On a recent morning before dawn, two former Pixar animators, Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo, met up at their Berkeley studio to watch live as the nominees were announced for the 2015 Academy Awards. It was worth the 5 a.m. start, as their beautifully crafted short, The Dam Keeper, was indeed nominated for an Oscar. The 18-minute film tells the tale of a young pig encumbered with an important job, and how meeting a new classmate changes everything. Kondo and Tsutsumi have worked as art directors on Ice Age, Ratatouille, Monsters University and Toy Story 3. Berkeleyside caught up with Tsutsumi to learn more about their new film and about the two filmmakers who made the leap to go it alone a year ago this month.
It’s 342 miles between Berkeley and Hollywood, but on Oscar night, Sunday, Feb. 22, that distance will be shortened for those who flock to the live Academy Awards telecast at A Night in Berkeleywood at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza.
It’s time once again for me to thoroughly embarrass myself by incorrectly handicapping this year’s short subject Academy Awards, which open this Friday, Jan. 30 at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas. I think I have a perfect record over the last few years – let’s see if I ruin it by actually picking a winner for a change!
At age 13, Matthew Boger was banished from his mother’s Northern California home for being gay. To stay alive, the teenager prostituted himself on the streets of Hollywood, where, one night in 1980, he was brutally beaten up by a group of young skinhead neo-Nazis.