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‘Sing’ is about giving a voice to the oppressed and fighting injustice

Movie poster for Oscar nominated live action short
Movie poster for Oscar nominated live action short "Sing."
Official "Sing" movie poster

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The Oscars are just days away and crews are working in front of the Dolby Theater to prep the red carpet for the possibility of rain on Sunday.

And so, we continue our peek at the nominees in the live action short film category. On Monday we spoke to the filmmaker behind "La Femme et le TGV" and explored the short film's themes of loneliness and human connection.

On Tuesday, we look at the Hungarian short, "Sing,"  directed by Kristoff Deak. In this short, we follow a shy young girl who joins her new school's award winning choir. What happens next leads to everyone finding out the real reasons for the choir's success.

It's a twist no one saw or heard coming and when A Martinez spoke to Deak, he recounted the story's real life inspiration.

"The film was inspired by an anecdote I heard from a flatmate of mine. She was about 10-years-old when she joined a new school and there was a big hundred strong choir and she was allowed to join even though she didn't have an especially amazing voice. So, a few rehearsals in she was taken to the side and told in confidence by the choir director not to sing out loud, just mime. And a few weeks later she found out that actually, another 50 kids from this choir weren't singing, they were just miming. So, that's how this choir achieved such a big success. Then the whole scandal broke out, the choir was disbanded and that sort of started my imagination...

I wanted to know what would've happened if they had a choir director who was a bit better at psychological manipulation and could actually hold this group of kids together and what would've happened if then the kids had to come up with their own way of getting back at her."

Were the teacher's actions in the film coming from a selfish place or a compassionate place or maybe a little of both?

"I don't think there's a lot of compassion involved to be honest, I mean in the case of my film, the teacher's kind of a bit selfish. Also, you could say she puts the success of the group ahead of the well being of the individuals, but I didn't want to paint her completely wrong so that's why she's a bit ambiguous that way. So, I'm really glad you kind of saw her truth in the film as well because there is some truth to it. But in the end what really interested me was the paradoxical situation that a kid has to give up singing in order to be able to stay in a choir. 

I mean, we all face rejection throughout life and I think rejection by teacher's or peers can be different in terms of how much empathy it's delivered with and how it then allows you to grow and become a better person, sometimes it just scars you and it doesn't really help."

One of the things I got out of the ending is how students...even young students, like the ones we see in the film, have power to shine a light on things and effect change...

"The kids end up coming up with a brilliant way...they do something at the end and they come up with a very clever way of getting back at their teacher. So, I would say to me...that's the most important part of film. It is kind of a wish fulfillment thing to me. I would love an entire society to work that way. It would be nice if we could all come together in solidarity with the weaker members of a group and stand up for everyone and fight injustice that way."

To listen to the full segment, click the blue play button above.