Monday, December 02, 2013

AIFF2013: Animated Films In Competition

These are the animated films chosen by the screening committee to be in competition for festival awards.  They are mostly pretty short and they all play in one program (Animation) twice during the festival.   So, it's best to just go see them and be surprised without too much hype beforehand.  This is just a peek to whet your appetite with no spoilers.  I haven't seen any of them yet - just a few trailers.

Films in the whole program (all 18 short animations, not just the ones in competition) are overwhelmingly from the US, but there are also films from Australia, Canada, Luxembourg/France, and Switzerland.  The films range from 2 minutes to one outlier at 23 minutes.  (And if you want to see all the animated films, there are at least three more animated films that aren't in the animated program:

ANIMATION PROGRAM  - Two Chances To See Them

Saturday, Dec. 7 at 12 noon at the Alaska Exp large theater

Friday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 pm at the Anchorage Community Works* 

*349 E Ship Creek Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501

So, either on Pearl Harbor Day or Friday the 13th.

Here's a preview of the animated films in competition:


Katelyn Bianchini 


Blue was Katelyn's senior thesis at Chapman University according to her website.


Icarus Falls
Jesse O’Brien

Below is  2-D Animitic done in preparation of the eventual 3-D film that, I'm assuming, we'll see at the festival.  I don't see this as a spoiler, but a way to get a sense of how much work goes into one of these very short films and to help understand the process. Jesse's blog, where I got this, shows other steps in developing the visual characters.


Mister Super Juice
Mike Wellins    
Mr. Juice Swimming - Image from Mike Wellins
 "Mr. Super Juice is an important infomercial with Mr. Super Juice, himself, extolling the virtues of juicing and juicing machines. Mr. Super Juice speaks the truth when it comes to real juicing and delivers a dire warning for those who still aren't ready to worship at the altar of juice."
From a website Mike shares with his brother Dean, a Disney animation guy:
Mike Wellins has been an artist and filmmaker since age 8. Mike Graduated Merced Highschool and attended California State University, Chico, where he studied Art, English, Computer Animation and film and video production.

Mr. Hublot
Laurent Witz
Image from Zeilt Productions
(Real image is significantly more impressive}


This one has already won at least ten 'best' awards.  It's visually lush if this still is any indication.

I haven't been able to get very much on these films, but of what I have seen, this looks and sounds fantastic.  Check the Mr. Hublot website for very short trailers too.  


The Innovator
Sean McCarthy

Image from Dances With Films
Metro Active has a long story on Sean if you want to know who made this film.  It begins:
"He flash-mobbed the Oakridge Macy's with a cinematographer in a wheelchair and a crew of 15. He was cuffed and booked for the crime of guerrilla filmmaking. San Jose's Sean McCarthy spreads out from student pranks to the film-festival circuit."

I only got a slight sense of the films in competition.  It's clear that Mr. Hublot should be in this group.  I'm waiting to see the others.  I would note that Richard Cunningham's  "A Clean Break" is in the group, but not in competition.   Cunningham's 'Year Zero' was my favorite animated film in the 2011 festival - with a very original look. And apparently it's being made (finished?) into a feature.   I'm looking forward to seeing his new film.  He's a highly talented film maker with his own unique style and I'll be looking critically at the animated films to see why "A Clean Break" isn't in competition.  I'd also note that last time he didn't win any awards here either.  The films that did were very good, but for me Year Zero was a truly special film which broke new animation film ground. 

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