Notes from the Animation Festival 2014
Russell Degnan

A pilgrimage, Helen called my inevitable return to the Melbourne International Animation Festival, though without the implied penitential aspect. Festivals that correspond with World Cup years are always a little bit harder to stay awake in, and I'll note in passing that Malcolm again indicated that next year won't last 11 days. I made things slightly easier for myself by skipping the abstract animation, late night macabre and the quickdraw animation influences screening.

Of the 27 I did get to though, and is is now traditional, here were the films I thought stood out, for various reasons. As a rule I don't like to have a best of the festival nominee, as the film-makers have their own artistic and technical reasons for their decisions that should be respected. But, not for the first time, I wasn't a huge fan of the official best-of film. Technically brilliant, but a shallow plot, and if animaed shorts have a weakness, it is in that area. Thus, if from this list you only watch one film, make it To This Day; films with this level of emotional depth are rare.

The Entertainers

Love The Way You Move: Slightly Left Of Centre Aaron McDonald, Ben Ommundson Aust. - Neither the music nor the song are classics, but Soviet/Putin references and modern dance music is pretty funny.

IOA Gabriel Moehring Next 2 - A hyperventilating Beckett-esque speaking machine. Very short and sharp.

The Gift Julio Pott Sth.Amer. 2 - The course of a sub-optimal relationship simply and precisely drawn.

A Quoi Ca Sert L'Amour - Edith Piaf Louis Clichy Paris 1 - The course of a marginally better relationship, with a very French song and scenery.

Wildebeest Ant Blades Int. 5 - Wildebeests discussing risk and Bayesian priors. Badly.

The Technically Superb

Sonata Nadia Micault Int. 1 - Rotoscoped dancing. Long, perhaps to it detriment, but fabulous movement.

Patch Gerd Gockell Int. 3 - A collection of black and white tiles, painted subtlety differently then animated on a wall.

Passages Luis Paris Sth.Amer. 1 - A cyclist, on a loop through the coutnry side, brilliantly interplaying light and shadow.

Bear Story Pato Escala Sth.Amer. 2 - The life of a bear, in a box. The transitions of scenery are particularly cool

Ascension Thomas Bourdis, Martin de Coudenhove, Caroline Domergue, Colin Laubry, Florian Vecchione Int. 3 - Incredibly realistic looking mountain scenery (and amusing) story. The attention to detail on the textures and snow is phenomenal.

Four Margherita Premuroso, Luca Da Rios Kids - A spring awakening, with fabulous depth and detail in the trees and backgrounds.

Bendito Machine IV Jossie Malis Int. 2 - A long fruitless journey, depicted entirely in silhouettes.

The Well Plotted

To This Day Shane Koyczan Int. 1 - A poem, animated in short bursts, and seamlessly put together.

In The Air Is Christopher Gray Felix Massia Int. 1 - An odd little story of children, love, and death.

The Gallant Captain Katrina Mathers, Graeme Base, Patrick Sarell Aust./Kids - Very charming film of a boy in his boat, thinking of his father.

Padre Santiago Bou Grasso Sth.Amer. 1 - A slow, intriguing film about the carer of an old dictator, accused of genocide.

Betty's Blues Remi Vandenitte Int. 2 - Musical story of the life of Blind Boogie Jones in Lousiana, in to very different styles.

Strange Fruit Hili Noy, Shimi Asresay Int. 6 - A brutal Israeli allegory of teaching discrimination to children.

The End Of Pinky Claire Blanchet Int. 5 - Of criminals, and their loyalties to friends and their own survival.

The Bizarre But Brilliant

5 Metres 80 Nicolas Deveaux Paris 1 - Giraffes, high-diving, and so gracefully.

Dancing Graffiti Rodrigo Eba Sth.Amer. 2 - Using graffitied stencil art to dance on streets; so much more complicated than just drawing.

Land Masanobu Hiraoka Int. 2/Kids - A film for which kaleidoscope is an apt description. Fabulous movement and completely trippy.

365 The Brothers McLeod Int. 5 - Great idea: 1 second of animation every day for a year. Needs multiple viewings.

Ex Animo Wojciech Wojtkowski Int. 3 - Hand drawn character transitions at their best.

The Elephant's Garden Felix Colgrave Aust. - A garden of odd creatures. Very Pythonesque, in style and humour.

Finer Things 5th July, 2014 16:44:52   [#]