The Academy Awards will be handed out on Feb. 26 in Southern California, but some categories will have a distinctly Northern California flavor — especially among the short films.

The feature drama “Moonlight” has grabbed the spotlight with nominations for adapter-director and onetime Oakland-San Francisco resident Barry Jenkins, supporting-actor favorite and Oakland native Mahershala Ali, and cinematographer James Laxton of San Francisco. But no fewer than five nominated short films have local roots, from heartrending documentaries about refugees and life-support decisions to animated depictions of bird life, growing up and seeking closure for past traumas.

 And the local stamp isn’t expressed only by the people making the movies; it’s in the places, real, imagined and virtual.

“It’s very much a Bay Area film,” says Alan Barillaro, director of the photorealistic animated short “Piper.” “That was an agenda we had from the beginning. There are beaches in Northern California we went to great pains to get right, all the way up from Stinson and Jenner, down to Pillar Point, moving up and down the coast to follow local shorebirds.”

Then there’s the Oakland hospital captured in the most stark of realities in Dan Krauss’ documentary short “Extremis” and the virtual-reality world of the musical father-daughter tale “Pearl,” written and directed by Patrick Osborne. (…) Read Full Publication Here

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