Last Minutes with Oden: A Powerful Elegy on Love, Loss and Grief

Last Minutes with Oden: A Powerful Elegy on Love, Loss and Grief

Last Minutes with Oden is a deeply engaging, extremely heart-wrenching 6-minute documentary short film directed and edited by Eliot Rausch, in association with PhosPictures and Uber Content. The film was named Best Documentary and Best Video at the 2010 Vimeo Awards, chosen from over 6500 film and video submissions.

Last Minutes with Oden tells a story about Jason Wood (Woody), an ex-convict who is saying a final farewell to his best friend, of the man’s last minutes with his dog before he has to have it euthanized for health reasons. The documentary is a beautiful elegy that calls attention to certain heartbreaking moments most of us experience, which is an incredibly powerful reminder of the importance of family and friendships in all our lives.

The 2010 Vimeo Awards site can be viewed here.

Last Minutes with Oden: A Powerful Elegy on Love, Loss and Grief

5 Hours with Woody: Three years before “Last Minutes with Oden”

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The Eagleman Stag: 2013 SOTW Best Short Animation Award

The Eagleman Stag: 2013 SOTW Best Short Animation Award

The larger our past gets, the smaller our present feels.”

The Eagleman Stag is an award-winning, stunning monochrome stop-motion animated short film by Michael Please, which was awarded Best Short Animation at the 2011 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA). The film has received universal acclaim playing at high-profile film festivals including Sundance and SXSW, winning awards at Annecy and Clermont-Ferrand, in addition to BAFTA. The film was named one of 10 finalists competing for the 2013 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The Eagleman Stag has just been honored as winner of the 2013 SOTW Best Short Animation Award.

Told in a distinctive, contemporary film-noir style, The Eagleman Stag is a story of life and fear, a darkly comic take on one man’s obsession with the quickening perception of time that faces all of us as we age, and his attempts to counter this effect. As Peter Eagleman nears the end of his days, his obsessive attempts to define the world, and his haunting perception of time within it, leads to progressively extreme measures to control and counter time’s increasing pace.

The Eagleman Stag: 2013 SOTW Best Short Animation Award

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The Eagleman Stag: A Breathlessly Dark Story of Life and Fear

The Eagleman Stag: A Breathlessly Dark Story of Life and Fear

The larger our past gets, the smaller our present feels.”

The Eagleman Stag is an award-winning, stunning monochrome stop-motion animated short film by Michael Please, which was awarded Best Short Animation at the 2011 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA). The film has received universal acclaim playing at high-profile film festivals including Sundance and SXSW, winning awards at Annecy and Clermont-Ferrand, in addition to BAFTA. The film has just been announced as one of 10 finalists competing for the 2013 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Told in a distinctive, contemporary film-noir style, The Eagleman Stag is a story of life and fear, a darkly comic take on one man’s obsession with the quickening perception of time that faces all of us as we age, and his attempts to counter this effect. As Peter Eagleman nears the end of his days, his obsessive attempts to define the world, and his haunting perception of time within it, leads to progressively extreme measures to control and counter time’s increasing pace.

The Eagleman Stag: A Breathlessly Dark Story of Life and Fear

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The Taxidermist: Time to Say a Final Goodbye

The Taxidermist: Time to Say a Final Goodbye

The Taxidermist (Le Taxidermiste) is a darkly humorous animated short film directed by Le Taxidermiste Team (Antoine Robert, Dorianne Fibleuil, Paulin Cointot and Maud Sertour) at Supinfocom. This surreal comedy tells the story of an old woman who wants to pay last respects to her recently deceased husband, a taxidermist. Following his death, the widow welcomes a somber team of funeral directors into her home, a strange apartment full of stuffed, dead animals. It’s time to get the body ready to perform the ceremony, pay a final tribute to the deceased and say goodbye to what is left behind.

The Taxidermist: Time to Say a Final Goodbye

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Limbo: A Story from the Hearts and Mouths of Undocumented Young People

Limbo: A Story from the Hearts and Mouths of Undocumented Young People

Limbo is the new documentary short film directed by Eliot Rausch, created in association with Phos Pictures, which had its World Premier in New York City earlier this week. Previously, Rausch won the Best Documentary Award and the Grand Prize at the 2010 Vimeo Festival + Awards, for his short film Last Minutes with Oden. After winning the 25K Grand Prize Grant from the Vimeo Awards, Director Eliot Rausch partnered with Producer Mark Schwartz and the Dreamers of Los Angeles to create Limbo.

The emotionally moving 19-minute documentary short film exposes the lives of three undocumented students, who are living in Los Angeles without legal status. Without ever before having touched a camera, the students were gifted with a small video camera and provided with a half-day of training. They were asked to film everyday for three months. Through their lens, this is a story from the hearts and mouths of the undocumented.

Limbo: A Story from the Hearts and Mouths of Undocumented Young People

From Last Minutes with Oden to Limbo

Rausch won the Grand Prize at the first Vimeo Festival + Awards, held in late 2010, for his documentary short film Last Minutes with Oden. The film documents ex-convict Jason Wood’s emotions as he must euthanize his beloved dog, Oden, who had been suffering from cancer. Oden is a poignant, deeply touching chronicle of love between human and pet, which has been viewed on Vimeo more than 2.5 million times.

After winning the award, Rausch said that he began to feel guilty. “I think the project was exploiting the life of a friend and his suffering,” he said. So, in the months that followed, Rausch came up with the idea to use his $25,000 Grand Prize money to create a film that might empower his subjects, rather than simply chronicling their struggles.

From Last Minutes with Oden to Limbo

Update:

Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children will be able to obtain work permits and be safe from deportation under a new policy announced on Friday by the Obama administration.

Read President Obama’s announcement in the White House Rose Garden on Friday afternoon here.

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The Studs Terkel Centenary: Chicago Celebrates Legendary Studs Terkel

The Studs Terkel Centenary: Chicago Celebrates Legendary Studs Terkel

May 16th marks the 100th anniversary of Studs Terkel’s birth and an occasion to memorialize one of the most prolific writers and cultural critics in the history of Chicago letters. As an author, broadcaster and oral historian, legendary Chicagoan Studs Terkel celebrated the lives of ordinary Americans. Some of Terkel’s many friends and fans are hoping to return the favor with a series of events marking the 100th birthday of a man whose work is a chronicle of the 20th century.

The Studs Terkel Centenary, a group headed up by Terkel’s friends, including Chicago Tribune reporter Rick Kogan, on Saturday will rededicate the Division Street Bridge, which was named after Terkel 20 years ago. On Wednesday, The Newberry Library will host a birthday party featuring guest speakers who will share stories about Studs. Terkel’s friends will ensure that his memory lives on with a day of Studs-only programming on WFMT-FM on his birthday, with performances of passages from Terkel’s 2001 book Will the Circle Be Unbroken? at Steppenwolf Theatre next week and by phoning in personal anecdotes about Terkel to a hotline set up by Chicago’s Hull House Museum.

A Tribute: Remembering Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel: The Human Voice (StoryCorps)

Remembering Studs Terkel: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

The New York Times reported that Chicago’s legendary Studs Terkel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose searching interviews with ordinary Americans helped establish oral history as a serious genre, and who for decades was the enthusiastic host of a popular nationally syndicated radio show on WFMT-FM in Chicago, died at his home at the age of 96.

In his oral histories, which he called guerrilla journalism, Mr. Terkel relied on his effusive but gentle interviewing style to bring forth in rich detail the experiences and thoughts of his fellow citizens. For more than the four decades, Studs produced a continuous narrative of great historic moments sounded by an American chorus in the native vernacular.

Division Street: America (1966), his first best seller, explored the urban conflicts of the 1960s. Its success led to Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (1970) and Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974).

Mr. Terkel’s book The Good War: An Oral History of World War II won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction. In Talking to Myself: A Memoir of My Times (1977), Terkel turned the microphone on himself to produce an engaging memoir. In Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession (1992) and Coming of Age: The Story of Our Century by Those Who’ve Lived It (1995), he reached for his ever-present tape recorder for interviews on race relations in the United States and the experience of growing old.

In 1985, a reviewer for The Financial Times of London characterized his books as “completely free of sociological claptrap, armchair revisionism and academic moralizing.” The amiable Mr. Terkel was a gifted and seemingly tireless interviewer who elicited provocative insights and colorful, detailed personal histories from a broad mix of people. “The thing I’m able to do, I guess, is break down walls,” he once told an interviewer. “If they think you’re listening, they’ll talk. It’s more of a conversation than an interview.”

Readers of his books could only guess at Mr. Terkel’s interview style. Listeners to his daily radio show, which was first broadcast on WFMT-FM in 1958, got the full flavor as Studs, with both breathy eagerness and a tough-guy Chicago accent, went after the straight dope from guests like Sir Georg Solti, Muhammed Ali, Mahalia Jackson, the young Dob Dylan, Toni Morrison and Gloria Steinem.

The entire New York Times article can be read here.

Rick Kogan has written a detailed article in The Chicago Tribune, which can be read here.

Studs Terkel’s website at The Chicago Historical Society can be accessed here.

Studs Terkel’s (1970) WFMT-FM radio interview with me (Patrick Zimmerman) can be heard here. Parts of this radio interview later become a selection (pp. 489-493) in Terkel’s acclaimed book, Working:

Audio: Part I of The Radio Interview

Audio: Part II of The Radio Interview

Studs Terkel: Remembering His Life and Times

Conversations about Studs Terkel (2004)

Studs Terkel: About the Human Spirit (2002)

Studs Terkel: The Pioneering Broadcaster

Music Audio: Mavis Staples/Hard Times

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The Final Song of the Yellow Canary

The Final Song of the Yellow Canary

An enormous clifftop, blue skies, multiple deaths and a yellow canary who matter-of-factly keeps meticulous notes of it all. Yellow Belly End is a dryly absurd, award-winning animated short film, created by Philip Bacon as a unique and compelling graduation film at England’s National Film and Television School and produced at Slinky Pictures. Bacon speaks in metaphors about the tragedies of life and death, as a yellow canary records animal suicides at the edge of a cliff, or possibly the world. The story unfolds in a way that encourages viewers to create their own interpretations of the larger meanings of the film.

Special thanks to Genevieve Okupniak at SOTW.

The Final Song of the Yellow Canary

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