With several big budget funny animal epics opening almost weekly, 2006 may well go down as the year of CG feature burnout. But 2006 may also be noted for the start of what could, hopefully, be another trend – the dawn of the independent animation revolution. Three strikingly different animated features, being released this year, should be noted. Three, created by individualistic filmmakers who animated their films virtually by themselves.Bill Plympton pioneered the one-man animated feature film. His latest, Hair High, has been on the festival circuit for the past few years, garnering great acclaim. This fall Hair High starts its official theatrical release with initial playdates in Portland, New Mexico and New York City. If you’ve enjoyed Bill’s past features and shorts, you are in for a treat – this is his best yet.Stop motion animator Christiane Cegavske has recently completed Blood Tea And Red String after 12 years of painstaking work. It’s a dark “fairy tale for grown ups” and has posted some great reviews upon its opening last week in Manhattan.Hollywood animator Phil Nibbelink spent four-and-a-half years making Romeo & Juliet: Sealed With A Kiss. According to Steve Gordon on Animation Nation:
Phil animated all 112,000 drawings on a graphic tablet in Flash and painted the backgrounds with Painter. From what I can tell from the trailer it doesn’t look like typical flash, it looks like normal 2D. He also used a program (that I’ve never heard of before) called Moho for some limited shots and crowd scenes.
Nibbelink is trying to compete with the traditional studios’ G-rated kiddie pics. It opens in selected California cities on Oct. 27th.All three share the fact that they are low budget productions; that each is recieving limited theatrical showings; and that each expect to recoup their costs with DVD sales. Each of them provide an alternative to the major studio family fare – and hopefully they will inspire other animators to take a chance on their personal projects.