I promised a little more concerning the animated shorts up for Oscar this year. As I sorted through the information available on AWN, I had only intended on writing a little on each. Instead, I found myself completely absorbed in Chris Robinson’s articles about the 3D nominee Ryan. Chris’s piece on Ryan Larkin is eloquent and moving, personal and confessional, honest and heart-breaking. While running the Ottawa Film Festival as he does every year, Chris learned that Oscar -winning animator Ryan Larkin was panhandling on the streets of Montreal. The committee found him, and through a last-minute jury substitution and a few drinking sessions, got to know the animator behind the lost soul. Fellow jury member Chris Landreth was so impressed by his story he created a film. In Robinson’s words:

Landreth again uses Maya software and does an extraordinary job re-creating himself and Ryan as characters in the film. The interview between the two takes place in an old, rundown cafeteria that looks like the waiting room for hell; an assortment of disfigured and, literally, broken characters occupy the space.

Ryanappearance is initially horrifying. Landreth has re-created him as a fragile, incomplete person. We see the remains of what was once a face and much of Ryan s body is twisted, busted or just not there.

Landreth sees his mother in Ryan. Robinson sees himself. I see a very interesting competition for the gold in the shorts category this year. For more on the nominees:

Birthday Boy: A Korean child dreams of being a soldier.
Gopher Broke: A gopher has an encounter with a produce truck.
Guard Dog: It’s a Bill Plympton.
Lorenzo: Bizarre short about a cat whose tail comes to life and dances with him.

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