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A Letter to Momo

Even scenes that work, such as a climax on a rain-soaked bridge, feel like they could have been trimmed by a few hand-drawn frames. Maybe…

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Cannibal

Visually striking and confident but frustratingly hollow in terms of character and narrative.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Ebert Club All-Time Short Film Retrospective

The Ebert Club recently celebrated its 2nd birthday and in honor of the occasion, we'd like to share a collection of short films which have appeared inside the Newsletter. The cream of the crop!  And to explore an even greater assortment of finds and discoveries, please join the Ebert Club. Your subscription helps support the Newsletter, the Far-Flung Correspondents and the On-Demanders on Roger's site.
Fly (2010) Directed by Alan Short, the "Fly" is part of a series of animated shorts from Aardman Animation. Synopsis: A man and his pet dog attempt to remove a pesky fly with humorous results...
The Lady and the Reaper - La Dama y la Muerta (2009) Written and directed by Javier Recia Gracia.  Starring Miguel Angel Perez and Eva Molina. Synopsis: This 2010 Oscar-nominated animated short tells the comedic story of a sweet old lady living alone, waiting for the arrival of death so as to meet her beloved husband again. And sure enough Death shows up, but then something happens. Official site.
Pigeon: Impossible (2009) Directed, written and produced by Lucas Martell. Additional story by Austen Menges, Scott Rice and Gopal Bidari. Music by Christopher Reyman. Synopsis: 5 years in the making, "Pigeon: Impossible" tells the story of a rookie secret agent faced with a problem seldom covered in basic training: what to do when a curious pigeon gets trapped inside your multi-million dollar, government-issued nuclear briefcase. AWARDS: Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival 2009:  Jury award, Best Short Film. Montréal World Film Festival 2009: First Prize (Short Films). Rhode Island International Film Festival 2009: First Prize, Best Animation. Official site.
Alarm (2009) Directed by Moohyun Jang. Produced by the independent Animation team, MESAI.  Synopsis: an animated short from Korea about our relationship with devices that measure time and wanting to sleep in.
Alma (2009) Directed and written by Rodrigo Blaas. Synopsis: an award-winning Spanish short film produced by former-Pixar animator Rodrigo Blaas. Synopsis: the story of a girl's visit to a toy store and her struggle to reach the doll she wants most, only to end up getting more than she bargained for. Note: the word "Alma" in Spanish means soul. AWARDS: 2009 Animacor - International Animation Festival, Spain: Best Andalusian Short. L.A. Shorts Fest 2009: Best Animation. Official site.
Oktapodi (2007) Directed by Julien Bocabeille, François-Xavier Chanioux, Olivier Delabarre, Thierry Marchant, Quentin Marmier, Emud Mokhberi. Original Music by Kenny Wood. Synopsis: this Oscar-nominated 2009 animated short film tells the story of two Octopi who fight for their lives while being pursued by a determined restaurant cook in a "comical escape through the streets of a small Greek village." AWARDS: Annecy 2008: Canal+Family Award (Student Film). Casablanca International Student Film Festival 2008: Best Animated Film. Hiroshima International Animation Festival 2008: Special Jury Prize. Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films 2008: Children's Jury Award - Special Distinction. Official website.
French Roast (2009) Directed and written by Fabrice O. Jouberts' . Music by Olivier Liboutry. Synopsis: the Oscar-nominated animated short French Roast is a situational sketch exploring the many layers of human nature. AWARDS: ANIMA - Córdoba International Animation Festival 2009: Best Animation. Anima Mundi Animation Festival 2009: Jury Award - Best Art Direction. Atlanta Film Festival 2009:  Jury Award - Best Animated Short.  Cinanima 2009: Festival Award - Best Animation. Foyle Film Festival 2009: Festival Prize Best Animation. Leeds International Film Festival 2009: Audience Award Animation . Official site.
Something Left, Something Taken (2010) Direction/Animation/Design/Writing: Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata. Sound Design/Mix:Greg Sextro (East West Audio) Voice recording: Erin Kilkenny. Synopsis: An animated dark comedy about a vacationing couple's encounter with a man they believe to be the Zodiac Killer. Based on a true story.
The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello (2005) Nominated for an Oscar and for a BAFTA award, Jasper Morello is a short feature made in a unique style of silhouette animation developed by director Anthony Lucas and inspired by the work of authors Edgar Alan Poe and Jules Verne. Synopsis: In the frontier city of Carpathia, Jasper Morello discovers that his former adversary Doctor Claude Belgon has returned from the grave. When Claude reveals that he knows the location of the ancient city of Alto Mea where the secrets of life have been discovered, Jasper cannot resist the temptation to bring his own dead wife Amelia back. But they are captured by Armand Forgette, leader of the radical Horizontalist anti-technology movement, who is determined to reanimate his terrorist father Vasco. As lightning energies the arcane machinery of life in the floating castle of Alto Mea, Jasper must choose between having his beloved restored or seeing the government of Gothia destroyed. Set in a world of iron dirigibles and steam powered computers, this Gothic horror mystery tells the story of Jasper Morello, a disgraced aerial navigator who flees his Plague-ridden home on a desperate voyage to redeem himself. Winner of the Grand Prix award at the Annecy Animation Festival. Official website.
The Last Knit (2005) Directed by Laura Neuvonen. Animated short film from Finland about a woman who knits and knits and knits and knits and knits and knits and...
The Legend of the Scarecrow (La leyenda del espantapájaros) by Argentinian animator Carlos Lascano. Winner of over 20 awards worldwide. Go here to learn about the making of the film: The Legend of the Scarecrow: some notes for reckless animators. "The life of a scarecrow changes when he decides to become friends with the birds. WARNING: contains extremely poignant subject matter. Do not watch without Kleenex.
Key Lime Pie (2007) Directed by Trevor Jimenez. In this animated noir, a man's obsession with key lime pie brings him to the brink of insanity and a chance encounter with the grim reaper.
Tarboy (2008) Created by James Lee and Hania Lee, the short animated film 'Tarboy' was completed at the end of 2007 as part of Jame's Honours Assessment at Griffith University. In 2008, Tarboy screened at several international Film festivals such Siggraph and QNFA. Tarboy won Best Animation, Most Original Script, Best Tertiary Film and Best Overall Film and the Queensland new Filmmaker Awards. Tarboy 2 is currently in the works. Official film site.
"Death Buy Lemonade" (2011) is a short animated film created by Kyu-bum Lee at Sheridan College, and which was shown at Cartoon Brew TV's Student Animation Festival. Synopsis: A little girl running a lemonade stand has a run-in with death...
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011) Directed by William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg. Official synopsis: "Inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. Using a variety of techniques (miniatures, computer animation, 2D animation) award winning author/ illustrator William Joyce and Co-director Brandon Oldenburg present a hybrid style of animation that harkens back to silent films and MGM Technicolor musicals. Morris Lessmore is old fashioned and cutting edge at the same time." - IMDB
The Lost Thing (2010) Directed by Tan and Andrew Ruhemann. Narrated by Tim Minchin. Synopsis: A boy finds a strange creature on a beach, and decides to find a home for it in a world where everyone believes there are far more important things to pay attention to. Awards: won the Oscar for Best Animated Short 2011. It was nominated for the 2011 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. Official site
Signs (2008) Directed by Patrick Hughes. Written by Patrick Hughes, Karl Fleet and Nick Worthington. Starring Nick Russell and Kestie Morassi. "Signs" is an award winning (Cannes Lions 2009) live action short film from Australia. Tagline: Where do you find love? Sometimes all you need is a sign.
To see more amusing and delightful discoveries, please join the Ebert Club. Your subscription helps support the Newsletter, the Far-Flung Correspondents and the On-Demanders on Roger's site.

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