Wednesday, November 19, 2008

SF Intl. Animation Festival - Day 3, Seminar and Short Subjects

The Third Annual San Francisco International Animation Festival continued at Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema on Saturday, November 15, with a seminar on animated title sequences and a shorts program. I am especially grateful to the SF Film Society for bringing PLAY: THE ART OF THE ANIMATED FILM TITLE (A project of David Peters, Dav Rauch and Kai Christmann, Design Films, US, 2008, appox. 65 mins.)to the animation festival! The program played at the Mill Valley Film Festival, but I missed it there. (Thank you, too, to Bill Proctor, who caught me CHARGING into the theatre just as lights went down!) David Peters and Dav Rauch were present to speak to the abridged history of the animated title design, starting with the minor masterpieces of Saul Bass (MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, sadly unable to present IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD, though), Richard Williams (CHARADE, 007 films), and Fritz Freleng (THE PINK PANTHER) amongst the dozen or so artists presented. The sections were broken up into the abstract, narrative, and then the return to what could best be called "psychedlic abstract" (think ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER and it's boxes). Of the most recent examples, film title seems to have returned to narrative, i.e. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, JUNO, etc. I would guess that screening the clips in such an "educational setting" released the presenters from too much of a licensing issue. Otherwise, I could have easily sat through a solid 90 minutes of titles! It was a kick to go down "memory lane" as it were, not to mention some of the great work they screened!

CONTROL FREAKS was a collection of eight short subjects, which began with the twisted and delightful FANTAISIE IN BUBBLEWRAP (Arthur Metcalf, USA, 4 min), in which the loves, lives and lifespans of a community of bubblewrap-beings are exposed!

A CHILD'S METAPHYSICS (Koji Yamamura, Japan, 9 min) is almost as unsettling as his international breakthrough with MT. HEAD. The anatomy and world of children are transfigured in a surreal passage of physical identities. Yet, what makes this easier to take than MT. HEAD is that it is obviously the imaginations of the characters that are creating the creations and not some sort of freakish and upsetting act of nature. That is, unless you think about it too much... LOVED IT! And I hope that Yamamura will eventually produce a disk of a compilation of his work!

TEAT BEAT OF SEX: Episodes 8-11 (dir. Signe Baumane, USA/Italy, 7 min) This was a near hilarious, though at times disturbing, "sex education series" as presented by a specifically woman's point of view. They seem to be based on a series of monologues, though I can not be sure. Regardless, it got me to laugh out loud, which is always a good thing!

PROCRASTINATION (dir. Johnny Kelly, England, 5 min.) In which a stream of conscience is artistically presented in a nearly mind bending blend of animation techniques. Visually and aurally overwhelming at points. And even at the short run time of only 5 minutes, there are moments that the frustration of "procrastination" becomes almost as annoying for the viewer as the creator. However, seen by itself and not in a program of other shorts, the film would be a kaleidoscope of imagery.

THE CONTROL MASTER (dir. Run Wrake, England, 7 min) This is a pop-art/comic book/animation of pulp and advertising images is a cartoon spectacle, not unlike his previous work, the disturbing RABBIT, in which Run Wake takes exceptionally acceptable images and splices-and-dices them into his own little nightmares! Another compilation dvd to wait for!!

FOUR (dir. Ivana Sebestov√°, Slovak Republic, 16 min) Perhaps the most accomplished screenplay of the group is gorgeously realized by Ivana Sebestova. She is able to dissect and interweave the stories of four women, as their passions cross each others' lives. Perhaps almost too dreamily paced, but gorgeous and fascinating, none the less!

I am afraid that two of the offerings passed by without my memory: CABLE CAR (dirs. Claudius Gentinetta, Frank Braun, Switzerland, 7 min); CHAINSAW (dir. Dennis Tupicoff, Australia, 24 min). As the rest of the program was of such high quality, these two may have been lost in the bustle in my brain, with no slight on their work.

Maxxxxx says
re Titles and Shorts: "Sweet, sweet eye juice!"

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