Five animated shorts nominated for Genie Award

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Genie Award

Genie Award

Five nominations in the Best Animated Short category of the 32nd Annual Genie Awards were announced Tuesday by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television at simultaneous news conferences in Toronto and Montreal.

The Genies are the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars.

The nominees are Choke (Michelle Latimer), La Cité entre les Murs/Inner City (Alain Fournier), Muybridge’s Strings (Koji Yamamura, Michael Fukushima, Shuzo John Shiota and Keisuke Tsuchihashi), Romance (Georges Schwizgebel, René Chénier and Marc Bertrand) and Wild Life (Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby, Marcy Page and Bonnie Thompson).

Here are descriptions of the five hopefuls:

Choke
When Jimmy leaves his First Nations reservation, drawn by the lures of city life, he finds himself confronting a world he could never have imagined. In his encounters with the city’s lost souls, he is reminded that no matter how far you travel, you cannot escape who you are. Inspired by the life of the late teenaged artist Kyle Morrisseau (grandson of famed painter Norval Morriseau), Choke uses stop-motion animation to explore themes of urban isolation and the individual search for identity in modern society.

La Cité entre les Murs/Inner City
In a city hung between two endless walls, a boy with only pigeons for company tries to seduce his remote neighbor with wacky inventions.

Muybridge’s Strings
In this meditation on the nature of time, Koji Yamamura creates a poetic clash between two worlds, exploring the irrepressible human desire to freeze our fleeting moments of happiness. The filmmaker moves freely between the lives of photographer Eadweard Muybridge and a Japanese mother, observing their attempts to suspend the course of life. Part reminiscence and part daydream, Muybridge’s Strings is an offering of pure cinematic joy by one of contemporary
animation’s great masters.

Romance
While on an airplane, a traveler’s spirit plunges into a dream world. Here, under the influence of the unknown, the logic of his desires prevails and a grand romantic saga takes shape. Animated with pencil, pastels and acrylics, this animated film by Georges Schwizgebel is a dazzling transcription of a Rachmaninoff scherzo. Following the twists and turns of one of the composer’s sonatas, the film masterfully transports us through music and movement, erasing the boundary between desire and reality.

Wild Life
In 1909, a dapper young remittance man is sent from England to Alberta to attempt ranching. However, his affection for badminton, bird watching and liquor leaves him little time for wrangling cattle. It soon becomes clear that nothing in his refined upbringing has prepared him for the harsh conditions of the New World. This animated short is about the beauty of the prairie, the pang of being homesick, and the folly of living dangerously out of context.

Meanwhile, director Jean-Marc Vallée’s Café de Flore received 13 Genie nominations, and David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method received 11 nominations. Both films are nominated for Best Motion Picture and Achievement in Direction.

Rounding out the Best Motion Picture category are the award-winning Monsieur Lazhar, the suspenseful The Whistleblower and the crowd-pleaser Starbuck.

“2011 was a vintage year for Canadian films,” said Helga Stephenson, Interim CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. “Academy Members have a major challenge ahead of them.”

The 32nd Annual Genie Awards will be broadcast at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. Newfoundland Time) on Thursday, March 8 on CBC Television. Genie32 will be held at The Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto.

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