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BLOG: Head Over Heals at the Oscars

  • Tim Reckert, Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly

Tim Reckert and Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly

March 2013

With support from the British Council Travel Grant Fund, run in partnership with the BFI, producer Producer Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly visited the 85th Academy Awards where her National Film & Television School short was nominated for Best Animated Short Film. She blogs on her Oscar 'whirlwind' here:

"For the Head Over Heels team February was a whirlwind of screenings, Hollywood Studio visits and award shows. What a crazy but exciting month it has been.

Timothy Reckart - the film's director - and I started the month with a tour of all the major animation studios in California. We shared the experience of making our film with them and they gave us an introduction as to how they work. We met with likes of Pixar, Paramount, DreamWorks and Disney. It was such a surreal feeling walking through their doors and meeting the creators behind some of our favourite films. We were especially excited to bump into Pete Docter (the director of UP) and Henry Selick (the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas). What wonderful and inspiring filmmakers they are.

Along with meeting these great heroes, we were also able to hang out with our fellow animation nominees before the Oscar ceremony. It was such a pleasure getting to know John Kahrs (director, Paperman), David Silverman (director, Maggie Simpson), Minkyu Lee (director, Adam and Dog) and Pes (director, Guacamole). We learnt a lot from them. For example, John’s film Paperman blends traditional animation and computer animation. A new technique in the world of animation and one Disney will be exploring more in their future productions.

One of the highlights for me was a tour of Disney’s Animation Research Library, known as the ARL. The ARL houses over 65 million pieces of original production artwork, from pencil sketches on napkins to painted glass panels used in the giant two-story multi-plane cameras. Everything animation art-related that can be found is brought here for cataloging, digitizing, databasing, storing and in some cases, restoring. Our host showed us watercolours, pencil drawn character designs, storyboards, rough animation drawings, and concept art from films like Snow White, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast and Lady and the Tramp. But Tim and I have a true love for stop-motion animation and we were incredibly excited to see the original puppets from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

We rounded up our studio tour with the annual Animation World Network Pre-Oscar Party, hosted by its President Ron Diamond. But the main event was yet to come. That of course was the Oscars. Luckily, 6 of our team members were able to join us at the ceremony. We unfortunately did not win that coveted Oscar (huge congrats to Paperman) but we were so proud to be there to represent all the hard work and talent of everyone involved in the film. Tim said that he was also proud to follow in the footsteps of one of his heroes, Nick Park, who was also a student at the National Film & Television School and whose graduation film A Grand Day Out featuring Wallace & Gromit was also nominated for an Oscar in 1989.

"It has been amazing and humbling to be here tonight especially when competing against such highly esteemed talent at Disney and Fox studios. It is such an honour to be walking in the footsteps of one of my heroes Nick Park. I’m proud to be part of stop motion animation’s incredible 115 year old cinema history and to be an NFTS graduate.” "

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