The fine folks at Shorts International and Magnolia Pictures are once again rolling out the Oscar nominated shorts this year beginning on February 11 including to “highly commended” bonus animated shorts. You can also download them from iTunes or watch them On Demand beginning February 15. This is the first year that the short documentaries will be shown in addition to the animation and live action categories. As always, each program is a separate admission. The documentary program will begin on February 18th.

Stay tuned for more info and check out descriptions of all the nominees after the jump.

ANIMATION

DAY & NIGHT USA/6 MIN
Director/Writer: Teddy Newton
Producer: Kevin Reher

When Day, a sunny fellow, encounters Night, a stranger of distinctly darker moods, sparks fly! Day and Night are frightened and suspicious of each other at first, and quickly get off on the wrong foot. But as they discover each other’s unique qualities – and come to realize that each of them offers a different window onto the same world – the friendship helps both to gain a new perspective.

THE GRUFFALO UK, Germany/27 MIN
Directors: Jakob Schuh, Max Lange
Writers: Julia Donaldson, Max Lang, Jakob Schuh

Producers: Michael Rose, Martin Pope
Cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Rob Brydon, Robbie Coltrane, James Corden, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson
The magical tale of a mouse who takes a walk through the woods in search of a nut. Encountering three predators who all wish to eat him a fox, an owl and a snake the plucky mouse has to use his wits to survive, creating an imaginary monster who then turns out to be only too real.

LET’S POLLUTE USA/6 MIN
Director/Writer/Producer: Geefwee Boedoe
Cast: Jim Thornton

In the spirit of 50’s & 60’s educational films, ‘Let’s Pollute’ is a modern satire on how pollution is our heritage and keeps our economy growing strong, while instructing us how to be better polluters for a better blighted tomorrow.

THE LOST THING Australia, UK/15 MIN
Directors/Writers: Andrew Ruhemann, Shaun Tan
Producer: Sophie Byrne
Cast: Tim Minchin

A boy discovers a bizarre looking creature while out collecting bottle tops at the beach. Realising it is lost, he tries to find out who owns it or where it belongs, but is met with indifference from everyone else, who barely notice its presence, each unwilling to entertain this uninvited interruption to their day to day lives. For reasons he does not explain, the boy empathises with the creature, and sets out to find a ‘place’ for it.

MADAGASCAR, CARNET DE VOYAGE France/11 MIN
Director: Bastien Dubois
Writer: Bastien Dubois
Producer: Ron Dyens, Aurélia Prévieu

This film is a journey diary that redraws the trip of a European traveller confronted with Famadihana customs. As pages of a diary turn, colorful pencil sketches come to life, revealing the majestic rolling landscapes of Madagascar, and acquainting the audience to the people of the Malagasy culture.

HIGHLY COMMENDED

THE COW WHO WANTED TO BE A HAMBURGER USA/6 MIN
Director/Writer/Producer: Bill Plympton
Producer: Biljana Labovic

This is a children’s fable about the power of advertising, the meaning of life, and ultimately the test of a mother’s life.

URS Germany/10 MIN
Director/Writer: Moritz Mayerhofer
Producer: Stina McNicholas

For many years Urs has had to look after his aging mother. But now he sets out for a dangerous journey: He carries his mother up a mountain to find a better place for both of them. But she wants to stay at home.

LIVE ACTION

THE CONFESSION UK/26 MIN
Director: Tanel Toom
Writer: Caroline Bruckner
Producer: Emily Williams
Cast: Aran Bell, Joe Eales, Lewis Howlett, James Simmons

Quiet and sincere 9-year-old Sam is worried about making his first confession. His conscience is clear, therefore he cannot hope for any relief from the experience. He and his friend Jacob decide to remedy that situation, but their initially innocent prank turns unexpectedly tragic.

THE CRUSH Ireland/15 MIN
Director/Writer: Michael Creagh
Producer: Damon Quinn
Cast: Charlie Bonner, Neilí Conroy, Oran Creagh, Rory Keenan, Olga Wehrly

Ardal Travis is in love. There’s just one problem. He’s an 8 year old schoolboy and the object of his affection is his Second Class teacher, Miss Purdy. But when her boyfriend arrives on the scene Ardal is heartbroken. His reaction, though, is a little unexpected. He challenges Miss Purdy’s boyfriend to a duel. To the death.

GOD OF LOVE USA/18 MIN
Director/Writer: Luke Matheny
Producers: Gigi Demant, Ryan Silbert, Stefanie Walmsley
Cast: Luke Matheny, Marian Brock, Christopher Hirsh, Emily Young, Miguel Rosales

Lounge-singing darts champion Raymond Goodfellow finds his prayers are answered — literally — when he receives a mysterious package of passion-inducing darts. The catch is that the one woman he loves — Kelly, a drummer in his band — is already in love with Ray’s best friend Fozzie, the guitarist in the band. But when Ray uses the darts in a loony scheme to resolve this strange romantic triangle, he learns a surprising lesson about unrequited love and discovers his own place in the universe. Romance is in the air in this bohemian charmer.

NA WEWE Belgium/19 MIN
Director: Ivan Goldschmidt
Writers: Ivan Goldschmidt, Jean-Luc Pening
Producer: Ivan Goldschmidt
Cast: Renaud Rutten

1994: There is civil war in Burundi, a small country of Central Africa directly bordering Rwanda. A near genocidal confrontation opposes rebels mainly composed of ethnic Hutus and a national army with a majority of Tutsis.

This short film relates a sadly frequent episode of this fratricidal conflict: the attack by rebels of a minivan carrying ordinary citizens.

A Kalashnikov bursts out. The bus stops, the passengers get off. An order is barked: “Hutus to the left, Tutsis to the right!” The sorting out begins. But who is a Hutu, who is a Tutsi?

This story is entirely based on real people and situations. It was written by a person who has lived in the beauty of Burundi and suffered its horrors.

With emotion, suspense and humour it exposes the absurdity of ethnic and racial strife.

“NA WEWE” (pronounce “Na wayway”) means “You too” in Kirundi.

WISH 143 UK/24 MIN
Director: Ian Barnes
Writer: Tom Bidwell
Producer: Samantha Waite
Cast: Jim Carter, Jodie Whittaker, Dean Andrews

A fifteen-year-old boy with only months to live is granted one wish from the Dreamscape Charity. But David doesn’t want to go to Disneyland or meet Gary Neville; what he really wants is an hour alone with a naked woman.

DOCUMENTARY

KILLING IN THE NAME USA/39 MIN
Director: Jed Rothstein
Producer: Jed Rothstein, Liz Garbus, Rory Kennedy

Ashraf Al-Khaled was celebrating the happiest day of his life when a suicide bomber walked into his wedding and killed his father and twenty-six other family members in front of his eyes. Now, he’s rising from horrific tragedy to take an unprecedented step–breaking the code of silence in the Muslim community by speaking out against terrorism. Killing in the Name follows Ashraf’s quest to understand what gives rise to terrorism and expose its true costs. From an Al-Qaeda recruiter, to a militant behind one of the world’s worst terrorist attacks, to a madrassa full of boys ready for jihad, Ashraf takes us on a journey around the world to see if one man can speak truth to terror.

POSTER GIRL USA/38 MIN
Director: Sara Nesson
Producer: Mitchell Block, Sara Nesson

Apple pie cheerleader turned tough-as-nails machine gunner in the Iraq War, Sgt. Robynn Murray comes home to face a new kind of battle she never anticipated.

STRANGERS NO MORE USA/40 MIN
Directors/Producers: Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon

In the heart of Tel Aviv, there is an exceptional school where children from 48 different countries and diverse backgrounds come together to learn. Many of the students arrive at Bialik-Rogozin in the wake of poverty, political adversity and even genocide. Here, no child is a stranger.

SUN COME UP USA, Papua New Guinea/38 MIN
Director/Producer: Jennifer Redfearn
Producer/Cinematographer: Tim Metzger

Sun Come Up follows the relocation of some of the world’s first environmental refugees, the Carteret Islanders – a community living on a remote island chain in the South Pacific Ocean. When rising seas threaten their survival, the islanders face a painful decision: they must leave their beloved land in search of a new place to call home.

THE WARRIORS OF QIUGANG USA/39 MIN
Director: Ruby Yang
Writer: Thomas Lennon
Producers: Thomas Lennon & Ruby Yang

Villagers in a remote district of central China take on a chemical company that is poisoning their water and air. For five years they fight to transform their environment and as they do, they find themselves transformed as well.

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All material copyright 2007-2012 by Craig Kennedy unless otherwise stated