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Film Still/ Shame
Film Still/ Shame

LA Shorts 2016: What To Expect

Picture of Mary Pettas
Updated: 1 September 2016
The L.A. Shorts Fest is a celebration of short films produced internationally. It is one of the largest and most recognized awards shows for short films in the world – and an important industry standard all on its on – often determining which films will be nominated for the Oscars the following year. To receive an award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a film needs to be recognized in pre-qualification categories that are certified by the Academy. To be clear, short films are defined as under 25 minutes and long shorts are under 45 minutes long.

As a sort of ‘playoffs’ for the Oscars, the L.A. shorts are doubly significant – in addition to the achievement of an LA shorts award, winning one at this festival makes recipients eligible to be nominated for an Academy award as well as a BAFTA award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. A reported 47 L.A. Shorts Fest winners went on to earn nominations, with 15 of them taking home the bronze statue for their category—in short, this festival is an unparalleled platform for success in the short film world.

Directors who have participated in the past include numerous decorated filmmakers and actors including Tim Burton, David Lynch, Scarlet Johansson, Hilary Swank, Courteney Cox and many others. This year, there are also many big names whose work will appear in the festival. Perhaps the most highly anticipated is Shame, featuring Tyrese Gibson and Grammy and Academy Award Winner Jennifer Hudson, who starred in Dreamgirls. This upcoming short film, produced by Denzel Washington, follows a soul singer who is struggling with addiction.

Another highlight to look forward to will be the only 15-minute-long drama entry entitled One Last Dance, featuring two-time Tony Award Winner Jonathan Pryce. Somehow in under a quarter of an hour this film promises to deliver a tale of three generations of loves lost.

On the heavier side are a few documentaries. Munich ’72 and Beyond is a 30 minute documentary following the terrorism at the summer Olympics in Munich in 1972, when 11 Israeli athletes were kidnapped. Written and directed by Stephen Crisman, the film explores the links between this shocking event in history and the political climate of today.

In another impossible feat of abridgment, Academy Award-nominated director Dan Krauss created a documentary called The Kill Team, focused on the medical field and the difficult decisions that doctors and loved ones must cope with when dealt an impossible hand. He somehow manages to condense these life-or-death conundrums into a 24-minute film that promises to put a spotlight on the ethical dilemnas of modern medicine. It will simultaneously premiere on Netflix in September as well.

All these acclaimed short films and many others will appear at the festival, which takes place from September 1st-8th at L.A. Live downtown.