Monday, January 31, 2011

2011 NOMINATED SHORT: The Lost Thing

In the lead up to the 83rd Academy Awards on February 27th, we are taking a closer look at this year's nominees, all of which will be available to download from iTunes on February 22nd. Today, one of this year's Best Animated Short Film nominees, The Lost Thing.

Best Animated Short Film nominee, The Lost Thing

Directors/Writers: Andrew Ruhemann, Shaun Tan
Producer: Sophie Byrne

Cast: Tim Minchin

A boy discovers a bizarre looking creature while out collecting bottle tops at the beach. Realising it is lost, he tries to find out who owns it or where it belongs, but is met with indifference from everyone else, who barely notice its presence, each unwilling to entertain this uninvited interruption to their day to day lives. For reasons he does not explain, the boy empathises with the creature, and sets out to find a ‘place’ for it.

Production company Passion Pictures Australia was established in 2004 by award-winning animation producer Sophie Byrne and is an associate company of the Oscar-winning Passion Pictures (UK), one of Europe's leading independent production studios.

Andrew Ruhemann is the owner and executive producer of Passion Pictures, which he established in 1987 as a production company supplying animation and special effects. Previously he worked as a producer at the Richard Williams Studio, makers of the award winning animation for the feature film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

From its early beginnings Passion Pictures is now one of Europe’s leading independent film production companies representing over 30 leading directors from all over the world. The company is active in commercials and music video production, including the animated band Gorillaz. Recent credits include spectacular animated sequences for the launch of The Beatles: Rock Band game (Harmonix and MTV) and Compare the Market featuring Alexsandr the Russian meerkat was placed number one in the Top 10 Commercials of the Year (2009) in Campaign Magazine. The company has studios in London and Paris, and a new office in New York which opened in 2009.

Passion Pictures also has an award winning film and television department specializing in documentary, which Andrew runs with business partner John Battsek. Their first film the feature documentary One Day In September (dir: Kevin McDonald 2000) was the winner of an Academy Award in 2000. Since then they have produced many more award winning films and will premiere two new films at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010.

Andrew travels all over the world for the company searching for new talent and developing new markets for Passion Pictures’ work. The Lost Thing is Andrew’s directorial debut. The animated film which he has co-directed with Shaun Tan (who wrote and illustrated the book upon which the film is based) was produced by Passion Pictures Australia and in association with Screen Australia and will be released in 2010.

Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. In school he became known as the 'good drawer' which partly compensated for always being the shortest kid in every class. He graduated from the University of WA in 1995 with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature, and currently works full time as a freelance artist and author in Melbourne.

Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery. Books such as The Rabbits, The Red Tree, The Lost Thing and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival have been widely translated throughout Europe, Asia and South America, and enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, and worked as a concept artist for the films Horton Hears a Who and Pixar's WALL-E. He is currently directing a short film with Passion Pictures Australia; his most recently published book is Tales from Outer Suburbia.