Los Angeles – Director Timothy Reckart’s Academy Award-nominated animated short film, Head Over Heels , won a 2013 Annie Award at the 40th Annual Annie Awards in Los Angeles. Reckart, 26, 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 cinematographer Roger Deakins and composer Dario Marianelli (both are also Academy Award-nominated this year), and the Academy Award-winning Nick Park (Aardman Animations).
Reckart wrote and directed Head Over Heels, along with producer and fellow student nominee Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly. The short is the only student film in the Oscars race this year. The two enlisted a large crew of students to bring Reckart’s vision to life, which was inspired by a Rembrandt painting. The film, 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.
Additionally, Reckart has announced the launch of his own production company, Reckart Productions, and is currently meeting with potential investors in the U.S. and the UK. The new banner is in development on two stop motion animation feature film projects: The first is entitled Super Special Ed, about a group of normal kids who fail to get into an elite superhero school and instead are enrolled in the school’s special ed program to develop their unusual and seemingly useless superpowers. The second, entitled I Lost My Mind, follows a boy whose brain escapes from his skull and runs around, wreaking havoc.
Nick Park, Reckart’s stop motion animation idol, and the creator of the famous “Wallace and Gromit” characters for his graduation film 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 Annie Awards 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 Simpsons 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.”
Alongside major studio films from Disney and Fox, Head Over Heels has also been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
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: The National Film and Television School