This experimental music video for Oorutaichi’s “Hamihadarigeri” directed by Sojiro Kamatani defies easy description but it excites my senses as few other animated pieces I’ve seen recently. That’s because Kamatani packs enough visual ideas for a dozen animated shorts into his stream of conscious assault on orthodox visual sensibilities.
Video hosting site Vimeo will be presenting AniMotion on Thursday, January 20 in Manhattan. The screening of animated shorts and motion graphic films is co-curated by Julia Quinn. Screening begins at 8:30pm at SPiN New York (48 East 23rd Street btw. Park & Madison). It’s free but attendees must RSVP.
What happens if you fill out a festival submission form and submit a film that you haven’t actually made yet? That’s the situation that Oscar-nominated NFB filmmaker Janet Perlman faced when she concocted Sorry Film Not Ready. Here’s the backstory:
This film was made by accident using experimental animation invisible to the naked eye. At least that’s what I wrote on the festival entry form for a film called “Llama Cookin’”, which didn’t even exist. I then started making the film but abandoned it after a few days, and changed the film’s title to “Sorry Film Not Ready”. Two weeks later I received a notification saying that the festival had not yet received “Sorry Film Not Ready”, but that the deadline had been extended by one week. I then decided to make the film after all, in one week. It got accepted into the festival (Ottawa Animation Festival), and to date has been accepted into three others. But it’s still not ready.
If something is too difficult to explain, just blame cartoons. So now some people are beginning to suggest that Jared Loughner, the gunman who went on a shooting rampage in Arizona that killed six people, may have been a fan of Richard Linklater’s 2001 rotoscope-animation film Waking Life. Last night on 60 Minutes, friends of the shooter said he was “obsessed with the film.” The connection stems from Loughner’s obsession with lucid dreaming–a mental state in which you’re aware that you’re dreaming–which is a central theme of Waking Life.
Fans of the film are so worried that they’ve already started publishing pre-emptive defenses of the film, like this one at the Brown Tweed Society:
Waking Life kept popping up in my mind because Jared Loughner wrote a lot about the blurred lines between dreams and reality. He also asked a lot of difficult questions about government and social control, questions which mirror many of those posed in Waking Life. Before his dark mental illnesses really took hold of him, some of Loughner’s questions contained a degree of reasonable skepticism grounded in established, though perhaps poorly understood on his part, tenets of philosophy and linguistics. He asked it in a poor, ill-suited context of course, but the question Loughner posed to Gabrielle Giffords at the much-discussed 2007 public forum–“What is government if words have no meaning?”–is a valid inquiry grounded in the assumption that government and other human social abstractions are primarily linguistic constructions. It’s exactly the kind of question that prompts much of Waking Life’s extended dialogue segments.
Sign-up begins this morning for classes at the American Animation Institute, the educational arm of The Animation Guild, Local 839. A special class posted about on the Animation Guild blog caught my attention: “Film Sense and Nonsense: The Bob Kurtz Master Class in Comedic Film Staging, Timing and Storytelling.” It runs for four Monday evenings from March 21 to April 11. The class is $100, and enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. To sign up, call (818) 845-7000 between 8:30 am and 5 pm TODAY.
It’s hard to think of an animation director with more funny animation to his credit than Bob, who began his remarkably prolific career working on the original Alvin Show and Roger Ramjet. He’s done the bulk of work at his own animation studio Kurtz & Friends, which has been responsible for hundreds of commercials (like the one above) as well as many film titles and projects with the likes of Lily Tomlin and George Carlin.
A pudgy, goofy-looking guy with a beard almost became an animator? I don’t think that’s ever happened before. From this piece about Giamatti:
“After graduation, I moved to Seattle thinking I would – oh, I don’t know what in hell I was thinking,” he says. “Get into animation, I guess – although, wow, just put a bullet in your head, there’s a really hard way to make a living. I ended up doing experimental theater, which was fun, but the money, when they had it, was like $16. That was it, that was your ‘stipend,’ $16. So I did a lot of odd jobs, and thought about going back to school and finally, weirdly, lucked into getting an agent.”
I love how he decided to pursue what he thought would be a more lucrative field than animation, like experimental theater.
If you have lots of money and love string, we’ve got the perfect thing for you. We’ve written about string holders before (here and here), and Hake’s Collectibles is currently auctioning holders based on cartoon characters including a lovely set of six from Alice in Wonderland. From an aesthetic standpoint, the whimsical folk-art quality of these objects is very appealing. Unfortunately, with bidding starting at $600 per string holder, should I ever find myself in a string-dispensing situation, I’ll have to use my hands.
This weekend, Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist opens in more locations around southern California, as well as San Francisco and Chicago. More dates follow later in January, with the film’s widest release happening on February 4. The film will eventually screen in over 150 theaters over 38 states. Here’s the official release schedule so you can check to see if it’s playing in your neighborhood.
On Wednesday, January 19th, check out “Crossing The Line: Animation Show & Tell”, a retrospective of the works of gender-bending Swedish animator Lisa T. Afterward, Lisa (aka Lasse Persson) will be interviewed by New York filmmaker Signe Baumane. Lisa and Signe will talk about animation, transvestism and closely examine the inspiration behind each one of Lisa’s films. It’s a virtual guarantee that any event with Signe will be entertaining, and I can’t imagine this will be any different. The fun begins at 7pm at the Gershwin Hotel (7 E. 27th St. at 5th Ave, New York). Screening is FREE!
Below is one of Lisa T’s films from 2004 called Bikini:
For nearly thirty years, animation legend Ward Kimball contributed a cartoon page called “Asinine Alley” to the bi-monthly magazine Horseless Carriage Gazette, which was a specialized magazine geared towards collectors of vintage automobiles. For a few issues, he also created ads for Mobil, and someone on Ward’s very active Facebook page has been posting them on-line.
I read an interview with Ward once in which he described how Walt Disney became angry when he saw these ads displayed at a studio show, and told Ward that he couldn’t do them anymore. Ward said he was never paid for the ads and was making them as a favor to the magazine, but nevertheless, he stopped. The last one was created in 1960.
Like the cartoons he created for the Gazette, the ads are created in a diverse range of styles from cartoon drawings to collage paste-ups to photography. A gallery of Ward’s Mobil ads can be seen after the jump: Continue reading →
Tous des Monstres (All of the Monsters) is a student film from Supinfocom directed by Nicolas Deprez, Laurent Jaffier, Pierre Lippens and Gabrielle Lissot. It’s NSFW, but more than that, the imagery is just plain disturbing. The tight little story they constructed around the visuals, with Pinocchio-esque undertones, is impressive for a student CG short, and shows the value of focusing on story and character as well as technique and animation.