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With the amount of fiction and storytelling on show at our animation festival, it can be easy to overlook the creativity and imagination of animators working in the commercial sector.

Picking up on the vast variety of work in the animation world, the festival has allocated a slot in its official selection dedicated to Music Videos and Commercials, with a jury composed of designer Vivien Halas, animator and lecturer Erik van Drunen and film-maker Rob Morgan on hand to award one short of outstanding merit. The following is a selection of music videos and commercials in competition.

Easy Way Out, Darcy Prendergast

Easy Way Out, directed by Darcy Prendergast for recording artist Wally De Backer, uses stop motion photography in a way that highlights the chaos and confusion of a broken man.

The protagonist, played by Backer, finds himself repeating the same day over again as the camera, on a motion control rig, pans 360 degrees to show the cyclical and monotonous nature of his life. The message ‘CG SUX’, written in graffiti in one of the scenarios, references the amount of hard work, planning and ingenuity that goes into to good old-fashioned stop motion animation.

Let It Go, Ashley Dean

Let It Go, directed by Ashley Dean, is a quaint and charming piece of stop motion animation, this time using paper and card models over live actors. The piece sees its protagonist stranded on a desert island attempting to escape his fate and get back into the arms of his lover by building a ladder to the sky.

The Living Things, Phil Davis

The Living Things, directed by Phil Davis for recording artists the Spinto Band, begins with simple hand drawn animations of organisms that violently split off into separate beings (all the while smiling through the pain they are feeling) before finishing with a stop motion segment where the Spinto Band themselves defy gravity and dance along to the music.

Tennessee Honey, Pete Candeland

Heading the commercial sector is director Pete Candeland’s video Tennessee Honey for Jack Daniels in which a bee, kitted out in motorcycle helmet and safety goggles, crashes through the Deep South’s undergrowth in search of his favourite brand of whiskey. Candeland’s light modelling is fantastic while the accompanying strains of blues rock help make this the coolest commercial in the running.

AniFest Trailer, Matyáš Trnka

Matyáš Trnka’s trailer for AniFest uses a style reminiscent of shadow puppetry with Gamelan music helping to set a mood of eery beauty.

Cannonball Run, Dan Sumich

Meanwhile, Dan Sumich’s video Cannonball Run for Honda takes on a very Mad Max-esque theme with two Honda drivers (Agent White and Agent Black) racing against a horde of maniacal and monstrous automobiles. With a predominant black and white tone running throughout and with minimal use of colour and detail, Sumich’s video proves that the simplest designs are often the most effective.

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