Academy Award of Merit

Following the conclusion of our 20th, and most successful festival yet, Raindance is pleased to announce the nominations of 3 films from this past years festival in the upcoming, 85th Annual Academy Awards.  Recognized for their achievements in both the Short Film Live Action and Animated categories, the directors and producers of Buzkashi Boys (the Film of the Festival-Short), Head Over Heels and Asad have all been rewarded with their first Oscar nominations.  Thanks to the great success of these films, the bar has been set high, and we expect nothing less from here on out (kidding).  For now, it’s important that you read up on these projects if you haven’t already and find out what makes them so special.


Buzkashi Boys

Nominated for Short Film (Live Action) – Afghanistan
Director: Sam French
Writer: Sam French, Martin Roe
Director of Photography: Duraid Munajim
Producer: Ariel Nasr
Raindance page



Synopsis: Set against the dramatic landscape of contemporary Afghanistan and the National sport of Buzkashi – a brutal game of horse polo played with a dead goat – “Buzkashi Boys” is a ground-breaking narrative film about two best friends, a charismatic street urchin and a defiant blacksmith’s son, who strive to realize their dreams as they make their way to manhood in one of the most war-torn countries on Earth. Shot entirely on location in Kabul by an alliance of Afghan and international filmmakers, “Buzkashi Boys” is a heart-rending look at the life that continues beyond the headlines of war in Afghanistan. (synopsis taken from the official Buzkashi Boys website)

These are the first Academy Award nominations for Sam French and Ariel Nasr.

Earning this past festival’s “Film of the Festival (Short)” honours – which got it on the Oscar list – Buzkashi Boys has also tallied up 17 other awards at numerous festivals.  Notable critics such as Roger Ebert have gone on to praise the film and deem it a strong contender for the Oscar.

“That quality of endurance shines brightly in this year’s strongest nominee, the Afghanistan drama “Buzkashi Boys” (29:42), an international collaboration (director Sam French is American) and one of the first narrative films shot amidst the war-torn ruins of Kabul.”

 –Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

In addition to the award praise, the film has also gained great respect for its collaboration with the Afghan Film Project.  The non-profit organization focuses on Afghan stories and the bettering of the Afghan film industry.  The making of the film provided young, aspiring filmmakers from the area the opportunity to collaborate with international professionals during the project’s production.  In turn, the film was produced through the organization while providing strong mentor-trainee bonds.  The end result…loads of awards already and possibly more to come.

You can read more about Buzkashi Boys on the film’s official website and get the full story.


Head Over Heels

Nominated for Short Film (Animated) – UK
Director: Timothy Reckart
Writer: Timothy Reckart
Director of Photography: Chloe Thomson
Producer: Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly
Raindance page




Synopsis: After many years of marriage, Walter and Madge have grown apart: he lives on the floor and she lives on the ceiling. When Walter tries to reignite their old romance, their equilibrium comes crashing down, and the couple that can’t agree which way is up must find a way put their marriage back together. (synopsis taken from IMDb)

These are the first Academy Award nominations for Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly.

Gaining the support of the respected “Wallace and Gromit” creator, Nick Park, among various others, Park considers the movie to be “one of those stand-out little gems that doesn’t come around that often”.  Working with a tiny budget and a team of students from the National Film and Television School, director, Timothy Reckart, built his stop-motion short on a simple idea, only to find himself months later huddled around his laptop awaiting a potential Oscar bid.  He’s quoted on the Academy Award website stating his doubts and disbelief on the nomination; “I had spent so much energy preparing for disappointment that I was kind of caught off-guard.”  Well, just months after Raindance, Reckart and his team now find themselves up against 4 others, vying for the Animated Short Oscar.

To learn more about the film, you can visit the 85th Academy Awards webpage, IMDb it, or visit their facebook page.



Nominated for Short Film (Live Action) – USA/South Africa
Director: Bryan Buckley
Writer: Bryan Buckley
Director of Photography: Scott Henriksen
Producer: Mino Jarjoura
Raindance page



Synopsis: A boy from a poor Somalia village must decide between piracy and life as a fisherman. (synopsis taken from the 85th Annual Academy Awards website)

These are the first Academy Award nominations for Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura. (I’m starting to see a pattern…)

Writer and director, Bryan Buckley, started his career in 1994 as a co-director of the “This is Sportscenter” marketing and advertising ploy.  The campaign was recognized and rewarded at the Emmys.  Since then, Buckley spent 2000-2010 directing Superbowl ads, earning himself the title as the “King of the Superbowl” by the New York Times.  Deciding to take a step outside of the commercial realm, Buckley took a stab at a larger project through his creation of Asad; the end result, 12 awards over the course of 2012 and an Oscar nomination.  Not too shabby.

Buckley produced the project in South Africa, collaborating with producer Mino Jarjoura.  The film’s cast is composed of all non-professional, Somalian refugees all whom live in South Africa.  Although the story is set in Somalia, the country’s lacking of laws and structure required for it to be made in South Africa.

Visit IMDb, the 85th Annual Academy Awards webpage or head to Facebook to find out more.