Short films can now qualify for oscars through imagineNATIVE

Live action shorts that win a prize at Toronto’s imagineNative Film and Media Arts Festival have a chance at earning Oscar consideration.

Organizers say the Toronto-based festival has been delegated as a qualifying festival for the “best live action” short category.

“We’re now an Oscar-qualifying Festival! imagineNATIVE is the first and only indigenous film festival in the world that is The Academy Award qualifying! Live action shorts that win a prize at our Festival can now seek Oscar consideration,” wrote imagineNATIVE to Twitter.

This means that any film that wins the Cynthia Lickers-Sage Award for Best Short Work can apply for an Oscar nomination in the best live action short category at the Oscars, with compliance to other rules by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Last year, Amanda Strong’s mesmerizing stop motion short Biidaaban (The Dawn Comes) screened at TIFF as part of Canada’s Top Ten Shorts Programme 2. The film also screened as part of the Terra-Firming Shorts program at the 2018 TIFF Festival and won the Cynthia Lickers-Sage award for Best Short Work at the Festival.

The best short winner at this year’s ImagineNative festival, which wrapped Sunday, was the Hawaiian drama “Moloka’i Bound” by Alika Maikau.

The film is eight minutes and covers the path of a wayward young man, recently released from prison, struggles to reconnect with his son and Hawaiian heritage.

Alika Maikau (Kanaka Maoli) is a working filmmaker based out of Honolulu, Hawai’i with a degree in Creative Media from the University of Hawai’i Mānoa. Maikau focuses on telling stories about the Hawai’i diaspora as authentically as possible. In 2017, he was invited to the ‘Ohina Filmmakers Lab and mentorship under Joe Robert Cole (Black Panther) to oversee his script Mauka To Makai through completion.

To be eligible for Oscar consideration, short films must either have a theatrical release or win a qualifying award at a specified film festival.

Other Canadian festivals with Oscar-qualifying status include the Calgary International Film Festival, the Edmonton International Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema.

“This recognition is the outcome of many people who share a passion for Indigenous-made short films, and who continuously strive to provide opportunities for Indigenous filmmakers,” said imagineNative’s Executive Director Jason Ryle, in a statement on Thursday.

“The coming decade will be one of profound growth for the Indigenous screen sector internationally, and this announcement is another significant step towards broadening the appreciation of Indigenous films and expanding the opportunities for the talented individuals who create them.”

The most recognized trophy in the world, the Oscar statuette has stood on the mantels of the greatest filmmakers in history since 1929.

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