Tuesday, December 07, 2010

AIFF 2010: How'd This Film Get In? Commercials Don't Belong Here. Even Classy Ones.

Jeff Chiba Stearns is a great animation artist. His film about Yellow Stickies a couple of years ago at AIFF was clever and well executed. He used yellow stickies to make his film. He even got the interest of 3M which makes yellow stickies. All well and good. I even have a yellow bunny post-it pad he gave out at his animation workshop which was one of the best I've ever been to. Real hands on. I did a post of his film including a video with him about it.

Art Fry picks up yellow post it at 3M Headquarters
But his animated film this time seemed to me to be more of a corporate commercial - or as Public Television would call it an underwriter announcement. It's about the 30th anniversary of the yellow stickie pads and some pads sitting around a computer see a father's day card. So they google (actually it's some generic search engine) father's day and find out Father's Day is. The stickie then googles 'father of post-it notes" which leads the stickie to make a trip to 3M headquarters to meet Art Fry the Father of the Yellow Post-It note.

BUT, it's really a commercial. Jeff's LinkdIn page says:
Currently, Meditating Bunny Studio Inc. has moved into commercial production and has begun production on a viral video for 3M Canada's 30th Anniversary of the Post-it Note.
I understand that 'commercial production' doesn't necessarily mean 'producing commercials.'   But AIFF isn't an advertising film festival. This animated film should not be in the festival. Unless maybe 3M was a major sponsor of the festival.  There are other venues for this kind of work.   Like the ClIO's.

Not only is "Ode to a Post-It Note" in the festival, it was picked as an Animation in Competition.  It's in the running for the best animation film at AIFF 2010.  A commercial!  That will help raise our stature as a serious film festival.  

So how did it get in?  Well, here's what the AIFF submission rules say:
The competition is open to any film or video completed after to January 1, 2009 regardless of content, subject, or origin.  The film cannot be screened in Alaska or the USA on broadcast cable TV before December 17, 2010.
So, technically, McDonald's ads and even Miller and Murkowski ads could start showing up in the animated and shorts programs, as long as they are reasonably well made and haven't aired yet on US television. [Why does it say in Alaska or the USA as though Alaska were not in the USA?]  Is that where we want AIFF to go?  Corporations could test their commercials by sending them to film festivals first.  That's not the direction I'd like to see this festival go.

I think the committee should look into revising the submission rules to keep commercials, even good ones, out of the festival.  Or, if they insist on leaving things wide open, commercials should be labeled as such and put in a separate program.  People who want to see 90 minutes of commercials can go there.  (I say this knowing that Out North shows the best British commercials every year.)

My objections, I'm sure, are based on some underlying but yet unarticulated concern about the commercialization of everything.  Perhaps others can express it better, or explain why I'm wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be reviewed, not for content (except ads), but for style. Comments with personal insults, rambling tirades, and significant repetition will be deleted. Ads disguised as comments, unless closely related to the post and of value to readers (my call) will be deleted. Click here to learn to put links in your comment.