Nova Scotian filmmaker Ben Proudfoot shortlisted for Oscar
HALIFAX -- To hear their name called at the Academy Awards is every filmmakers dream.
That dream is a step closer to becoming a reality for Halifax filmmaker Ben Proudfoot.
Proudfoot, 30, has made the nomination short list for his poignant film ‘A Concerto Is A Conversation’.
“It’s crazy. It’s not something that has even sunk in yet to be honest,” said Proudfoot from Los Angeles.
Growing up in Halifax, Proudfoot developed an interest in filmmaking at an early age.
After graduation he moved to Los Angeles, started a company and went on to make more films than he can count.
“Oh my gosh, it depends on what you call a film… but hundreds,” says Proudfoot.
His latest short documentary is shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject, just one of 10 films to make the cut.
A Concerto Is A Conversation was created with his friend and co-director Kris Bowers, and executive produced by Ava Duvernay, who in 2017 became the first Black woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for her film ‘13th’.
In the film, Bowers interviews his 91-year-old grandfather who tells the story of how he hitchhiked across America at the age of 17.
“By coincidence, he lands in L.A., where he overcomes a series of obstacles because of the colours of his skin, to start his own business, a dry-cleaning business,” says Proudfoot.
More than 70 years later, his grandfathers history has led Bowers to a career as an Emmy and Oscar winning pianist and film composer.
“It’s all about family,” says Proudfoot. “It’s about making decision that ripple through time. It’s about race in America, it’s about music… it’s a very rich story and all packed into about 13 minutes.”
This big break comes after what Proudfoot describes as a dark and difficult year.
“I lost my dad, who was a lawyer in Dartmouth, in May,” he recalls. “Getting into Sundance (Film Festival) and now this with the shortlist, even if we don’t get nominated, it’s been a real saving grace.”
Now, Proudfoot is playing the waiting game until the Oscar nominations list is released on March 15.
“It’s very anxiety ridden,” says Proudfoot. “Hopefully I can bring a nomination home, but if not… there’s always next year.”
An optimistic attitude for a young filmmaker, who says no matter where his career takes him, home is always in the back of his mind.
“I’m a very proud Haligonian, proud Nova Scotian, proud Maritimer,” says Proudfoot.
A Concerto Is A Conversation is available to watch for free online.