Academy Awards Short List Considerations

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By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J.

The following films are being considered on the short list for Academy Awards or have been moved into Oscar consideration—most likely in the live action short category. If they are valued for their contribution to the arts or just plain old appeal to a wider audience, then any of the individual films will then move into the final category, where they would compete against others for the coveted gold statue scheduled for presentation in Los Angeles in late April.

Director Pier-Phillippe Chevigny’s “Rebel” was inspired by true events. When thousands of illegal immigrants flooded into Canada from the U.S. in 2017, Quebec’s right-wing groups went on the attack. This live-action short film has been making its mark on the film world, having been selected for numerous world-class festivals including TIFF, Busan, Regard, Namur, and Vladivostok.

ALEX IS AN impressionable young boy in “Rebel.”

Alex, a six-year-old boy from Quebec, is oblivious to the thousands of refugees entering Canada illegally to avoid deportation. Yet when his father takes him along to a vigilante patrol in the woods to hunt out trespassing migrants, something inside him tells him to rebel. This film was hard to watch, in that children are used in the effort of vigilantes to keep foreigners out of Canada. It’s a short film but packed full of action in its few minutes. After a father is summoned to a field for a get together of sorts, two young children began to play and venture off from the crowd. During this time, they come across a young immigrant couple, whose father signals for the young boy to not tell anyone that they are hiding in the bushes. Too late, as the boy has been conditioned to alert his father about anyone that seems to be out of place.

Chevigny is a filmmaker from Montreal, Quebec. His films share a common signature, combining sociopolitical subject matter with suspenseful writing and intense, often frantic camerawork. For the past few years, his short films have received international attention. “Rebel” can soon be seen at several upcoming film festivals and is also available online on Vimeo Staff Picks, Short of the Week and Omeleto’s YouTube Channel.

“Alina” won the Oscar-qualifying Award at Bengaluru International Short Film Festival, making it eligible to be considered for a 2021 Oscar. The film focuses on heroic women fighting to save children during the Holocaust.

Rami Kodeih’s short film “Alina” was inspired by the real-life women who smuggled Jewish children to safety during the Holocaust.

“ALINA” TELLS THE story of children caught up in the Holocaust.

As Nazis separate children from their parents in the Warsaw Ghetto, a gang of women risks everything to smuggle their friend’s three-month-old baby to safety. Inspired by true events. Director/Writer/Producer Rami Kodeih has written and directed Award-winning narrative shorts and feature documentaries that have screened at festivals worldwide. Along with his co-creator Nora Mariana, Rami is developing an original TV series with Participant (“Roma” and “Green Book”), inspired by his own experiences as an immigrant and displaced child of war.

Producer and Writer Mariana recently worked as a staff writer on the upcoming miniseries “Angelyne,” produced by Sam Esmail. “Alina” is a tribute to the writer’s mother who saved the family from an anti-Semitic regime.

The award-winning film “Feeling Through” has been breaking barriers. Not only does it star a DeafBlind actor, the director Doug Roland has been holding fully accessible screenings across America (first in person and now virtually). The film was inspired by a chance meeting Roland had late one night with Artemio, a DeafBlind person. The topical film has been selected for numerous high-profile international film festivals and has been taking home numerous awards. “Feeling Through” can be seen online during Slamdance in February. This 13-time, award-winning film (made in partnership with Helen Keller Services) marks the first time a DeafBlind actor has ever starred in a film.

This coming-of-age story follows Tereek, a teen wandering the streets of New York, desperate for a place to crash when he encounters Artie, a DeafBlind man in need of help getting home. What begins as an awkward meeting between strangers from completely different backgrounds quickly becomes an intimate bond between friends, and a journey that forever changes Tereek.

“Feeling Through” can’t help but soften the heart of the most calloused viewer. Tereek has his own troubles, in that he is forced to couch surf at night. He happens to be on his way to anyone’s house one night and has finally gained approval from a female friend when he happens along Artie. He is moved by Artie’s independence and decides to sit with him until his bus arrives. A powerful film that really shines a light on one man’s compassion toward another.

“No More Wings” is a love letter to Abraham Adeyemi’s adolescent years growing up in Woolwich, south London. It examines the effects of gentrification on local communities in inner cities and reflects on the consequences of the choices we make.

Isaac and Jude are two boys from the same area in south London. They hang out at the same chicken shop everyday and fancy the same girls. But in adulthood their lives take different directions. Adeyemi’s live action short film won at Tribeca in the Best Narrative category, which makes it eligible for the Academy Awards in 2021. The film has also won The Wrap’s Shortlist Film Festival Audience Award and the Encounters Film Festival Audience Award. 

“No More Wings” is a great look at situations that arise all the time when childhood friends grow up and take off in different directions. While there doesn’t seem to be any animosity between Isaac and Jude, as they both are cordial and Jude is excited for his friend Isaac’s success, there is still an uneasiness. The mild friction comes into play as they are eating their meals when Isaac explains that he is moving to a part of town that could be considered highbrow.

The sentiment is that Isaac won’t or can’t find anything in his new neighborhood and new home that he can’t find right there in the neighborhood. Even the clothing that the two wears lets you know that one is better off than the other. Isaac is in business attire, and Jude is in sportswear. There is another situation going on in the fast-food joint—two young boys coming in after school, chopping it up about life and grades. One of the young men, as well, has aspirations for dreams toward being a rap star. The other young man is committed to his education—sort of mirroring the life choices of Jude and Isaac. However, their presence at the restaurant is more than just a casual one. At the end, it is revealed that Jude is hanging out for more than just to meet his lifelong buddy.

“No More Wings” speaks to the fare at the fast-food restaurant, but the title could also allude to the end of Jude and Isaac’s meeting together to shoot the breeze. It could also mean that one of the bird’s wings has been clipped—only for the bird to fly away on his own toward a greater life.

Take a look at the trailer for “No More Wings:” No More Wings Trailer: We Are One Global Film Festival

“Turned:” Director Anders Walters and multi-Academy Award-winning producer Kim Magnusson’s live action short film “Turned” shares the story of a young man who is fighting his childhood demons of having a violent and alcoholic father.

Kasper’s life is full of speed. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a successful career as a racing driver and loves his university studies. But underneath the surface traces from a traumatic and violent childhood threatens his road to adulthood.

Take a look at the trailer:

https://vimeo.com/477148528

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