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Academy Sets Sitges as Short Film Qualifying Festival

Recognition part of an international drive by Sitges, Europe’s premier fantastic film event

MADRID – The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences has recognized Spain’s Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia as a qualifying festival for short film Oscar submission.

With the recognition, the best short film in Sitges’ Official Fantastic Competition and Sitges’ best animation short are eligible for submission to the Academy. That gains them consideration by the reviewing committee of the Academy’s Short Films and Feature Animation Branch, which selects entries that are then screened by the Branch Nominating Committee.

Winners at Sitges’ latest edition, which ran Oct. 11-20, so qualifying the kudos-takers for the 2015 Academy Awards, were Josh Tanner’s “The Landing” and toon short “Dog Skin,” from France’s Nicholas Jacquet.

An Australian sci-fi thriller set in the American Midwest that shuttles between present and a Cold War past, “The Landing” centers on a middle-aged man who returns to the farm of his childhood to dig up the thing that landed there 50 years before. Henry Nixon (“The Pacific”) plays his father.

Set in a sinister city during some form of global food shortage, the black-and-white cut-out animation short “Dog Skin” is co-financed by Arte France and backed by Gaul’s CNC film board.

Helmed by Jacquet, an alum of Paris’ prestigious Gobelins arts-media school, narrates the desperate attempts of a dog to find food as he transforms into a man, acquiring the status of a hounded illegal immigrant.

“Landing” and “Skin” will now join a long list of other potential Oscar shorts candidates for 2015. The Academy’s short film qualifying festivals list for 2014’s 86th annual Academy Awards already details 142 kudos given by six awards orgs and 70 festivals, outside the U.S., which qualify their winners for Oscar short film eligibility.

No matter: the Academy’s Sitges recognition forms part of a strategic plan by the festival, Europe’s biggest genre movie event that’s worshiped and attended by fanboys worldwide from Guillermo del Toro to Eli Roth and Elijah Wood and boasts a vibrant local fantastic film scene to strengthen its international reach and prestige as genre gains ever more respect and genre pic production spreads to every corner of the globe.

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