The dvd single of Don Hertzfeldt’s latest (and in my opinion, strongest and most intensely cinematic) short Everything Will Be OK goes on pre-order sale today at noon (Pacific time). According to his Bitter Films website, “all pre-orders will receive a free ‘everything will be ok’ FILM STRIP, clipped from a 35mm print from Don Hertzfeldt’s collection.” Additionally, a limited number of signed art prints are also available this morning for people who pre-order the dvd.
I’ll admit that when I first discovered Don’s films (around ’98 or so), I wasn’t exactly his biggest fan. His early films like Ah L’Amour and Billy’s Balloon, though amusing, were too trivial to capture my interest. It wasn’t until Rejected that I really began to warm up to his work and get past the stick figure hurdle.
Early on the difficulty I was having with his work is that it seemed like the stick-people might be the entire gimmick, that it wasn’t really about his stories, but the fact that stick figures were telling these stories. The exquisitely crafted Lily and Jim should have convinced me otherwise, but I’m slow sometimes. (Sidenote: Lily and Jim is all the more impressive when one realizes Don was only 20 years old when he made it). His new films, however, have completely erased any doubts about his capabilities as a filmmaker. While Don uses simple figures in his animation, he manages to evoke more with these frugal pencil marks than most animators do with their fully-articulated anatomy-laden characters. The real meat in Hertzfeldt’s work is his ability to use the film medium to tell engaging, funny and interesting stories, and while his drawing style is one of the more striking and obvious aspects of his work, it is only a minor component in the overall picture of his films.