Sunday, November 27, 2011

AIFF 2011: Animated Films in Competition - Ducks, Nuts, Mutant Chickens, Zombies, and More

The 2011Anchorage International Film Festival starts in less than a week - Friday, Dec. 2.

These are the animated films that have been chosen by the screening committees as the best and they are in competition for the festival prizes.

All the Animated Films in Competition will be in the same program this year, so seeing them all will be much easier.  See the schedule at the bottom. 

8 Second Dance  Trey Moya  USA  8 minutes

8 Second Dance was created by 12 students at the University of Colorado Denver's Digital Animation Center.

8 Second Dance from Bart Tyler on Vimeo.

Attack of the Killer Mutant Chickens [Murgi Keno Mutant] Nayeem MahbubBangladesh 15 minutes

Nayeem Mahbub
Mutant Chickens just started on the film festival circuit in September. It's already won Best Animated Film at the Rockport Film Festival and the Offshoot Film Festival. Nayeem Mahbub seems to have many overlapping roles - columnist for the Independent (Bangladesh), BBC producer/director, and graduate of Oberlin in cinema studies.

Probably, when most Americans hear the word Bangladesh, if they have any image of the country at all, think about poverty and flooding.  They probably don't think about
Bangla poet and philosopher Rabindrananth Tagore (1861 - 1941) was the first Asian novelist to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. The award was for an English translation of his mystical poem "Gitanjali" (Song offerings).[From]
Or that's it's the 9th most populous country in the world with over 142 million inhabitants.  So it's good that we have a film from Bangladesh.

Not quite Tagore, in this film killer mutant chickens terrorize Bangladesh, but it's much better than that description sounds.

Landscape With Duck Patrick Neary  USA 4 minutes

This is a hand drawn animation about a duck who's late for migration and has to find his own way south.  Kinografx's facebook page says Duck's flying north to Anchorage for the festival. Does that mean Patrick Neary is coming along? [UPDATE 11/27/11 - 1:13pm: Comment below says 'yes.'  Also, I see I missed that Northwest Animation Festival selected  "Landscape with Duck" for their Best of the Fest.]

Nuts For Pizza  David Andrade  USA  2 minutes

This 2:21minute animation has 32 people listed in the credits.  Back in July last year, the Director posted a request on CGSociety requesting internet collaboration on this film.   The sums up what happened next:
Nuts for Pizza represents a new wave of film-making techniques and is the first truly online collaborative animated short film. Simply by logging into a website, artists from the United States and Canada were given the means to produce Nuts for Pizza without ever meeting in person. In total, 32 skilled artisans worked together to produce the short, which was inspired by actual events.
Theory Animation began in early 2008, born from the desire to allow artists hundreds of miles apart to collaborate in a studio-like setting over the Internet. Because nothing like this had existed before, the goal was to create an easily-accessible portal that would allow anyone to use their skills to contribute to creative projects in production. With talented artists scattered throughout the globe, Theory Animation crosses borders and marries technology with art.
It's been at a few festivals so far won a Grand Festival Award at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival November, 2011.   Here's a medley of three different animations by director David Andrade.  The Nuts for Pizza clip begins at 45 seconds.

2011 Reel from David Andrade on Vimeo.

Something Left, Something Taken Ru Kuwahata Max Porter  USA 10 minutes

Their vimeo site has a picture of Max and Ru which I've paired up with a screen shot of the main characters from Something Left, Something Taken.

This one fits neatly in a theme I've mentioned on this blog at various times:  We see what we're conditioned to see.  This video below is the whole movie.  You can see it with French or Japanese subtitles at their Vimeo page.

Something Left, Something Taken- Full Version from Tiny Inventions on Vimeo.

Check their bi-lingual blog (Japanese and English) and this interview at Wacky Shorts Creations where they each answer the question: 

HW: What does being able to draw mean to you?
RK: Being able to create a world from nothing.

MP: Drawing can mean a lot of different things A drawing can be pure communication or a plan for something else. Sometimes the drawing is a finished product and sometimes it a way to study the world around us. I guess it’s all about the context.

This Is Not Real  Gergely Wootsch  UK 7 minutes

Gergely, according to his website, is a Hungarian who's living in London recently got his MA at the Royal College of Art in Animation.  By the way, he's planning to be in Anchorage for the festival. 

This is Not Real - Trailer from Gergely Wootsch on Vimeo.

Year Zero Richard Cunningham  USA  24 minutes
Richard Cunningham
HTML Tables

This is an animated zombie movie. Last year Elias Matar explained that Ashes was an "infected" movie rather than a zombie movie and this too seems to fit in the infected category, but I'm not an expert on these things.

The photo is a screen shot from Zombies 

"He spent 14 to 16 hour days at work in his Astoria basement apartment while "slowly draining away my savings." Without training as an illustrator or animator, the one-time Bard College student depended on online tutorials and forums and, for much of the process, a 10-year-old computer.
"I learned so much from 15-year-olds, just how to solve problems in Final Cut [video editing software]," Cunningham said. "It's kind of embarrassing listening to this pubescent kid tell you what to do, and yet they're totally right.'"Read more:

Video from DNAInfo

They will all be part of the porgram called "Animation World-Wide"  which will show twice at the Alaska Experience Theater and twice at Out North.

Day Time Venue
Sunday Dec 4 12 pm Alaska Experience

Tuesday Dec. 6
7pm Out North
Friday Dec. 9 7:20 pm Alaska Experience
Saturday Dec 10 6pm Out North

Seven addition animated films will be part of the Animation World-Wide package.

One thing to pay attention to when you watch these films is the difference between hand drawn and computer drawn animation.  I'm not taking sides, but viewers should pay attention and learn to distinguish between the two.  Here's part of a blog post in which Tom Benthin addresses this:
I’ll start by saying that I believe that drawings that are hand-made and loosely or roughly drawn engage us more, drawing us into the process of animating what we’re viewing. By “animating” I mean the way we bring a drawing to life in our mind. Here’s a cartoon from the New Yorker that I’ve shown to graphic facilitation classes I’ve taught over the years:
You can read the whole post and see his illustrations here. 

If you want even more, in 2002, David Mitchell wrote a Masters Report on The Future of the Cartoon Feature Film.  But that's like a historical document given how fast technology is changing.


  1. Looks like a great animation line-up! Patrick Neary (Landscape With Duck) and I are looking forward to coming up to Anchorage for the festival.

  2. Awesome! So excited to see all of these animated films. I am screening a stop motion & live action short film called "Nanuq" as a Snowdance short. Check it out!

    [Nanuq website]


  3. I'm also a big animation fan, so thanks for posting this as well.


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