LA Shorts awards seven films, which can then be considered for Oscar nomination in the Best Short Film category
After the French Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and the British Encounters Film Festival, young Bangladeshi film-maker Ariq Anam Khan’s short film “Transit” is headed towards North America to compete in yet another Oscar qualifying film festival, LA Shorts, short for Los Angeles Shorts International Film Festival.
LA Shorts is the longest-running short film festival in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1997, it is also one of the largest international short film festivals in the world showcasing more 300 films screening annually. The festival in the past featured top directors like Tim Burton, Bryan Singer, John Woo, Tony Scott, David Lynch and so on. Taking place at the heart of Hollywood, it is also frequented by A-list celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Vin Diesel, Hilary Swank, Demi Moore, Courteney Cox, Jessica Biel, Kirsten Dunst, Luke Wilson, and Ricky Gervais, just to name a few.
The story of “Transit” revolves around a bus canvasser stuck in the lonely and unforgiving city of Dhaka. He waits for an opportunity to migrate to create a better future for his family, but his reasons to stay threaten to outweigh his reasons to cross over.
Given the festival’s history of producing Oscar nominees and Oscar winners, Ariq is ostensibly over the moon at this news. He hopes the audiences in LA will see a story of displacement in his film that they are not familiar with.
“Rather than resonating with the story, I like to show something they haven’t experienced before,” Ariq told Dhaka Tribune Showtime. “These visa issues and other discrepancies we face here are alien to the North American audience.”
Since his film started making the rounds during the pandemic, Ariq hasn’t been able to attend any of these highly prestigious festivals.
“It’s unfortunate that I can’t attend these festivals physically and meet the wonderful people involved there,” he said. “I also miss getting the reaction from the audiences. I try to follow the social media of the festivals to get a glimpse of the impact of my film. The programmers also sometimes share the public reception with me. The feedback from Busan was particularly helpful as the festival took place on site, rather than online.”
LA Shorts will be taking place in a hybrid format (online and physical); so Ariq hopes his friends in LA will share some audience feedback with him. This festival awards seven films, which can then be considered for Oscar nomination in the Best Short Film category.
From Bangladesh, popular director Abrar Athar’s “Life, in Other Words” made its way into this festival before, but there probably has never been a Bangladeshi short film that qualified for three Oscar qualifying festivals, Ariq informed in his ever-so-humble tone.