By Tracey Leong

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore will be represented at the 90th Academy Awards.

Two married faculty members of the Maryland Institute College of Art have been nominated for an Oscar for their animated short film.

Although this is the first time the couple’s work has been nominated for an Oscar, they’ve been creating short films in Baltimore for more than a decade.

The film’s writer/directors, Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata, are members of MICA’s animation faculty.

The five-minute short called, “Negative Space,” is an adaptation of a 150-word prose poem by Ron Koertge. It’s about a boy’s relationship with his father and their connection through packing a suitcase.

“Spoke to something that was very relatable to us of the parent and child relationship,” Porter said. “Really competing alongside Pixar, and this legendary Disney animator, a Kobe Bryant production, it just says that if you are true to yourself and are really committed to your work, you can be recognized on that scale.”

The Baltimore based filmmakers own the studio Tiny Inventions. They’ve been developing short films, commercials and music videos for more than a decade.

“You do have to go through a lot of struggles and it’s easy to give up, because you can’t see the bright light, but to kind of keep going and to know this is building up to something,” Kuwahata said. “So when students say ‘I look up to you,’ I say ‘gosh,’ and I feel this immense responsibility but the important thing is I need to keep doing what I love to do.”

“On a national or global scale it lets people know there are things happening in Baltimore that is an an exciting supportive vibrant artistic community,” Porter said.

Negative Space will be screening at the Parkway Theatre in Baltimore on January 30.

The Oscar winners will be announced on March 4.

Video used in our story is courtesy of (C) IKKI Films / Manuel Cam Studio.

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