ImagineNative now an Oscar-qualifying festival for live action shorts

TORONTO — Live action shorts that win a prize at Toronto’s ImagineNative Film and Media Arts Festival can now seek Oscar consideration

Organizers say the Toronto-based festival has been designated “a qualifying festival” for the best live action short category.

That means that any film that wins the Cynthia Lickers-Sage Award for Best Short Work can apply for an Oscar nomination in the best live action short category at the Oscars, pending compliance with other rules by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

To be eligible for Oscars consideration, short films must either have a theatrical release or win a qualifying award at a specified film festival.

ImagineNative says it’s the first and only Indigenous film festival in the world that can qualify a film for Oscar consideration, and one of just a few in Canada with the status.

The best short winner at this year’s ImagineNative festival, which wrapped Sunday, was the Hawaiian drama “Moloka’i Bound” by Alika Maikau.

Other Canadian festivals with Oscar-qualifying status include the Calgary International Film Festival, the Edmonton International Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema.

“This recognition is the outcome of many people who share a passion for Indigenous-made short films, and who continuously strive to provide opportunities for Indigenous filmmakers,” Jason Ryle, ImagineNative’s executive director, said Thursday in a statement.

“The coming decade will be one of profound growth for the Indigenous screen sector internationally, and this announcement is another significant step towards broadening the appreciation of Indigenous films and expanding the opportunities for the talented individuals who create them.”

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