FAST FILM (2003) by Virgil Widrich is one of those films that reminds me why I love animation in the first place: it’s a medium in which you can literally do anything you want. This film blew me away when I saw it at Annecy in ’04 so I was excited to find that my friends at the Animation Show have discovered it on YouTube. Usually the things that make an animated film great are the story, characters and animation, but FAST FILM is one of the rare instances where a film is great primarily because of its technique. The visuals were achieved by printing out thousands of film frames (over 65,000 to be exact) and folding them into three-dimensional shapes. The paper-objects were then photographed and composited in After Effects. I can’t even imagine the effort it took to mash-up hundreds of live-action films, often times with three to four films in each scene, and make it all work in a narrative context. It’s an incredible creative achievement.
The film is unlikely to ever find release in the US due to the fact that it uses unlicensed imagery from over 300 live-action features. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying it online. There’s a lengthy interview with the director, Virgil Widrich, and details on how to purchase the dvd, at the film’s official website. Be sure to also check out the “making-of” video and photos for more fascinating insights into the production process.