From April 25 till May 2 three animated as well as three narrative shorts from Flanders are screening at the Newport Beach Film Festival in California. Marc James Roels and Emma De Swaef’s Oh Willy…, Little Ryan by Aad Verstraelen and Hisko Hulsing’s Junkyard, a co-production with Flanders, are in the running for Best Animated Short. The live action short films Dura Lex by Anke Blondé, Death of a Shadow by Tom Van Avermaet and Anthony Schatteman’s Kiss Me Softly were also added to the fest’s official line-up.

Aad Verstraelen's Little RyanScreening in the animation category is Marc James Roels and Emma De Swaef’s much appraised stop motion short Oh Willy… Fifty-something Willy returns to the naturist community where he grew up to visit his dying mother. After her death he flees into the forest in confused sadness where he finds the motherly protection of a big gentle hairy beast.

Also selected for Newport Beach is Aad Verstraelen’s Little Ryan. A MAD-faculty graduate, his four-minute animation short about a young bird with a limitless admiration for airplanes already earned him a VAF Wildcard. The short previously screened at Brussels’ Anima festival.

In Junkyard, a short film co-produced with Flanders, a man is being robbed and stabbed by a junkie. In the last seconds before he dies, a youth friendship flashes before his eyes. The film won Best Independent Animation Short at the latest edition of Ottawa International Animation Festival.

Competing for Best Narrative short is Anthony Schatteman’s graduation project Kiss Me Softly, which previously won the Humo Award at the Leuven Short Film Fest. 17-year-old Jasper cannot be himself. His dad is a singer and all the attention in the family goes to his career. Jasper searches for a way to handle this and is faced with the typical questions in the life of an adolescent.

Tom Van Avermaet’s Death of a Shadow is also competing for the Best Narrative Short Award. The Oscar-nominated short film tells the story of a deceased soldier who gathers shadows of dying men and women to buy back his own second chance at life. But with only two shadows left to collect, something happens that will turn his world upside down.

Third live action competitor is Anke Blondé’s Dura Lex, a festival favourite about Kristi, a single mother, who receives a visit from the police. They’re looking for an illegal Albanese refugee. When they start to interrogate Kristi, she finds herself faced with a difficult decision.

Ellen De Waele of Serendipity Films (Epilogue, Grande Hotel) produced Death of a Shadow in co-production with Paris-based Perspective Films. Dura Lex is a production of Dirk Impens for local powerhouse Menuet (The Broken Circle Breakdown). CinéTé co-produced Junkyard together with Il Luster Productions from The Netherlands. Oh Willy… is a Belgian-French-Dutch co-production; Flemish producers are Ben Tesseur and Steven De Beul for Beast Animation. All above films were made possible with the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege. Anthony Schatteman graduated from the KASK School of Arts with his short Kiss Me Softly, while Little Ryan is a graduation project from MAD-faculty.

Published on Monday 8 April 2013

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