Film Center nominates offbeat cartoon for Oscar

The state National Film Center (NKC), which administers Latvia’s policy in the cinema industry, announced Monday that it has nominated maverick animator Signe Baumane’s Rocks in my Pockets for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Award at the Oscars ceremony.

“The jury agreed unanimously to select this film. It has already achieved international note – two awards at the Karlovy Vary Festival, the FIPRESCI award, as well as the Ecumenical jury’s special award. Moreover, rave reviews from the foreign press, including the New York Times.

Yet the prime grounds for our decision is the film’s uniqueness – such a personal story, so closely intertwined with Latvian history’s most essential events. The film was created in an animation technique that is perhaps precisely best-suited for treating such a critical circle of themes that Signe Baumane tries to resolve, and should attract the attention of the Oscar committee,” NKC expert committee chair Alise Ģelze explained.

Rocks in my Pockets is based on the true stories of five of Baumane’s family relations, herself included and their struggles with the trials of life, depression and insanity. The complexities of Latvian history intertwine with personal experiences and family secrets, loves and marriages.

Director, screenplay author, narrator and artist Signe Baumane moved to New York City in 1995 to present herself as an apprentice to Bill Plympton, an established author of several oddball cartoons. She is the only Latvian member of the US Film Academy whose short animated films have been screened at more than 200 festivals around the world.

Rocks in my Pockets is a joint Latvian-US production, co-produced by Latvian studio Lokomotīve, that won financial support both from the NKC as well as from a successful Kickstarter campaign.

American co-producer Zeitgeist has published the film's English-language trailer.

 

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