Could Super Deluxe win an Oscar posthumously?
TBS on Friday released modern-day silent film short “The Passage” on its website and YouTube channel. The film comes from Turner’s Super Deluxe studio, which the WarnerMedia-owned programmer shut down last month.
“The Passage” was created by and stars theatrical clown Philip Burgers. The 22-minute film follows Phil, a “sweetly mysterious and childlike wanderer,” traveling across a surreal multicultural landscape to escape the clutches of two bumbling pursuers.
“The Passage” is available free to watch on TBS.com at this link and on YouTube at this link, and is slated to be available to purchase on Apple’s iTunes. It’s also on the FilmStruck movie-streaming service for fan buffs — but only through Nov. 29, when the Turner/Warner Bros. Digital Networks service will cease operations.
Super Deluxe had been positioning “The Passage” as an Oscar contender. The short premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Among other laurels, it won best short fiction at the L.A. Film Festival and best comedy at Aspen Shortsfest, which are both Oscar-qualifying film fests, as well as the grand jury prize at the Nashville Film Festival.
In “The Passage,” Burgers — an alumnus of French clown school Ecole Philippe Gaulier — never speaks. Although the people around him speak, they do so in foreign languages and, purposefully, the film provides no subtitles. “The Passage” was developed at Super Deluxe and produced by Abso Lutely Productions. It is directed by Kitao Sakurai (“The Eric Andre Show”).
“I hope that the spirit within the film – that sense of humanity, joy and playfulness that connects all of us regardless of our culture, race, or language – can keep on resonating. It’s a message that feels especially important in these times,” Sakurai said in a statement.