Just as reading a great short story can have an impact in a relatively few pages, short films also can entertain, inform and challenge us with limited running times. Most of our favorite filmmakers started their careers making short subjects. Which of this year’s Oscar™ nominated creators will be the makers of the next breakout independent film on their way to a studio blockbuster? You can watch and place your bets. And remember that this year the public has seen all nominated movies the same way most Academy members have been watching them for years—at home.
The 2021 Academy Awards are on Sunday, April 25. The nominated short films have been collected into three programs, Animation, Live Action and Documentary, and are now playing in select theaters and on Virtual Cinema. Trailers and more information can found here.
By C.J. Hirschfield
You may assume that the stars in this delectable new documentary feature are human; and some of them are. But when you experience an exhilarating dog’s eye-view of a hunt to find the rare and wondrous fungus and hear the excited snuffling sounds of success, you understand that there would be no truffle hunt without some very canny canines. Both they—and the aromatic white Alba truffles they hunt—are worth their weight in gold.
American director Philip Kaufman is hard to pin down: a visual stylist who is truly literate, a San Franciscan who often makes European films, he is an accessible storyteller with a sophisticated touch. Celebrated for his vigorous, sexy, and reflective cinema, Kaufman is best known for his masterpiece The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the astronaut saga The Right Stuff and an eclectic series of films including The Wanderers, Henry & June, The White Dawn and his remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager, the first man to break the sound barrier; on location with Phil Kaufman for The Right Stuff.
By Gary Meyer
For twenty years my office was in the Saul Zaentz Building in Berkeley. In addition to the movies Saul produced, there were award-winning documentary filmmakers plus post-production talent set in a wonderful environment there that resulted in high profile narrative filmmakers preferring to do their post-production at the facility rather than at the Hollywood studios. You might see a celebrity.
One day in early 2000 I was going to lunch with director Gus Van Sant. Landmark has been an early supporter of his work launching “Mala Noche” and “Drugstore Cowboy” when others were not interested. As the elevator door opened on the ground floor I looked out at the people waiting to get on and in my mind I could hear my bad impersonation, “Bond—James Bond.”
By Dennis Bartok
I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Olivia de Havilland, and it immediately brought to mind memories of a wonderful and unexpected afternoon I spent touring old Hollywood with her in June, 2002.
We did a random “Vintage Hollywood Valentines” Google search and came up with a treasure trove of images. And if you click on any given image it enlarges with several new images to the right.
Can you name the stars?
But we have gone further. If it is true that the way to a lover’s heart is through the stomach, check out some vintage food cards. Why stop there. We cover growing up, comics and animation and the really bizarre “Vinegar Valentines.”
Plus several renditions of the classic song, “My Funny Valentine” by Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak. Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and more.