Tom Van Avermaet’s Death of a Shadow, starring Rust and Bone’s male lead Matthias Schoenaerts, has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (A.M.P.A.S.) announced the Oscar nominees this morning.

Death of a shadow

Following his critically acclaimed performances in Michaël R. Roskam’s Oscar-nominated Bullhead and Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone, Death of a Shadow sees Matthias Schoenaerts starring as Nathan Rijckx, a deceased World War I soldier, who is stuck in limbo between life and death. To earn a second chance at life and love, he has to capture the shadows of 10,000 dying men and women. But with just two shadows left to collect, he discovers something that shakes his world completely.

Sharing the principal roles with Schoenaerts are Laura Verlinden, Peter Van Den Eede and Benjamin Ramon. DOP is Stijn Van Der Veken, while Dieter Diependaele edited the film. Musician Raf Keunen, who also teamed up with Roskam for the soundtrack of Bullhead, composed Death of a Shadow’s original score. Digital Graphics, headed by Marc Umé, is responsible for the visual effects.

Death of a Shadow is director Tom Van Avermaet’s first short film since graduating from Brussels film school RITS. The film has so far been invited to 15 film festivals around the world including Ghent, Utrecht, St Louis and Vilnius, and has grabbed five awards at the LA Shorts Fest, the International Short Film Festival Leuven and the Valladolid International Film Festival, among others. The Valladolid award also earned the film a nomination for the European Film Awards 2013.

‘Being nominated for an Oscar has left me a bit speechless to be honest,’ says the young director about the nomination. ‘I’m enormously honoured and excited that the members of the Academy were able to appreciate my work. I was already very happy to be part of the shortlist, but to make it to the nomination stage is something that I’d never dared or hoped to dream of. I’m also extremely happy that all the hard work of the people that have worked tirelessly to create this film has been rewarded in this way.’ Producer Ellen De Waele adds, 'We were secretly hoping to get nominated, but to actually see it happen is just too good to be true. Exciting times lie ahead of us.'

Ellen De Waele of Serendipity Films (Epilogue, Grande Hotel) produced the film in co-production with Paris-based Perspective Films. Death of a Shadow was made possible with the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) through its VAF Wildcard competition.

The 85th Academy Awards ceremony will take place at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center on Sunday 24 February and will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Published on Thursday 10 January 2013

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