Los Angeles – Director Timothy Reckart’s Oscar-nominated animated short film, Head Over Heels , won a 2013 Annie Award on Saturday, February 2, at the 40th Annual Annie Awards—internationally recognized as the most prestigious animation awards in the world—in Los Angeles, CA. 26-year old Reckart is a student at the UK’s world-renowned National Film And Television School (NFTS), which is continuing to uphold its track record of producing animation projects that garner Oscar recognition. The school has also turned out successful graduates, including the Oscar-winning Nick Park (Aardman Animations).
Nick Park, who created his famous “Wallace and Gromit” characters while studying at the NFTS 30 years ago, said, “Head Over Heels is one of those stand-out little gems that doesn't come around that often. It's a cleverly conceived but simple idea–a clear and inventively told story–very poignant and full of heart. I'm not surprised Timothy Reckart is winning awards with Head Over Heels–much deserved.”
In his acceptance speech, Reckart said, “It’s really an honor to get this Annie Award from ASIFA Hollywood, from all the voters who watched the films, because you are so passionate about animation. I’ve been really proud of the last decade of work that animation artists have been doing, especially this past year in stop motion—I’m really proud to be a part of that.”
Reckart was referring to the fact that 2012 marked the first time that three stop motion animated feature films—Frankenweenie, Paranorman and The Pirates! Band of Misfits—were released in one year. The fact that all three are also Oscar-nominated sets an all-time record.
The prize was presented by legendary voice actor Jim Cummings (Winnie the Pooh, Tigger) and The Simpson’s creator Matt Groening. In attendance were the directors of Paranorman, Wreck-It Ralph, Rise of the Guardians, as well as independent New York animator Bill Plympton.
NFTS director Nik Powell says, “For one of our graduation films to receive an Annie, the pinnacle of animation awards, we hope this win gives ‘Head Over Heels’ the momentum to get their extraordinarily human and humorous film noticed by Academy voters. Tim and Fodhla richly deserve the success and credit their film is receiving.”
The film has also been nominated for an Oscar, alongside major studio films from Disney and Fox, for Best Short Animated Film.
Reckart is currently setting up representation in Los Angeles while he is in development on two animated feature films and an animated television series.
Reckart wrote and directed Head Over Heels, along with producer and fellow student Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly. The two enlisted a large crew of students to bring Reckart’s vision to life, which was inspired by a Rembrandt painting.
The short, which captures the emotional distance between a long-married husband and wife, illustrated by one living on the ceiling and one living on the floor, is the third NFTS film to be nominated in the animated short film category since 2005.
The film can be seen at select theaters as part of the Shorts Program being distributed by ShortsHD The Short Movie Channel  and Magnolia Pictures. “The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013” is showing in more than 260 theaters across the U.S., Canada, and Europe. A key fixture of the awards season, the theatrical release featuring Live Action, Animation, and Documentary short films is the only opportunity for audiences around the country to watch the nominated shorts prior to the 85th Academy Awards ceremony on February 24.
Source: National Film & Television School