Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Caricature of me by Bill

I just finished representing two of Bill's films at two festivals and he asked me to share my experiences on Scribble Junkies, so I thought I'd also re-post here.

First up was "Guard Dog Global Jam" at the Ottawa International Film Festival. It was my first time at OIAF and I have to say it was everything I hoped for and more. I won't say that I loved every film that I saw, but being immersed in a community of animators for five days far outweighed any distaste I may have had for certain program selections. I will also say there is merit to exploring what you do not like as much as there is indulging in what you do like. Here are some highlights from the shorts competitions:

I wasn't one for abstract animation until this film. I also love that Steven is holding it down with ink on paper.

As for this one, I just love how smooth the animation is, the timing, and the music paired with it.

This undergrad thesis film played in the same block as GDGJ, so I was lucky to sit on a Q&A panel with Caleb the next morning. He is bright, thoughtful, and is really engaged with the process of making hand-drawn animation.

Also, a welcomed moment of levity from Danny Dresden.

This past weekend I accompanied "The Flying House" at The Hamptons International Film Festival. Centered around East Hampton, the festival boasts multiple red carpets, complimentary hor d'oeuvres and glasses of wine, and programming that couldn't have been any more different than Ottawa. Not that I expected them to be at all similar, and also not that I've been to so many festivals as to be able to draw comparisons, so instead I'd like to discuss the matter of shorts: live action vs. animation.

After attending a block of shorts, it seemed to me that (at least in the case of this program) the filmmakers all dealt with "real life" situations to match their "real life" mode of visual storytelling. With the exception of the one animated piece, they all dealt with the themes of parenting, morality, and youth. Each story was uniquely executed, and very much had an individual style, genre and "voice", but it left me wondering if an animated short would ever be "popular" with the same content. I'm not saying that it should or should not, but more so thinking about the inherent differences in the mediums leading to differences in the end products.

I think one attraction towards live action is that the director is not representing people going through life, the actors are people going through life (as far as the audience is concerned). This allows them to be more immediately accessible so the writer can just "dive right in". Animation offers a limitless playground, where anything from complete control or lack of control can be employed to provide a more expressive representational approach to the same themes. As animated filmmakers, we have to work to engineer the suspension of disbelief, whereas live action can easily be accepted as "real." This, to me, can be sighted as a reason (amongst many that I won't go into here) for the difference in content that I experienced between Ottawa and the Hamptons.

I had trouble hunting down videos of the shorts, but the program I'm referring to can be found here.

I would like to thank both festivals and their wonderful staff members for their generous hospitality and for offering films that, like it or not, showcase how we continue to address the world with our visual storytelling.

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