For the seventh year in a row this year, Fresno Filmworks brought the Oscar nominated short films to the big screen here in the Central Valley. I’m thankful each month for the good job Filmworks does to screen independent movies here, in a region without an indie moviehouse. But I’m particularly thankful each year for the chance to see the Oscar shorts. There’s a lot of incredible filmmaking going on in the world, and the short form really shows off a filmmaking team’s ability to capture a simple idea in a way that captivates. It’s super tough to pack so much meaning into every line, every shot. The Oscar shorts, to me, are always impressive in their concision and their vision.
The 2012 live action nominees delivered a lot of laughs but with serious undertones. My favorite was “Tuba Atlantic,” a Norwegian film directed by Hallvar Witzø. The movie told the story of Oskar, a dying fisherman trying to make peace with his estranged brother, and his interactions with Inger, an “Angel of Death” that the local Jesus club sends to keep Oskar company in his final days. The movie was beautifully shot, its touches of magic realism were inspiring, and it left me with a profound sense of loss while also making me laugh and laugh. A great little film.
The 2012 animation nominees also took on serious topics but delivered them with comedic punch lines. My favorite was “A Morning Stroll,” a British film directed by Grant Orchard. The movie told the story of an archetypal New Yorker and an unusual neighbor–a plucky little chicken. I won’t give away too much more about the movie because it relies on the element of surprise. But this trailer will give you a glimpse of their interactions. The film left me absolutely delighted– and isn’t that what movies are supposed to do?