It's Oscar time again - not the award ceremony, but the pre-nomination screenings. Once again, I have a short film to toss into the competition, it's called "The Loneliest Stoplight", voiced by the great Patton Oswalt, and I think it's one of my best. We screened it at the NuArt Theater in Los Angeles for a week in August, in front of the documentary "Station to Station", in order to qualify it.
Around the end of October each year, the Academy screens all of the eligible short animated films at branch screenings in New York, L.A. and San Francisco. It's a wonderful occasion for all of the Academy members (myself included) to gather and see every film that qualified. This year, the rules were stiffened to make the standards more demanding - but instead of cutting down on the number of submissions, the number increased to 60 short films. So it took two long days to judge them all.
But, I must say that I really enjoy the experience, because whether the films are great or terrible, I always learn something from each film. The judges do have the option of collectively deciding to turn off a film that's too long and boring (which we only did once).
All in all, the quality was really good this time, there were a lot of famous animators with qualified films. PES had "Submarine Sandwich", Cordell Barker had "If I Were God", Pixar had "Sanjay's Super Team", Don Hertzfeldt had "World of Tomorrow", Moonbot Studio's Brandon Oldenburg had "Taking Flight" and Konstantin Bronzit had "We Can't Live Without Cosmos".
So, it's very hard to predict which films will make it to the short list - these are the 10 films from which the Academy will pick the five nominated ones. I ask everyone to please cross your fingers for "The Loneliest Stoplight" - he needs some love and attention.