Belarusian short film Tufelki aiming for Oscar
11:18, — Culture
The film Tufelki uses an unusual cinema language as the viewers can see only the protagonists’ legs.
The short film Tufelki [Shoes] dedicated to the Holocaust victims, by director Konstantin Fam, has left behind the qualifying round of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and will continue competing for the Oscar nomination in the short film category, BelTA learnt from the press service of the picture.
This is an unprecedented event in the history of the Belarusian film-making industry, said co-producer from the Belarusian side Yuri Igrusha. The long list of short films will be unveiled in mid-January 2014. After this only five contenders will enter the final. The Academy Awards ceremony will be held in Los Angeles as usual, with this year’s ceremony scheduled for 2 March.
“Oscar is one of the most prestigious cinema awards in the world. One of the reasons for its popularity, apart from world stars and tabloids, is a system of rules which prevents corruption and direct lobbying. The Academy imposes strict requirements on the selection of films, which includes a qualification, a long list, a short list and a nomination. To make it through the qualification is a great victory by itself. We have gone through a very difficult procedure connected with the fulfillment of technical requirements, qualifying distribution of films in the USA, which was held in the famous international cinema chain Landmark, and submitted our application just before the deadline, on 1 October,” said co-producer of the project from the American side Igor Lopatyonok.
The film Tufelki uses an unusual cinema language as the viewers can see only the protagonists’ legs. Director Konstantin Fam tells the story of a pair of women’s shoes which begins on the shop window and ends in the grave of the Auschwitz prisoners. The director explains such a way of interaction with the viewers only by ideological reasons.
The picture contains no dialogues at all. The entire movie is accompanied by the symphonic music written by Moscow Conservatory graduate Yegor Romanenko. The young composer had a difficult task of creating the musical atmosphere which would make dialogues unnecessary.
All in all, the film Tufelki has won or taken part in over 30 international cinema festivals. The film has been invited to make part of the collection of Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial, on a par with works by Steven Spielberg, Roman Polanski and Roberto Benigni. The film is now set to be screened in Nurnberg, accompanied by a symphony orchestra. There is a reason why Nurnberg’s Luitpoldhain arena has been chosen for the screening. On 15 September 1935 Adolf Hitler held a speech here in which he enunciated the racial principles of the Third Reich. The film makers are also holding negotiations with Germany’s departments for education and human rights with the aim of including the film Tufelki in the school curriculum.
Tufelki is the short story which is part of the cinema almanac Svideteli [Witnesses]. Two other stories, Brut and Skripka [Violin], continue the theme of the catastrophe of the Jewish people and also use metaphorical language. The project has received support from the Belarusian Culture Ministry, the Youth Center of the Union of Cinematographers of the Russian Federation and producers from the USA and Israel.
According to the producers, the project Svideteli will feature world stars. Work to create the English version of the scenario is nearing completion. The leading actors will then get this scenario. Agreements with creative and technical crews have already been reached. Three winners of the Oscar and Golden Globe awards currently take part in the project.