For fanatical film fans who attempt to see every Academy Award-nominated picture before the Oscar telecast, the fine folks at Shorts International and Magnolia Pictures have made the task easier by presenting the animated and live action shorts together in select parts of the country, now going on the fifth consecutive year.
The nominees for Best Short Film (Live Action) are:
"The Door" – Juanita Wilson (Ireland, 17 min)
The film opens with a man sneaking around like a thief in the night for the purpose of stealing a door from an abandoned home. He states, "That day we didn't just lose a town…we lost our world." The film then flashes back and we slowly learn his tragic tale, one likely shared by many of his fellow Russians.
"Instead of Abracadabra" – Patrik Eklund (Sweden, 22 min)
Thomas is a 25-year-old magician who lives with his parents. He is infatuated with his attractive new neighbor and, to impress her, he promises his dad he will find a job if his dad allows him to perform at his 60th birthday. It's an amusing comedy in the mode of a sitcom. Could easily see further adventures with this group.
"Kavi" – Gregg Helvey (USA/India, 19 min)
Set in present-day India, a sad story plays out about Kavi, a young boy whose parents are indentured workers at a brick factory. The film closes with a title card revealing that 27 million people around the world suffer a similar fate.
"Miracle Fish" – Luke Doolan (Australia, 17 min)
Eight-year-old Joe is a picked-upon kid by his classmates. After taking a nap in the nurse's office he finds the school empty…at least for a while. The film offers an interesting twist as the story is revealed.
"The New Tenants" – Joachim Back (Denmark/USA, 20 min)
Two new tenants find themselves harassed by a number of visitors due to the exploits of the former occupant in this very dark comedy.
While I would pick either "Instead of Abracadabra" or "The New Tenants" because of the writing and performances, comedy doesn't always fare well so expect the Academy voters to select something with a message like "The Door" or "Kavi."