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Oscar Contender ‘Winter Light’ Brings More Snow, More Guns (Exclusive Video)

The short, directed by Julian Higgins and produced by Abigail Spencer and Josh Pence, calls to mind some of the year’s big snowbound dramas

Between Leonardo DiCaprio crawling through the wilderness in “The Revenant” and Quentin Tarantino holing up a gang of lowlifes during a blizzard in “The Hateful Eight,” you could say that 2015 was a good year at the movies for tough guys in snowy environments.

And as the Oscar nominations loom, one more contender fits that bill. “Winter Light” is a short film set in a cold and remote town in Montana, based on a short story by Edgar-winning mystery and crime writer James Lee Burke. The film deals with a college professor who confronts a pair of trespassers on his property, and winds up in an escalating, morally ambiguous showdown.

The film, which is premiering its trailer with TheWrap, was directed by Julian Higgins, who won the Student Academy Award for his AFI thesis film “Thief,” later directed one of the final episodes of the TV series “House” and won Ron Howard‘s Project Imagination competition.

The producers include Higgins, Justin Allen, “Rectify” actress Abigail Spencer and “Draft Day” and “The Social Network” actor Josh Pence, who plays one of the trespassers alongside “Mad Men” vet Vincent Kartheiser. Raymond J. Barry plays the professor.

“Winter Light” has won awards at a number of shorts festivals, including Best of Fest honors at L.A. ShortsFest. It recently made the 10-film Oscar shortlist in the Best Live Action Short category, with nominations to be announced on Jan. 14.