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Oscar-Nominated Short Films At The IFC Center

Tuesday, February 13----Short filmmakers, even those nominated for Academy Awards, can have a hard time showcasing their work for the general public. The heyday of short films being shown in theaters before the main feature have long gone. However, intrepid New Yorkers are in for a treat this coming weekend, when the IFC Center, downtown Manhattan's most dynamic arthouse theater, will present a program of the live-action and animated short films that are up for Oscar gold.

GUIDE DOGGUIDE DOGUsually, only those who frequent film festivals, are members of the Academy who receive dvd and late night Sundance and IFC Channel addicts have a chance to view the 10 short films that are nominated for the Oscar. This anonymity has been the "wild card" in the many office and family betting pools that characterize the public's fascination with the outcome of the Academy Awards. Without actually knowing the films, gamblers generally choose a live action or animated short film by its title (melodramatic for live action, whimsical for animated). The "lucky guess" of the films that ultimately receive Oscar glory can make the difference between a win and a loss of hundreds of dollars the morning after the Oscar telecast.

Well, intrepid gamblers or just those interested in the abundant international talents working in the short form, happily have Magnolia Pictures to thank for assembling ten of the nominees on two programs (live-action and animated, respectively) that begins this Friday at the IFC Center (

THE DANISH POETThe Animated Short nominees are particularly strong this year, with two Disney titles (THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL and NO TIME FOR NUTS) that will inevitably show up on an animation compilation dvd before long. The films best poised to win the award on Oscar night seem to be GUIDE DOG, a typically wild and funny film about man's best friend, directed by American animation guru Bill Plympton; and THE DANISH POET, an autobiographical tale by Danish animator Torrill Kove that uses old-fashioned cel animation techique (as opposed to the high-tech computer generation that has become the international trademark of most animated films these days). The simplicity of the drawing matches the soulfulness of the story in this short film treat.

BINTA AND THE GREAT IDEABINTA AND THE GREAT IDEALive action short films cover a range of subjects. WEST BANK STORY is a lively send-up of Broadway musicals, fast-food restaurants and Middle Eastern politics in a style that mixes panache with political melodrama. ERAMOS POCOS from Spain is a witty comedy about a middle-aged father who goes to extremes when his wife leaves him. The current frontrunner for an Oscar win is BINTA AND THE GREAT IDEA, by Javier Fesser. This fascinating short film is set in a small Senegalese village, touching on issues of gender, education reform and economic disparity. Kudos to Magnolia Pictures for giving those of us not on the Academy list a chance to sample these tasty short film hors d'oeuvres....and win the big loot in the Oscar office pool.

Sandy Mandelberger, Film New York Editor


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About FilmNewYork

Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

The Ultimate Guide to the New York Film, Video and New Media Scene.

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