83rd Academy Awards: Best Live Action Short

Every year thousands of people, film buffs and Ghost Rider (2007)enthusiasts alike participate in Oscar pools placing their bets on which nominated film will win and take home the little golden man.

No matter how much of a cinephile you consider yourself, trying to decide the winners of the Live Action and Animated shorts have traditionally been a ‘luck of the draw’ experience for most. For years watching the shorts nominated was not possible for anyone not living in the select U.S. cities screening them.

Even worse, because of varying distribution laws that have prevented shorts from crossing the border, Canadians have consistently been excluded from the viewing process altogether. Luckily for us Canucks, this year the Bell Tiff Lightbox is holding screenings of the Oscar shorts nominated at the 2011 Academy awards.

Now you can be closer than ever to getting those few extra points on your ballot, but let’s not talk about being able to see any nominated Documentary Short because that’s still a work in progress.

Pentecost (2011)- Ireland

Wonderfully framed shots accentuate this short film about a rebellious altar boy named Damien (Scott Graham). If Damien’s name isn’t a good enough allusion to the boy’s feelings towards his faith, it is Pentecost’sgiddy and playful comparison of Catholic mass to a football game that makes this short film so worthwhile.

Raju (2011)– Germany/ India

Raju takes us on a brief but piercing journey through the streets of India as a German couple journey to adopt a child. Bright scenes and colorful locals illuminate this downward spiralling story line. Rajuis a tense film about child trafficking that makes the Darjeeling Limited (2007) look like a fairy tale in comparison.

The Shore (2011) – Northern Ireland

An old lad comes back to Belfast to visit with his American daughter after a 20 year absence only to find he must to come to terms with the pieces of his past he thought had died there. The Shore looks and sounds like an Irish Dawson’s Creek, and its honest and heart warming nature are pure and inviting. Makes you want to go to Ireland, seriously.

Time Freak (2011)- U.S.A

A high spirited and creative playoff of Groundhog Day (1993), nerdy inventor Stillman (Michael Nathanson) creates a time machine only to put it to very silly uses. Time Freak looks and sounds like anything you’ve heard in The Big Bang Theory but replaces laboratory jargon with goofy scenarios that make scientific obsession in even something as terrifying as PI (1998), laughable.

Tuba Atlantic (2010)- Norway

Blue in all its scenery, Tuba Atlantic is a cute but melancholic film about an angry, lonely, old man’s last months of life. Propelled by a zaney vendetta against the world, Oskar (Edvard Hægstad)  is determined to kill every seagull that flies even remotely close to his seaside shack. Forcefully befriended by a jolly teenage girl (Ingrid Viken) who acts as Oskar’s ‘angel of death’, Tuba Atlantic shifts back and forth between morbidity comic relief. In the end, it is this short’s striking use of the Norwegian coast and its flat beauty that punctuate this crafty story.

Prediction: Tuba Atlantic The Shore

The shorts begin today at the Bell Tiff Lightbox and run till Thursday Feb 16th

http://tiff.net/filmsandschedules/tiffbelllightbox/2012/4700001241

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