Sunday, January 28, 2007

Slamdance: The animated short competition

After a while of getting other stuff done, I've decided to finish up with my coverage of Slamdance, so here is the animated shorts competition. I'm not sure who won.

Africa Parting

Directed and Written
by Robyn Yannoukos
and Brian LoSchiavo

An African mask creature with a heart beating inside in it’s birdcage body, examines a scrapbook on apartheid and throws a hissyfit before committing suicide. The stop motion artwork is actually rather good, but what it all means is obscure.

The Ballad of Mary Slade

Directed and Written
By Robin Fuller

The worms go in the worms go out….and discuss the demise of the corpse that they’re consuming. The use of photographs on the computer animated insects is particularly creepy and entirely appropriate.

This is one of the better shorts.

Close Your Eyes and Do Not Breathe

Directed and Written
by Vuk Jevremovic

An unnamed hero is taken aloft by an angel, who gives him a tour of other worlds, in this beautifully drawn animated painting. Exactly what is meant by this film is obscure, but then it was made in eastern Europe, and obscure is part of the culture.

Cranium Theater

Directed and Written
by Jason Sandri

This is about death and taxes. A farmer puts his heart and soul into a project, and the government and church take it away. Kind of cute and very predictable. Nice character design though.


Directed and Written
By Martin Quaden

A battery-powered device falls in love with a lamppost and this leads to problems. This is a very sad film, and is pretty amazing what emotion can be wrung out of a bunch of used junk.

Infinite Justice

Directed and Written
By Karl Tebbe

How to protest the War in Iraq and mourn for the tyranny of Saddam Houssein? Why use action figures and limited stop motion animation, of course! What this German fellow and his friends did was use a commemerative doll and a bunch of GI Joes to recreate some not so nice photographs of the unpleasantness in the former Mesopotamia. This is the closest any of the animated shorts presented here have come to outright failure.

Kuro Kumo

Directed and Written
By a certain Mr. Norton

Nomura is haunted by dreams of a ronin (masterless samurai) that she believes is her past life, so she goes to her shrink, and tries to figure out how to stop this This was an experiment using new animation technology, and is quite good to a point, but why, since this was done in America, did they do the dialogue in Japanese with English subtitles?

Latent Sorrow

Directed and Written
by Shon Kim

Animation takes a lot of work, and months and months of doodling can wind up being something far more than just playing around. However, this is not exactly the case here. Some nice imagery but nothing profound at all.


Directed and Written
By Scott Kravitz

What does the Angel of Death do when she’s not working? This film tries to explain. The answer is quite surprising, and has something to do with the title of the film. For what it’s worth, this is actually quite interesting.

Matière / Material

Directed and Written
by Boran Richard

Liquid drips to the center of gravity and Richard plays with various shapes, both human and object. This is art for art’s sake kind of stuff, and makes the viewer wonder what’s going on, and apparently nothing does except for cinematic mastribation. Still, the imagery is nice.

Oneheadword Protection

Directed and Written by
Igor and Ivan Buharov

This isn’t actually animated, but rather pixilated, with men in costumes running around while an off screen persona informs the population about the onset of war with an unknown enemy from another planet. This is one of those incomprehensible Slavic experiments in cinema that play the festival circuit sometimes. Weirdness for weirdness’ sake. Eh.

Printed Rainbow

Directed and written
By Gitanjali Rao

This is the most beautiful film at the Slamdance animation competition. A woman who lives in a black and white housing complex has a matchbook collection, which she uses to aid her candy colored dreams. This is whimsical, very cute and possibly the best of the animation comptetition.


Directed and written
By Mark Zero Lastimosa

A gory version of “Groundhog Day,” the eponymous hero must relieve the horror of the breakup with his girlfriend every time the phone rings, which it incessantly does. This causes him to try to commit suicide again and again. A bloody mess, which is mostly unenlightening.

Ujbaz Izbeneki Has Lost His Soul

Directed and co-written
by Neil Jack

This is an illustrated joke. The Devil has an appointment with the title character who has a prescient for losing things and all Hell gets lost.

This is actually rather funny, especially with the voice performances. The plot is original and actually feels like a cartoon.

No comments: