The winner of the Jury Award for Best Short at the 2011 Stony Brook Film Festival, Time Freak, is in contention for the same award at the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday, February 26.
It’s a comedy about a neurotic inventor who builds a time machine and gets caught up traveling around yesterday.
“The Academy Award Nomination feels amazing,” said Andrew Bowler, director of the short. “It’s not something we thought possible when we started this process, so it’s just unreal to now be in this position.”
The nominations were announced online on January 24, after which Bowler and the producer, Gigi Causey, turned on their cameras and filmed themselves as they read the list, bursting out in excitement as they saw Time Freak’s nomination.
“I hope he wins,” said Alan Inkles, Director of the Staller Center and founder of the Stony Brook Film Festival. “It’s one of the better short films we’ve shown in the 17 years.”
This is not the first time a short film that won at the Stony Brook Film Festival has been nominated for an Oscar. West Bank Story, which won the grand prize at Stony Brook in 2005, went on to win the Best Live Action Short award at the 79th Academy Awards.
The festival, now in its 17th year, has been growing steadily in both size and fame, gaining a reputation for “treating filmmakers so well,” according to Bowler.
“It’s like a mini-Sundance here,” said Inkles.
Bowler said he was very happy that he got the opportunity to screen the film at the Stony Brook Film Festival, although he was unable to attend. In his stead, the lead actor, Michael Nathanson, attended the festival.
“He called me after to say what a great crowd there was and how the huge theater was packed full of people who all seemed to really respond to the film,” Bowler said. “Days later I found out we had won the Jury Award for Best Short film and that the festival was going to fly me out to accept in person.”
“We were more than halfway through our festival run at that point,” he continued, “so I remember accepting that award and thinking to myself, ‘This may be the best moment in the run of Time Freak so enjoy it.’”
The filmmakers have remained energetic throughout Time Freak’s run.
“We’ve been bouncing off the walls with excitement ever since the nominations were announced,” Bowler said. “Gigi and I still look at each other every now and then and shake our heads in disbelief. The whole thing still doesn’t feel real.”