Hey, what’s up itsashort.com fam! We hope your 2020 is off to a great start and you’re sticking to those resolutions.
One of our resolutions is to spotlight the kickass filmmakers on our awesome platform. Yay!
The first artist we are highlighting is critically-acclaimed, Chicago-born filmmaker Zanah Thirus, whose 2019 feature documentary “Black Feminist” was an official selection at the Bronze Lens Festival of Atlanta. But Zanah has been making moves in the film space for quite some time.
Five of her works are streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Also, her films have earned distinctions and awards at festivals the world over, including the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Film Festival, London Independent Film Awards, the German United Film Festival, and the Cinema Los Angeles Film Festival.
And did we forget to mention that Zanah was named one of the Top 10 Filmmakers of the Decade by Diversity in Cannes, an independent film movement promoting inclusion at the Cannes Film Festival?
In other words, Zanah Thirus is the ‘bidness’ — that’s right, we said ‘bidness’.
Want to see for yourself? Well, here’s your chance.
Join us on January 23 at 9 p.m. (EST)/6 p.m. (PST) to watch three of Zanah’s shorts at itsashort.com’s premier lounge. Immediately following the viewing, we will host a live stream Q&A with Zanah and her amazing cast and crew.
Zanah is going places and we’re ecstatic to be along for the ride!
How Shorts are Saving the 2020 Oscars
Some may say it’s déjà vu. Others may call it the same old song, on repeat. When the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences released its list of Oscar nominees this week, a familiar gripe came to light: the glaring lack of diversity among the nominees in the so-called major categories. It brings to mind an infamous hashtag that was associated with the event back in 2015.
For instance, no women were nominated in the “Best Director” category. This oversight occurred even though three of the year’s most critically acclaimed films were helmed by women (Greta Gerwig for “Little Women”), Lulu Wang for “The Farewell” and Lorene Scafaria for “Hustlers”).
What’s more, only one person of color received a nomination in either the Best Actor or Best Actress category (Cynthia Erivo in the movie “Harriet”).
However, there is one sub-section of Oscar-nominated films that annually produce a diverse and inclusive list of nominees: the short film categories. The year 2020 is no different. The three short film categories – best animated short, best live-action short, and best documentary short subject – include works that are gender and culture diverse.
Animated Short Film Nominees
This is especially true in the animated shorts category, which features three films directed by women and two of them (Sister and Dcera: Daughter) are student films. Earlier this month, we highlighted one Oscar-nominee from the animated short category in our itsashort.com newsletter, Matthew A. Cherry’s “Hair Love,” which is about a black father who does his daughter’s hair for the first time.
Best animated short film nominees:
Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver
Rosana Sullivan and Kathryn Hendrickson
Bruno Collet and Jean-François Le Corre
Documentary Short Film Nominees
The documentary short category also features an array of diverse works, including a film about children experiencing anxiety over being deported (“Life Overtakes Me”) and another about young Afghan girls who learn how to read, write and skateboard in their war-torn city of Kabul (“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl”). Another documentary short nominee is “St. Louis Superman,” which chronicles a black rapper and activist who got inspired to run for office after the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. “In the Absence,” which also garnered an Oscar nod, documents the sinking of a South Korean ferry, a harrowing event where hundreds of people, children especially, had perished.
Best documentary short subject nominees:
IN THE ABSENCE
Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam
LEARNING TO SKATEBOARD IN A WARZONE (IF YOU’RE A GIRL)
Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva
LIFE OVERTAKES ME
John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson
ST. LOUIS SUPERMAN
Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
WALK RUN CHA-CHA
Laura Nix and Colette Sandstedt
Live-Action Short Nominees
Women directors may have been shut out from the feature film category, but three of the five nominees in the “Best Live Action Short” category were women.
Best live-action short film nominees:
Meryam Joobeur and Maria Gracia Turgeon
NEFTA FOOTBALL CLUB
Yves Piat and Damien Megherbi
THE NEIGHBORS’ WINDOW
Bryan Buckley and Matt Lefebvre
For more information on these wonderful shorts, click here and visit the official Oscars page.