Friday, October 16, 2009

Ottawa International Animation Festival - Day Two. Bunnies Abound

Day two of the animation festival began with an unusually well-attended "meet the filmmakers".

It's good to see these taken seriously by the Festival and the attendees. Unfortunately, Thursday's session could have been run a little better.

Above the Rauch Brothers wondering if "Q&A" referred to the extensive attention the moderator lavished on them and not simply their own film.

The last two filmmakers questioned finished up with a good deal of excitement. Both Philip Eddolls (Git Gob) and G. Melissa Graziano (Love on the Line) exhibited the same energy of their films.

Then a panel. "The Marriage of Art and Commerce" featuring Linda Simensky, Christy Karacas and Nick Cross.

Also a little loosely moderated, but the panels are interesting people.

Linda described her job as a development executive as a liaison between creator and network. Sort of a Hegelian synthesis. The relationship between the creator's thesis and the network's anti-thesis.

Then, work.

Liesje on the computer and call with client. Almost finished with the first deliveries.

Then, Paul Fierlinger's "My Dog Tulip".

I made the mistake of going in with expectations. I love his films.

Yesterday the radio play nature of several films rubbed me wrong. I'd prefer the radio. This film, based on a Brit's memoir, suffered the same problem.

Upon reflection, many of Fierlinger's films are like this. Continual narrative explaining what's happening -telling us the characters thoughts. In his most effective films "Still Life with Animated Dogs" and "Drawn From Memory" the voice is his own -making the non-fiction a personal revelation. Someone else's voice just feels like an anti-cinematic shortcut.

Then there was a bunny on the rooftop terrace of the mall where the film screened.

Next, another feature.

"Edison and Leo", a Canadian stop motion film. It wasn't very good.

The story didn't hang together. Maybe they should have worked on that longer. Maybe they should have brought in a writer to work out the problems.

It also makes me think that animation editors need to work on more live action films to fine tune their sense of what humans are really like.

The second shorts program was workmanlike. Nothing egregious. I had already seen Jonas Odell's "Lies". As always, its a strong piece. Also a radio play -but his visualizations exceed the soundtrack. Unfortunately, the subtitling is in white. Most of the picture plays against white backgrounds. A lot gets lost.

Janet Perlman's "Hot Seat" was charming and funny. The comic timing was solid.


Elliot Cowan said...

My Dog Tulip.
Were you disappointed or did you not like it?

Hot Seat is terrific and Git Gob is one of few films of recent times that I've returned to over and over again (perhaps because it's only a minute and a bit long).

roconnor said...

My Dog Tulip was OK.

I just expected better since his other films -even his shorts for Sesame Street or his miniseries for Oxygen -are incredible.

Its as though its first goal is to just get done, the reason most pieces of animation are lousy films. In that way it falls prey to many of the same poor conventions that animators use to tell stories. Saying everything in voiceover, illustrating the soundtrack.

It doesn't make any other the "unforgivable" mistakes that usually torpedo animated films-emotional dishonesty, shying from real human reactions, leaps of logic.

The biggest problem is that his other films are so good and his pieces about dogs are sublime. I anticipated the same emotional transformation here.

That's an unfair grounds for judgement, unfortunately unescapable.