The last 12 months for Jesse Atlas‘ 11-minute short film, Record/Play, have been the dream for many-a-filmmaker. You make a short film; it gets lots of festival play; wins awards; gets the attention of a Hollywood studio executive or creative, who loves it so much (at least the idea of it) that they want to see it as a feature-length film; and finally, as I found out over the weekend, is one of 10 short films selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to advance in the Oscar race, in the Best Live-Action Short Film category!
A month ago, Universal Pictures subsidiary Focus Features inked a deal to adapt Record/Play, into feature film length, with Atlas attached to direct, and Chuck Roven (Man of Steel) producing.
It’s a film we first learned about a year ago, at the 2012 Urbanworld Film Festival (which was its USA premiere), where it won the award for Best Short film. I should know because I was part of the 4-person jury who gave it the award.
Mustafa Shakir and Deepti Gupta star in a minimalist drama/sci-fi/thriller, in which a malfunctioning cassette tape captures more than just audio. The film explores an intriguing idea that you probably won’t immediately, completely grasp in the teaser below, if you haven’t seen the full film.
But I won’t spoil it for you! Of course, you can always google it to spoil it for yourself if you’d like.
I’ll just say that I always appreciate filmmakers pushing for something beyond the usual, expected fare – especially when the starring characters are of color.
Of course, whether the feature adaptation will also have a black male lead and an Indian female lead, I can’t say. It would be nice, but, this is Hollywood, so I don’t expect that to happen. Although, as I said, it would be nice!
I call it minimalist because it features 2 key characters, in, as I recall, a couple of sparse locations, with virtually no dialogue, and some imagination on the part of the writer and director.
Despite its sci-fi bent, it’s really a love story – a tragic one. I had to watch it a couple of times to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The images, almost strictly, tell the story.
Jeb Brody will shepherd the project at Universal, along with Richard Suckle and Jake Kurily for Atlas Entertainment.
The short-list of 10 short films selected by the Academy to compete for the Best Live-Action Short Oscar follows below. Underneath, watch the teaser trailer for Record/Play:
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me) by Esteban Crespo
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything) by Xavier Legrand
Dva (Two) by Mickey Nedimovic
Helium by Anders Walter
Kush by Shubhashish Bhutiani
Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) by Selma Vilhunen
Record/Play by Jesse Atlas
Throat Song by Miranda de Pencier
Tiger Boy by Gabriele Mainetti
The Voorman Problem by Mark Gill