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This Way Up by Smith & Foulkes

This Way Up

The Animation Show has announced the film line-up for their fourth annual tour, and the most exciting piece being offered, in my opinion, is the premiere of an exclusive short film by the British commercial directing duo Smith & Foulkes.

Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes are among my favorite directors working in commercial animation today. Evidence of their terrifically innovative and humorous commissioned work can be seen here, here, here, here and here. As far as I know, this is the first personal piece they’ve produced since beginning to work as professional directors, and if it’s as fresh and original as their commercial work, it should be something special.

The new Animation Show has some other promising works in their line-up including Stefan Muller’s Mr. Schwartz, Mr. Hazen & Mr. Horlocker, the hilarious Japanese series Usavich and an exclusive new short by PES called Western Spaghetti. This year’s Show, however, is a major departure from previous years in that the lineup is not particularly challenging or artistically meritorious, and it’s heavily geared towards lighter and goofier fare, especially from younger directors.

A film like Angry Unpaid Hooker veers dangerously close to Spike & Mike territory, and while it’s a fairly amusing piece, it’s also an aesthetic eyesore that’s more suited for online viewing than bigscreen theatrical exhibition. Similarly, Luis Nieto’s Far West is more gimmick than film and not the quality of programming that we’ve come to expect from the Animation Show. Bottom line: There’s good stuff in this year’s program and I’m looking forward to checking it out, though I can’t promise the overall experience will be as great as years past. The first screenings of the 2008 show take place on April 25 in Austin, Texas and Columbus, Ohio.