and will screen in front of Pixar’s 2012 feature film “Brave,” which hits theaters June 22.

The animation studio chose “La Luna” over its two 2011 shorts featuring “Toy Story” characters to submit for academy consideration. But that doesn’t mean Pixar has outgrown Buzz and Woody — Lasseter told 24 Frames that more shorts with the beloved characters are on the horizon.

“We got some more in the works. We love those characters. We just want to keep bringing them to life,” he said.


Oscar shorts: Pixar takes on new poetic tone with ‘La Luna’

The Oscar race for animated short is down to 10, puddy tat

Golden Globes: Steven Spielberg says 'Tintin' is an animated 'buddy movie'

— Emily Rome


Photo: Pixar films "Cars 2," left, and "La Luna." Credit: Disney / Pixar

Oscar shorts: An autobiographical journey in ‘The Road Home’

January 14, 2012 |  6:00 am

'The Road Home'

This post has been corrected. Please see note below for details.

Rahul Gandotra has an American accent, looks Indian and grew up identifying with British culture.

“If you ask me where home is now, that is a very difficult question for me to answer,” the filmmaker said.

Gandotra attended an international boarding school in India for seven years. That experience has now inspired his short, “The Road Home,” his thesis film for his MA at the London Film School. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shortlisted the film for this year’s live action shorts category.

“I’ve moved around a lot of my life, and a persistent theme has been that people would always meet me and label me as one thing while I felt something completely different inside,” Gandotra, 35, said.

Encountering people in India who expected him to know Hindi fluently and like Indian food developed into scenes in “The Road Home.” The 23-and-a-half-minute short depicts a boy of Indian descent running away from his boarding school in the Himalayas, plane ticket to London in hand.

In one scene, the boy, Pico, meets a French woman who has adopted many practices of Indian culture. She teaches the reluctant Pico how to eat chapati with dal, a traditional stew. Gandotra said his own relationship with Indian food became a running joke while shooting the film.

“I don’t eat any spice whatsoever. I get an upset stomach if I start eating spice,” the filmmaker said.

Gandotra was apprehensive about shooting a movie in a country where he was unaccustomed to the filmmaking culture, but he had a familiar comfort in one of his shooting locations: Woodstock School, which he attended through the 10th grade. In his last year there, his class consisted of 52 students of 26 different nationalities. The director made use of that multicultural student body during the production, as he cast current students and professors as extras and minor characters.

Gandotra may use the location again for the feature version of “The Road Home” he's written. The feature will tell the story of two children running away instead of one -– a British boy and an American girl. (Similarly, another film on the short list is also making the journey to feature film.) The director said the longer format will better enable him to embrace the road movie nature of the story.

“There was a lot of difficulty in trying to find ways of making this story work in [a short],” Gandotra said. “It was easier to explore the gradual transformation of the characters in a feature.”

A place on the Oscar shortlist is an honor Gandotra hopes will help in the search for financing for the feature.

“There’s going to be a lot more attention on us, and I think we’ll be taken a lot more seriously,” he said.

Oscar nominations will be announced on Jan. 24, when the list of 10 live action shorts will be pared down to three to five.

“The Road Home” will be available for online rental later this month on the film’s official website. Watch the trailer for the film below.

[For the Record, 10:37 a.m. Jan. 16: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated there were 52 students in Gandotra's school during his last year at Woodstock School. There were in fact 52 students in his class and about 500 students in the entire school.]


Oscar nod a tall order for short films

Oscar shorts: ‘Sailcloth’ features a silent John Hurt

Academy names its shortlist of 10 live-action shorts

– Emily Rome

Photo: Arrun Harker as Pico in "The Road Home." Credit: Annie Kwan

Oscar shorts: Making a boring ‘Sunday’ afternoon not boring

January 13, 2012 |  6:00 am


One challenge inherently facing short-film makers is how to tell a complete story in a brief format. Some of this year’s Oscar-shortlisted directors are discovering that their shorts are better suited to feature films now in the works. But for Patrick Doyon, the director of the animated film “Dimanche” (Sunday), which is in the running for an Oscar, the challenge was less about time and more about the subject of his 10-minute short.

“The challenge of making this film was to do a film about boredom without being boring,” Doyon, 32, said.

The film is inspired by Doyon’s Sundays as a child, going to his grandparents’ house after church, surrounded by a gathering of adults. In "Sunday," the adults are fretfully chatting about the town factory that has been closed down, while a village boy looks for something to do.

“It’s a portrait of a remote region where there’s less and less children and their communities are getting older and older,” the Montreal-based animator said. “There’s the feeling that the child is maybe one of the only children in this village and there’s really nothing to do.”

Doyon animated the film by drawing each frame with various types of pencils and then colored it digitally. He also used traditional 2-D animation techniques for his short films “32:11” and “Square Roots.”

“Square Roots” was made for the National Film Board of Canada’s Hothouse animation apprenticeship program. “Sunday” is Doyon’s first professional film made for NFB. The organization also backed fellow Oscar-shortlisted film “Wild Life.”

“What this kind of support [from NFB] gives is primarily a peace of mind. To have that kind of support and recognition means I can concentrate on making the film… [Without NFB] it would have taken a lot longer to have been produced,” Doyon said.

Doyon hopes to explore the concept of different generations again in a future short and is currently working on illustrating a children’s book.

“Sunday” is available for purchase on NFB’s website, which is streaming the film for free until Monday.


Oscar nod a tall order for short films

The Oscar race for animated short is down to 10, puddy tat

Oscar shorts: Pixar takes on new poetic tone with ‘La Luna’

— Emily Rome

Photo: Patrick Doyon's "Sunday" is on the Oscar shortlist for animated short films. Credit: National Film Board of Canada

Oscar shorts: Seven years of painting Canadian history

January 12, 2012 |  6:00 am

'Wild Life'

For animators Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis, having a short film in the Oscar race is nothing new. Their film “Wild Life” is in the running for an Academy Award, following up on their 1999 Oscar-nominated short, “When the Day Breaks.” But a few things have changed in the landscape of animated short films since then.

“We’ve noticed a big difference [since 1999] in terms of exposure and buzz and media,” Tilby, 51, said. “We don’t even remember being on the shortlist last time. It was such a non-event.”

Things have also changed vastly for the making of animated films.

“When we did ‘When the Day Breaks,’ a handmade film was not an exception; it was the rule. Now a handmade film in terms of using actual paint on paper is regarded with a little bit of amazement in some quarters,” Forbis, 48, said.

For “Wild Life,” about an Englishman’s difficult adjustment to life in the Alberta prairies in 1909, Tilby and Forbis employed both the benefits of modern technology and their skills with more traditional mediums in the seven-year production. The Calgary, Canada-based filmmakers animated the 13-and-a-half-minute short using Flash, drawing just outlines of characters and objects on a computer. Then they printed out each frame and painted them with gouache.

“[Gouache] is actually very fun to work with,” Forbis said. “It’s very organic. It smells nice, and it’s actually a little bit flexible because once it’s dry you can go back and rework it to a certain extent.”

Forbis also said the “folky, colorful look” they could achieve with gouache fit their story about ranching in the Canadian frontier. The film’s main character was inspired by the remittance men who immigrated to Canada in the early 20th century. Tilby and Forbis didn’t know about this piece of history until Forbis learned that there had been some remittance men in her mother’s family.

“It’s a very unstoried part of the world. We don’t have a lot of mythology or lore or even much sense of history because it’s a pretty short history,” Forbis said.

To shed light on that little-known history, the filmmakers enlisted the help of the National Film Board of Canada, which is the country’s government-funded producer and distributor of films. Another animated short in the Oscar race this year, “Sunday,” is also backed by NFB.

“They encourage experimentation. They encourage unconventional stories. Because they’re not market-driven, there are different constraints,” Forbis said of being backed by NFB.

Forbis and Tilby, who met at what's now the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, are working on some animated commercials and are preparing to propose another short to NFB. “Wild Life” is available for purchase on NFB's website, which is also streaming the short for free until Monday.


Oscar nod a tall order for short films

The Oscar race for animated short is down to 10, puddy tat

Oscar shorts: Pixar takes on new poetic tone with ‘La Luna’

— Emily Rome

Photo: "Wild Life" is a Canadian film on the Oscar short list for animated short films. Credit: National Film Board of Canada

Oscar shorts: An evolution of films about Northern Ireland

January 10, 2012 |  6:10 am

Ciarán Hinds in 'The Shore'

Terry George’s filmmaking career has taken him all around the world, including shooting the Oscar-nominated “Hotel Rwanda” in Africa. One of his latest projects, “The Shore,” brought him back home to Northern Ireland –- very literally, as part of the film was shot down the street from his childhood home outside of Belfast. The film made the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ latest cut for live-action shorts.

“The Shore” stars Ciarán Hinds as a man returning home for the first time in 25 years since fleeing to the U.S. during the Troubles, the period of violence in Northern Ireland that began in the late 1960s. He takes the journey with his daughter and makes the bittersweet visit to his onetime best friend. 

The film, which is just shy of 30 minutes long, has joined a collection of movies about the Troubles that George has worked on, including 1993’s “In the Name of the Father” and 1997’s “The Boxer.”

“I really view it as a continuum of the work I’ve done on the Troubles,” George, 59, said.

But “The Shore” deals with “the reconciliation side of it,” he added. “We’d never gotten to that in my other films.… So this little story, for me, has the sense that I have of Northern Ireland now, that people have moved on and want the communication to begin.”

It was also a chance for George to explore comedy more so than he had in other works. In fact, it was inspired by a humorous story his uncle told him and Daniel Day-Lewis while the two were traveling around Belfast researching “In the Name of the Father.” His uncle told the filmmaker about a friend's return to Ireland after leaving during the Troubles, initially leading his friends to mistake him for an unemployment inspector. The story became a scene in the film that George says has gotten the most laughs at the film’s several festival screenings.

“Laughter’s the only barometer you can judge the audience with in a theater. Usually with the films [I make], there’s a deathly silence –- the intensity of the films kind of washes over people. So to go in there and have people laughing, it was quite magical,” the writer-director said.

The film reunited George with fellow Belfast native Hinds, whom he had directed in “Some Mother’s Son.”

"He has a wonderful sense of the people there, being from Belfast," George said.

In addition to featuring multiple cast and crew members from Northern Ireland, the film was a family affair for George. His daughter co-produced the film, his son was one of the assistant directors, his sister did costume designing and most of the extras were extended family members.

In the small project free from studio involvement, “I had total control,” George said. “Other than my daughter bossing me around.”

“The Shore” has an iTunes distribution in the works, and George also hopes the film will air on British and Irish television.


Oscar nod a tall order for short films

Academy names its shortlist of 10 live action shorts

Oscar shorts: Pixar takes on new poetic tone with ‘La Luna’

– Emily Rome

Photo: Ciarán Hinds stars in Terry George's "The Shore." Credit: Aidan Monaghan Photography

Oscar shorts: ‘Love at First Sight’ isn’t just for the young

January 9, 2012 | 12:01 pm

"Love at First Sight," a short film on the Oscar shortlist this year, is an uplifting British film starring John Hurt and Phyllida Law
Any dreariness that comes with old age and its illnesses wasn't something British filmmaker Michael Davies wanted to fixate on when he made his short film now in the running for an Oscar, "Love at First Sight."

"I've been to an awful lot of short-film festivals, and it seemed to me that anytime anyone made a film about older people, they were films that were particularly grim. We in the U.K. seem to like miserable-ist films," said Davies, whose background is primarily in making documentaries.

So he set out to make a positive, humorous love story about two elderly people in a care home. He developed the story with friend Julian Unthank, who wrote the screenplay. "Love at First Sight" stars John Hurt, 71, and Phyllida Law, 79, as a two people who fall in love at their nursing home in the English countryside.

A key to making the film work was finding the right pair of actors who "would be very believable together as a couple," Davies said. Hurt was his first choice for the lead (a continuing supporter of short films, Hurt also starred in another on the Oscar short list), and he chose Law when he learned that the two actors had appeared together in the 2008 Italian film "Lesson 21."

"We didn't have to do anything [to create chemistry] because we'd already met, and, well, we like each other," Hurt said.

Partially funded by the Wellcome Trust, the film was shot in a private home near Pinewood Studios. The proximity to the major British film studio enabled Davies to gather a top-notch crew.

"That's my tip for short-film makers: Set your film next to a good studio," he said.

The location, along with the film's story, was partly inspired by time Davies' grandmother spent at a care home in "a big, rambling old English house," the director said.

"Many of the ideas of scenes in the film came from my memories of the last year of my grandmother's life,” Davies said. "I suppose that would usually lead you down a gloomy path, but it had a completely opposite effect on me. We wanted to make it a happy story."

"Love at First Sight” has picked up awards at festivals including the British Independent Film Festival and the Raindance Film Festival. Once it finishes its festival run, Davies expects to release the film online and on DVD. Watch a scene from "Love at First Sight" below.


Oscar nod a tall order for short films

Academy names its shortlist of 10 live-action shorts

Oscar shorts: A new take on time travel in "Time Freak"

–- Emily Rome

Photo: John Hurt and Phyllida Law in "Love at First Sight." Credit: Michael Davies Films / Spellbound Films

Oscar shorts: A new take on time travel in ‘Time Freak’

January 5, 2012 |  6:00 am

Michael Nathanson in 'Time Freak'

Ever wish you could go back in time and undo that embarrassing mistake you made or change that stupid thing you said? Sure you do. But everyone who has a time machine on his or her hands seems to be using it for joyrides to medieval Europe or for missions to kill the mother of a future resistance leader. Not in “Time Freak,” a short that made the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' cut for live action shorts in this year’s Oscar race.

“Time Freak” depicts an amateur scientist who invents a time machine with the dream of traveling to ancient Rome –- until he’s sidetracked, neurotically amending his recent actions, getting stuck traveling around yesterday.

The short's director, Andrew Bowler, 38, a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, wrote and directed his first feature, “The Descent of Walter McFea,” in 2001. He’s done television producing work in New York on shows including the Food Network’s “24 Hour Restaurant Battle.”

On "Time Freak," Bowler said his influences were as varied as “Back to the Future” and “Primer,” but he also strove to develop his own take on time travel. In the end, he’s created a quirky comedy that’s original enough to have captured the academy’s attention. 24 Frames’ Emily Rome talked to the New York-based filmmaker about the 11-minute film, the road to the Oscars, and the feature-length take that may be in “Time Freak’s” future.

ER: Where did you get the idea for this story?

AB: “Time Freak” was always a joke that I shared with friends –- the worst thing you could do with a time machine. So we would always kind of joke to each other, like, “What did you have for lunch?” “Oh I had a sandwich, but if I had a time machine I'd go back and have a salad instead.” And one day I thought it would be a great feature, and when I sat down to write the feature, the short sort of popped into my head, and [I] just wrote and made that instead.

ER: What did you do to make “Time Freak” stand out from other time travel movies?

AB: With time travel there's definitely a lot of well-worn ground. We made a choice to not have the characters see themselves in the past. We just say you inhabit the same space [when you go back in time]. We did that as a way to try to really set ourselves apart, because I think with time travel you can feel like you're hitting the same jokes and the same ideas that have been hit before. There’s a challenge with any comedy to be original, but in a time-travel comedy the ante is way up because you have to avoid all the jokes that people already know going into it.

ER: How did you decide what the time machine should look like?

AB: We played around with some ideas and decided it needed to look homemade. It needed to ride the line between looking like something that you would make in your basement but also something that could really transport you through time. One of my best friends I've been making films with for a long time, Michael McDermott, volunteered to do the production design on the movie. We didn't have any money to pay him or money for him to have a staff. We basically locked one of my best friends in this basement and just had him build the entire lab by himself. Everything you see in there was more or less built by one person.

ER: What does getting on the Oscar shortlist mean for what you’re able to do next?

AB: The effect remains to be seen. Who knows? I think generally in this business you do as many things as you can to create as many opportunities as you can, but at the end of the day, you can’t think too much about that. You just sort of jump up and down and scream and yell like my wife and I did [when we heard the news] and not worry exactly about what kind of effect it's going to have on your career cause you gotta just keep plugging away.

We celebrated for a little while, then I tried to tell myself that I had to go back to writing. I'm working on the “Time Freak” feature. You have to be ready for the opportunities when they come. If you get on the Oscar shortlist, if something comes up, the first thing somebody’s gonna say to me is, “What's your next project?” So I better have a good feature script.

ER: How are you expanding the story into a feature?

AB: The idea of the short is a guy neurotically redoes yesterday. The feature will focus more on the romance and all the neurosis and regret that comes with a relationship.

ER: If you were able to go back in time, where – uh, when – would you go?

AB: Maybe I'd go hang out with my parents when they were my age -– do a little “Back to the Future”-inspired thing. You know what I'd really like to do? I'd like to go see the past generations of people that I came from, like great-great grandfathers. I'd like to go meet them. That'd be awesome. I just hope I wouldn't screw something up that would end up destroying my existence.

“Time Freak” has been accepted into 30 film festivals, beginning with AFI Fest in 2010. It will continue its festival run this year and will also be available for purchase on iTunes in mid-January; the exact release date for download will be announced on the film’s Facebook page. Los Angeles residents can see the film at the Hollyshorts Monthly Screening series on Jan. 13 at the Showbiz Store & Café.


Oscar nod a tall order for short films

Academy names its shortlist of 10 live action shorts

Oscar shorts: Pixar takes on new poetic tone with ‘La Luna’

– Emily Rome

Photo: Michael Nathanson as a time machine inventor in "Time Freak." Credit: Sebastian Piras


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