Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Student Screening

Its ASIFA-East screening time.

I've avoided the awards evening for the past couple years.  I just don't see the value in rewarding mediocrity.

The interesting nights are the "competition" screenings, in which 3 plus action packed hours of animation are crammed in.

The student night is the best.  Or my favorite, at any rate.  

I look for different things in a student film than I would in a "professional" piece.  They are, by their nature, works in progress.  Occassionally there will be an otherworldly result like Son of Satan, but usually there are just hints and moments of something.

There were a number of solid little films, the best clearly being Stephen Neary's Chicken Cowboy.  Other strong efforts include Shih-Ting Hung's Viola: The Travelling Rooms of a Little Giant (which was too elegant and trickfilmy for ASIFA's notoriously boorish cartoon-crude crowd), Paris Maroidis' Divers (another bit of elegance this time in full CG.  Not amazing animation, but a nice little film and a strong piece in a medium that takes years longer than drawn animation to offer a respectable show), and Erin Filson's Milk Run (a lot of strong graphic ideas, well executed in a smartly told story).

The only two moments of elegance, unfortunately, were the CG and motion graphics pieces mentioned above.  I hope to spot at least a fleeting bit of animation panache in these student shows, but almost all of the drawn films were told through cuts, tracebacks and bad cycles.  Some people have mastered moments of dynamic trickery but show no understanding of fundamentals.

Here are some of my notes:

SM (stop motion) decent models/gimmacks lousy editing

cartoon, a little sloppy, ugly w/ moments

decent AE (AfterEffects) production not much ani. (mation)

AE some (production) value, terrible animation

should be cut better weak design/draught(ing)/ani.

clever, fun ideas, poor fundamentals

drawn, can't animate characters, but ok

See any trends?

Anyway the real reason to go to these events is to hang out with Fran Krause afterwards.

(we laid waste to some chips)


David B. Levy said...

Hi Richard,

I'm always interested in peoples thoughts on the jury screenings and on the festival. I do hope you make it back to the awards night sometime. With such a democratic process we are bound to not make everyone happy, but I am proud that we are the fairest animation festival in the world. Our open jury process with films picked by members is unique in animation festivals... even when one doesnt agree with the results.

On your comment, "ASIFA's notoriously boorish cartoon-crude crowd," I can't agree or disagree. If people want to vote, let them come. Some of my favorite smart animators were not at the screening yesterday. I miss their taste and their judgement and I hope they make it to some of our other screenings. If there is a boorish cartoon-crude crowd, its because some of our members of good taste aren't showing up and voting. In their non-vote, they help cast a vote for "boorish cartoons."

frankrause said...

Is that a sweatsock next to the salsa? I don't remember taking off my socks.