( Walt Disney Feature Animation)When the nominees for the 85th annual Academy Awards were announced Thursday morning, two recent Emerson graduates had special reason to celebrate.
John Pouliot, a 2011 grad, worked as production manager and assistant editor on “Open Heart,” a nominee for best documentary short subject, while classmate Stephanie Hachem worked as a production assistant on “Wreck-It Ralph,'' nominated for best animated feature.
“It’s pretty insane,” Pouliot, 24, said by phone from Hollywood Center Studios on Friday. “We’ve been so busy the past couple of days that it hasn’t really had a chance to sink in yet.”
Pouliot said that since the nomination was announced, he and other members of the crew had been furiously updating the film’s website and documents to include mention of the nomination, sending out screener DVDs, and otherwise responding to the flurry of attention directed at the short film.
Directed by Kief Davidson and produced by Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern, “Open Heart” follows eight Rwandan children with rheumatic heart disease as they travel to a cardiac hospital in the Sudan for potentially life-saving surgery.
Other nominees in the category were “Inocente,” about a homeless illegal immigrant; “Kings Point,” about seniors in a retirement community; “Mondays at Racine,” about two Long Island sisters who open their beauty salon to women undergoing chemotherapy; and “Redemption,” about people who make their living collecting cans and bottles.
Pouliot credited Davidson, the director and co-producer, with giving him a chance to learn many different aspects of the filmmaking and marketing processes.
“He could have easily just said, ‘You are going to do intern-level work,’ which would have been totally fine with me,” Pouliot said.
Pouliot said he and Hachem had become good friends as students, working together at the Emerson Channel and on the college’s annual Evvy Awards for students’ creative works, where she was his boss.
He said he called Hachem Thursday morning when he heard that “Wreck-It Ralph” had also been nominated.
“It was pretty great to call your classmate just one year out of college and say, hey, congratulations on the Oscar nom,” Pouliot said. “It was pretty neat.”
Directed by Rich Moore for Walt Disney Feature Animation, “Wreck-It Ralph” features a villainous video-game character voiced by John C. Reilly who tries to reinvent himself as a hero by leaving his game and traveling through a series of other games.
In the live Oscar broadcast on Feb. 24, it will face off against fellow Disney film “Brave,” directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman; Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie”; “ParaNorman,” directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler; and “The Pirates! Band of Misfits,” directed by Peter Lord.
Email Jeremy C. Fox at email@example.com.
Follow Jeremy C. Fox on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow Your Campus Emerson on Twitter: @YCEmerson.