Tuesday, February 17, 2015

In NYC, the Oscars Come to Us

Getting ready for the show!
This weekend, I braved the frigid temperatures to attend an only-in-New-York sort of event—and I loved it. With a group of my friends, I went downtown to the School of Visual Arts in Chelsea and watched all of this year’s Oscar-nominated shorts. Most people use the short film acceptance speeches as time to get up and stretch because so few people go to the film festivals where most of the movies play. The quick movies ran the gamut from animated to live action and from tragic to uproariously funny. In between, directors from some of the shorts spoke about their inspirational process, animation, casting, and the difficulties of filming.

Feast Poster
We listened to Patrick Osborne, the director of Disney’s entry Feast, explain that the animators had spent a full day doing “research” (actually watching coworkers dogs romping around the office) on how dogs moved before they began animating the canine protagonist of the short film. The French producer and Chinese director of Butter Lamp, a movie exploring the question of identity through Tibetan nomad families, detailed the immense difficulty of shooting film at 15,000 feet high with a reluctant Chinese government. The effort that goes into the films is incredible despite their short length--Israeli creators of Aya spent a full 6 months in post-production for a total of 3 years working on the film. 
A scene from Butter Lamp
This isn't an activity that I would normally do—I don't watch a ton of movies and knew absolutely nothing about short films. But when you go to Fordham, opportunities to do things like this literally come knocking. Last week, CAB (Campus Activities Board) raffled off tickets to watch every single Best Picture nominee, back-to-back. If my luck were better, I would be doing that, too. When Fordham makes it so easy to explore the city and learn new things, you just can't say no.

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