Tufelki short film by Belarusian director may fight for Academy Awards Oscar

Director Konstantin Fam’s Tufelki (Shoes) short film, dedicated to the Holocaust victims, has left behind the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences qualifying round
According to co-producer of the project from the Belarusian side Yuri Igrusha this is an unprecedented event in the history of the Belarusian film-making industry. The long list of short films will be unveiled in mid-January 2014; after that, only five contenders will enter the final. The Academy Awards ceremony will be held in Los Angeles as usual, with the solemn ceremony scheduled for March 2nd.

“The Academy imposes strict requirements on the selection of films, which includes a qualification, a long list, a short list and a nomination. To make it through the qualification is a great victory in itself. We’ve gone through a very difficult procedure connected with the fulfilment of technical requirements and qualifying distribution of films in the USA, which was held in the famous international cinema chain Landmark, and submitted our application just before the deadline, on October 1st,” said co-producer of the project from the American side Igor Lopatenok.

The film Tufelki uses an unusual cinema language as viewers can see only the characters’ legs. Director Konstantin Fam tells us the story of a pair of women’s shoes which begins on the shop window and ends in the grave of the Auschwitz prisoners. The director explains such way of interaction with viewers only by ideological reasons.

The picture contains no dialogues at all and the entire movie is accompanied by symphonic music written by Moscow Conservatory graduate Yegor Romanenko. The young composer had a difficult task of creating such musical atmosphere that would make dialogues unnecessary.

Tufelki has already won or taken part in over 30 international film festivals. The film has been invited to make part of the collection of Israel’s Yad Vashem Memorial, together with works by great masters of modern cinematograph — Steven Spielberg, Roman Polanski and Roberto Benigni. The film is now set to be screened in Nurnberg, accompanied by a symphony orchestra. Negotiations are also underway with Germany’s departments for education and human rights with the aim of including the film Tufelki in the school curriculum.

Tufelki is the short story which is part of the Svideteli (Witnesses) cinema almanac. Two other stories — Brut and Skripka (Violin) — continue the theme of the catastrophe of the Jewish people while also using metaphorical language. The project Svideteli will feature world stars. Work to create the English version of the scenario is now nearing completion; the leading actors will then get this scenario. 
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