Ang Kalatas January 2016 - Page 11

THE MESSAGE. BRINGING INTO FOCUS FILIPINO PRESENCE IN AUSTRALIA | Volume 6 Number 4 | JANUARY 2016 ENTERTAINMENT Robertino with co-director Melissa Johnson Robertino on the Oscars shortlist: ‘Nothing more than a fantasy…’ Now it gets serious. What started as a project for YouTube lands in the shortlist for the Short Animation category of the 88th Academy Awards. By Titus Filio Robertino Zambrano is starting the year with a bang. More than enjoying lighting up fireworks in their ancestral home in Malabon, the young Fil-Aussie director is in the limelight. Just before 2015 ended, he had received the big news to surprise him: his collaborative project 'Love in the Time of March Madness' has made it to the shortlist in the Academy Awards. Being in the shortlist means he's getting close to a nomination. His is one of just ten animated films chosen from a field of 60 qualifiers, a field that qualified from thousands of entries from around the world. It's no joke to have one's name and work published in an Oscars shortlist. "I didn't believe it at first. When I realised the news was real, the excitement was unbearable, and it kept me and my co-director Melissa Johnson buzzing for a few weeks," Robertino told Ang Kalatas via email just after an all-night party with friends and relatives in their ancestral home in Malabon. "This film was truly a 'homebrew' project. So the idea of getting shortlisted was nothing more than a fantasy." Narrated (and co-produced and codirected) by the USA's Melissa Johnson, 'Love in the time of March Madness' is a 9-minute animated short film based on Melissa's own life story. It was written by Melissa and draws from her unique and unusual life vantage point as a tall woman on the dating scene. After hitting 6'4" in the 8th grade and becoming a college basketball star, the film follows her hilarious and awkward misadventures in romance as she dates shorter men and gets cheered or jeered wherever she goes. Powerful storytelling and narration is brought to life by Australian animators KAPWA Studioworks which used a combination of traditional 2D animation techniques, hand generated textures and digital 2D and 3D animation techniques. The result is a stunning frame-by-frame oil paint-like technique giving the short an amazing hand-made look and feel. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Robertino revealed that "Love in the Time…" was supposed to be a six-month YouTube project. But "a few months into the development stages, I said to Melissa, 'Let's just have a crack at doing this properly,'" he said. The six-month project turned into a three-year project and getting the honour to be screened in over a dozen major international film festivals. The Oscars shortlist is the latest in a long list of awards and accolades for the short film. These include: Tribeca Film Festival (Best Online Short Film), Abu Dhabi Film Festival (Winner, Best Short Documentary), Sydney Underground Film Festival (Winner, Audience Choice Award), among others. Blazing with honesty and dark humour, LOVE IN THE TIME OF MARCH MADNESS is a 'tall short' – a true story that dips into Melissa's thoughts and memories and is all about embracing difference. Melissa Johnson describes it best when she says: "After all, we don't see other people the way that they are, we see them the way that we are." Melissa Johnson is a writer and filmmaker living in Venice, California. known for 'Brittney Griner: LIFESIZE' a documentary currently airing on ESPN. Robertino was born in the Philippines. He studied design at the University of Technology in Sydney and soon focused on animation. His family grew up in Malabon. His father originally hails from Ilocos Norte while his mother (Martinez) is originally from Romblon. He was in the Philippines during the holidays to take time off a very busy year travelling around Cebu, and up north in the Mountain Province. He also spent time in Manila to link with the Filipino film community. Looking to a great year ahead, the big date to wait for Robertino is January 14 when the Academy Awards an- nounces the five official nominees. For Robertino, he said that landing in the shortlist was al &VG