Portuguese short film nominated for 2023 Oscars

Historic: Portuguese short film nominated for 2023 Oscars

Ice Merchants makes history as first Portuguese film nominated for Academy Awards

Portuguese short film ‘Ice Merchants’ made history on Tuesday as the first Portuguese production to be nominated for the Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars.

The short, directed by João González, is nominated for Best Animated Short Film, alongside ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’, directed by Charlie Mackesy and Matthew Freud; ‘The Flying Sailor’, directed by Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby; ‘My Year of Dicks’, by Sara Gunnarsdóttir; and ‘An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It’ by Lachlan Pendragon.

“We are all very happy, it is a surreal moment which will take some time to process,” director João González told Jornal de Notícias after the nomination was official.

He said the short film began as a school project when he was attending the Royal College of Art in London which he was able to bring to life with the help of an “amazing crew.”

Speaking to CNN Portugal, the 26-year-old filmmaker admitted that he has “no idea” what he will say if his films wins an Oscar.

“For us, it is great to simple be nominated,” he said.

‘Ice Merchants’ is the third film by João Gonzalez and was produced in Portugal by Bruno Caetano, for Cola Animation, and co-produced in France and the United Kingdom.

The film has no dialogue and begins with the image of a house on a mountain, leaning over a precipice.

From there, the director develops the story of a father and son who produce ice in the “inhospitable” house where they live, and from where they jump every day by parachute to sell it in the village, at the foot of the mountain.

João Gonzalez is responsible for the direction and soundtrack of the film and shared animation duties, in 2D, with Ala Nunu.

The short film also had an award-winning 2022 premiere at Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

According to the Short Film Agency, João Gonzalez’s film has been screened at more than 100 film festivals, won 44 awards and has been seen by 8,425 viewers.

The 95th Academy Awards show is scheduled for March 12.

Two other Portuguese shorts were also short-listed but did not make the final nominees list: ‘O Homem do Lixo” (The Rubbish Man), directed by Laura Gonçalves, which was also in the running to be nominated for Best Animated Short; and ‘O Lobo Solitário” (The Lone Wolf), directed by Filipe Melo, which was hoping to receive the nomination nod for Best Short Film.

Where to see Ice Merchants?

This is a question that there is still no easy answer for.

The Agency of Short Films (Agência da Curta-Metragem) says it is studying the “best model and option” to screen the movie before the Oscars.

“This is all very recent and we are trying as quickly as possible (to decide) which is the best way to show the movie, but we will,” the agency told Lusa news agency.

By Michael Bruxo

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