Here’s something we don’t see nearly enough of nowadays: a hand-drawn full-animation short. Sumo Lake is a re-telling of “Swan Lake” animated by Adelaide, Australia-based Greg Holfeld. No fancy effects or gimmicks, the focus here is on drawing and movement and both are commendable. Holfeld reveals details about his process on the film’s official website.
I’ve been to three student screenings in the past week: the USC and CalArts Experimental showcases in LA, and the School of Visual Arts showcase in Manhattan. Every screening had its usual share of spectacular, average and unwatchable, but this post isn’t about the quality of the films. Rather I wanted to talk about the lengths of the programs.
The USC screening was around 90 minutes with no intermission. This was long but tolerable. The CalArts Experimental program was just over ninety minutes with a fifteen-minute break in between. This was an enjoyable experience. (Even better, I hear the CalArts Character Animation Producer’s Show runs around sixty minutes nowadays. Perfect!).
But then, last night, there was the SVA animation department screening (their computer art department is separate and has a different screening) . This screening was over four hours long and no intermission. To put that into perspective, that’s longer than Gone with the Wind, and believe me, most of these films were no Gone with the Wind. Needless to say, I survived only a fraction of them.
It boggles the mind as to what the school was thinking when they arranged a screening of forty-two shorts. Screening forty-two animated shorts in a row is a bad idea even if they’re not student films. Sadly, it’s also a disservice to the very students that the screening is supposed to be promoting and celebrating. The excessive length guarantees that only a handful of professionals from the animation industry will attend. That’s why the most effective year-end school screenings, especially those that are open to industry professionals and media, are heavily curated affairs that showcase a school’s best efforts. There is a time and place for showing all of the films, and that is typically a more private affair for the students themselves.
SVA dropped the ball in one other big way. Whereas both USC and CalArts rewarded audiences with food after their screenings, SVA sent home the exhausted audience on an empty stomach. Unlike other schools which offer food after every student film screening, SVA hoards its food for a fancy invite-only party that follows an awards ceremony for the entire film department. Thankfully, I had already treated myself to Chipotle in the middle of last night’s screening so it didn’t really matter. But unless they reduce the length of the program to a more sensible running time, I’ll certainly think twice about attending in the future.
Share your experiences of student film screenings in the comments.
Bob Jaroc‘s video for Black Moth Super Rainbow’s “The Sticky” was made by “modding a bunch of old b&w TVs, playing the separate parts from the track through them and taping the results,” plus some After Effects. Some readers on Boing Boing have pointed out that the circuit bending technique that Jaroc used is a variation of the Wobble Vision technique. Whatever Jaroc did, the results are mesmerizing.
It’s a gutsy move for any TV network to promote itself nowadays with a 90-second animated piece, especially one that’s as visually sophisticated as this ChilevisiÃ³n spot directed by Nola Pictures’ Juan Delcan. The Chilean network wanted to promote “the channel’s approach of respecting all people, without judgment and reporting clear unbiased truth.” Here’s a version with English subtitles.
Production Company: Nola Pictures
Director: Juan Delcan
Design & Animation: Juan Delcan, Arthur Metcalf, Peter Ahern, Toni Tysen, Celia Bullwinkel, Jake Armstrong
EPs: Charlie Curran, Ximena Cano
Producer: JJ Wilmoth
Agency: 180 Grados, Chile
Creative Directors: Sergio Gamboa, Joacim Montaner
Another impressive outing by a CalArts student: Drop’d is second-year effort by Manny Hernandez. One of the big reasons I’ve been so impressed with the CalArts Character Animation shorts in recent years has been the general shift towards simpler character design styles in which the students emphasize animation over design. This film is a terrific example of that.
A College Humor commentary on NBA player LeBron James that shows what would happen if he was in Space Jam instead of Michael Jordan. Probably makes more sense if you follow basketball. It’s an interesting day and age when unsanctioned cartoons using the Looney Tunes characters stay truer to the personalities of the characters than the official product that Warner Bros. is producing.
Director: Matt Pollock
Animation: Mike Parker
VFX: Gloo Studios
Director of Post Production: Michael Schaubach
Post Production Producer: Lacy Wittman
Editor: Drew Nissen
Producer: Creight Desimone
A fresh and funny animation style combine with skilled storytelling in Skyler Page’s Girl Wallet. We featured Skyler’s second-year CalArts film Crater Face on the Brew last year, and displayed his costume-making skills, too.
It’s student film season. Below is a list of the student screenings taking place in LA over the next month. Admission is free to all the screenings, but most require RSVPs.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 4: USC’s First Frame begins at 7pm at the DGA Theatre Complex (7920 Sunset Blvd.) in Hollywood. Details on films and filmmakers at USC website.
THURSDAY, MAY 5: CalArts Experimental Animation Showcase screening at the RedCat (631 West 2nd Street) in downtown LA. Screening begins at 8pm. Reservations encouraged. Call the box office at (213) 237-2800. More details on the Experimental Animation Tumblr.
FRIDAY, MAY 6: Woodbury University’s Animation Showcase begins at 7pm and 8pm in the Fletcher Jones Auditorium on the school’s Burbank campus. All seating is reserved. Please call (818) 252-5123 to reserve your spot.
THURSDAY, MAY 12: CalArts Character Animation Producer’s Show begins at 8pm. No location announced or on-line info about films being shown, but you can make a reservation by emailing [email protected] or calling (661) 253-7818.
SATURDAY, JUNE 4: UCLA’s Animation Prom is at the James Bridges Theater on the school’s campus. There are two screenings–5:00 and 8:30pm. The premiere screening at 5pm is when they hand out the awards, and also when June Foray makes an appearance. More info on the UCLA website.
Here’s a rare image of a couple of Disney greats who are rarely seen together: Mary Blair and Fred Moore. It’s at a wrap party for Three Caballeros hence the South American regalia. The guy putting the moves on Mary is Larry Lansburgh, a cameraman and the assistant production supervisor of Three Cabs.
Last night, ASIFA-East held their 42nd annual Animation Festival. The Best in Show prize went to Andy Kennedy’s Accumulonimbus, which we featured on Cartoon Brew last August. ASIFA-East president David Levy also won two of the top awards: Best Educational Film and 1st Place for Independent Film. He’s a nice guy so let’s all look the other way and pretend that’s not a conflict of interest.
How bad was the opening of Mike Disa‘s Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil? It made Simon Wells’s Mars Needs Moms look like a Hollywood blockbuster. The release, by the perpetually animation-clueless Weinsteins, debuted in sixth place with a pitiful $4.1 million (est.) from 2,505 theaters. Its per-theater average was $1,653, which at current 3-D prices equals something like two viewers per theater.
The opening of Fast Five dropped Carlos Saldanha’s Rio to second place with $14.4M (est.). The Blue Sky pic has now banked $103.6M in the United States, and more impressively, $364.3M around the globe. The other animated film in the US top ten was Illumination’s Hop which ranked 9th with $2.6M. The US total stands at $105.3M.
Tonight at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, President Barack Obama released his birth video, which turned out to be an animation-related joke. He then followed it by saying, “I want to make clear to the Fox News table — that was a joke. That was not my real birth video. That was a children’s cartoon. Call Disney if you don’t believe me. They have the original long-form version.”
Young Song, a surfacer who has worked at DreamWorks Animation since 2003, is being accused of climbing into a neighbor’s yard and shooting a German Shepherd puppy with a pellet gun. Then he returned and hammered the dog into a “bloody, motionless pulp.” The dog is still missing but a surveillance video exists. “It’s one of the worst cases we’ve ever seen,” Hillary Gatlin of the the Pasadena Humane Society told the NY Daily News. Song is being held on bail, and faces up to four years in prison if convicted. Though his actions are unjustifiable, a neighbor has described Song in terms that make one wonder if there’s more to the story: “He’s a very nice and kind person. He has three dogs of his own and chickens in the backyard. It’s a total surprise.”