“Bear Story”: Latin America’s first Oscar nominated short film

The animation, produced by Punkrobot Studio, arrives at the Academy’s ceremony acclaimed by specialized critics and awarded at renowned international festivals, both for its technical and artistic quality , as for the emotionality of the story.

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The Chilean film, directed by Gabriel Osorio and written by Daniel Castro, tells the story of a bear that was suddenly kidnapped and separated from his family to join a circus. Living with the disturbing uncertainty of not knowing the fate of his loved ones, he is forced by his captors to work in the circus.

While the drama presented in this ten-minute short film falls within the realm of fiction, the origin of the story has a very strong historical background: it is based on the Chilean military dictatorship and was inspired by the exile of the director’s grandfather.

“I was inspired by my family history that has to do with the exile of my grandfather. He spent two years in prison after the military coup and then was exiled in 1975. I grew up without knowing my grandfather and that gives me a starting point, an inspiration to address the issue of what happens when a family is separated, which is what this short film is about”, says Gabriel Osorio, director of the film.

International success

“Bear Story” arrives in good standing at the Oscar awards. Since its premiere at the Annecy Festival in June 2014, the short film has been awarded in various countries: At the Animamundi Festival in Brazil won the “Best Children’s Short Film” and “Best Art Direction” categories; at the Alucine Latin Film & Media Arts Festival in Canada it received the award for “Best Animation”; at the International Festival in Cleveland it was crowned as “Best Animated Short Film”; and recently it won both the popular vote and the jury’s at the Short List Film Festival, organized by The Wrap magazine.

But far from being satisfied with these awards, “Bear Story” filmmakers are working hard to make their work known globally. That’s why on February 14th, two weeks before the Academy’s ceremony, they will travel to Los Angeles, where they will perform various promotional activities.

A historical year for Latin American animated cinema

In addition to the worldwide recognition it has received, “Bear Story” marks a milestone in the history of Latin American cinema as the first animated short film to receive an Academy Award nomination.

Osorio highlighted how beneficial this will be for Chilean film animation: “This certainly sets a precedent for what might happen later with the development of the industry. We are very proud to be part of the growth of the animation industry in Chile, considering that it may be consolidated and become sustainable”.

All these developments have strengthened the work of Chileans in the film industry, to such an extent that the producer has reached an agreement with Cinecolor for “Bear Story” to be displayed in Chilean cinemas as a prelude to “Zootopia”, an animated Disney film. This will be the film’s official premiere in its country of origin, where it will be screened from February 18th.

Among Latin American countries, not only Chile makes its way into the world of animation. Another film competing for the statuette is “The child and the world”, a Brazilian film nominated for ‘Best Animated Film‘, thus closing a great year for animation films in Latin America.

“Bear Story” was produced by Punkrobot Studio, conducted with the support of the National Council for Culture and Arts, Las Américas University and the Economic Development Agency of the Chilean Government (CORFO).

Source: National Council for Culture and Arts

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