Oscar-winning filmmaker Patrick Osborne didn't win an Academy Award again this year, but he made Oscar history.
"Pearl," his animated short screening at Memorial Hall March 11-12 by Cincinnati World Cinema, was the first Oscar-nominated film made in 360-degree video and virtual reality. He produced "Pearl" for Google Spotlight Stories after winning the 2015 Academy Award for best animated short film for "Feast."
The 1999 St. Xavier High School graduate from Green Township quit his job at Walt Disney Animation Studios after his Oscar win two years ago to pitch projects around Hollywood.
The first was "Pearl," a 5-1/2-minute animated film about a father and daughter sharing memories and music. The entire film is set inside an old hatchback the girl got from her dad. (He's also in the middle of working on a TV sitcom for ABC, and an animated feature film called "Nimona." More about them later.)
Osborne will discuss "Pearl" during the Cincinnati World Cinema's 16th annual screening of Oscar-nominated live-action and animated shorts at Memorial Hall March 11-12. It's the first time Osborne has spoken to a hometown group about his films.
He'll talk during the 90-minute animated shorts program at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 11, and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 12. About two hours of Oscar-nominated live-action foreign shorts will be screened at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 11, and 6 p.m. Sunday, March 12.
Single session tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Tickets for both sessions are $18 in advance and $22 at the door. They can be purchased online here, or by calling 859-957-3456.
Why set "Pearl" in a car?
"A car was like a very good way to ground the audience in a location. You can move the car, change the weather, change the lighting," Osborne explains.
The story moves back and forth through time, evident by the characters' ages, while they sing an original song, "No Wrong Way Home." Viewers can change the point-of-view by using arrows in the upper left corner of the screen to see passengers in the back seat or the view out of a window.
The car is a nod to his Cincinnati roots.
"It's a Midwest sort of a junker that you get in high school. You pass it down in the family. You also pass down things like music," he says.
"We don't say or show it, but the car is a bit like the Chevy Citation we had, before my mom wrecked it because I dropped my stuffed animal," he says. "My wife gives her cars 'grandma names.' Pearl was the name of her Prius that we just traded in at the end of the month."
"No Wrong Way Home," the catchy original song, was written by Alexis Harte and sung by Nicki Bluhm.
"One verse was written for the movie, and then we kept writing more verses when we knew how long the film would be," says Osborne, whose credits include Disney's "Big Hero 6," "Tangled," "Prep & Landing," "The Polar Express" and "Wreck-it Ralph."
Next up for Osborne: ABC's "Imaginary Mary," the Jenna Elfman-Rachel Dratch sitcom premiering March 29. He's about half-way through the three-year process of making his first animated feature, "Nimona," for Fox and Blue Sky Animation.
"It's going to be a busy spring," he says.