Film fest offers five shorts that won or vied for Oscar

Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2001

Five short films that were nominated for or won Academy Awards will be shown at the Nickelodeon Theater this weekend.

The 2000-01 Summer Film Festival is a new addition to the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council's programming. Usually the organization does not schedule events during the summer, but that policy could change if the festival is successful, said Sybil Davis, JAHC executive director.

"If people really like it, we can do it in the summer annually," Davis said. "I just thought that we'd give it a try."

Davis had wanted to show "Old Man and the Sea," an animated short film that won the 2000 Academy Award, for some time. But at 22 minutes, it was too brief to base a program on.

Then Dave Hunsaker, a local artist and screenwriter, told her about a film festival of shorts he saw in Santa Monica, Calif. Davis decided to bring those films up to pad the program.

"This whole program was highly recommended by Dave," Davis said. "We really appreciate hearing from local residents things that they feel Juneau would appreciate and benefit from, and we really do respond to requests and suggestions from local residents."

Responding did take some time. In addition to "Old Man and the Sea," the program includes 2001 winner "Father and Daughter," 2001 nominees "The Periwig Maker" and "Seraglio," and "Quiero Ser," winner of an Honorary Foreign Film Award at the 2001 Student Academy Awards.

Each of the five films has a different distributor, and tracking them down was a complicated process.

"It was fun," Davis said. "It was like a scavenger hunt and I was determined. ... It just took a lot of phone calls and e-mails and pleading."

The films cover an array of genres and subjects. Three - "Old Man," "Father and Daughter" and "Periwig" - are animated. The 29,000 hand-painted frames of "Old Man and the Sea" tell the story of an old fisherman's battle with a giant marlin. In "Father and Daughter," years pass as a girl waits for her father to return, and in "Periwig," a man becomes fascinated with a red-haired child in plague-infested London.

"Quiero Ser" and "Seraglio" are live-action films dealing with - respectively - orphans on the streets of Mexico City and a housewife's quest for love.

Hunsaker saw most of the films and found "Father and Daughter" especially appealing.

"It's done without a single word," he said. "It's all in these really charming little sepia drawings. It's just really simple and really beautiful."

The film festival may inspire local filmmakers to enter an upcoming short-film competition in Haines, Davis said.

"Hopefully these short films and animations will spur people into thinking about their own creations," Davis said. "People who love film might consider possibly trying to make one."

The Nickelodeon Theater is in the Emporium Mall downtown. The films will be shown at 7 and 9 p.m. Friday, at 2, 4, 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, and at 2, 4 and 7 p.m. Sunday. Regular and advance tickets can be purchased at the door; the cost is $7 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. Donations will be accepted.

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