Screening out of competition at the Festival is a series of films from professional animators and studios. Each film on offer showcases the variety of animation techniques that are being used today and the wealth of emotional and engaging storytelling that is being put across.
The Chronicles of Oldrich S., Rudolf Smid
Showing a debt to the stop-motion animation techniques of Jan Svankmajer, Rudolf Smid’s The Chronicles of Oldrich S. is a charming ode to twenty years of Czech history.
Taking place entirely on a kitchen table, Smid explores the journal of one Oldrich S. as he lists events both personal (his daughter’s marriage) and national (the fall of communism) that have occurred in his lifetime. While Oldrich narrates, Smid briefs life into these events via a collection of models and cardboard cut outs that contrasts a level of humour against Oldrich’s matter-of-fact delivery.
Friendsheep, Jaime Maestro
Friendsheep by Jaime Maestro is the tale of a wolf in sheep’s clothing in this CG short. An anthropomorphic wolf gains a job at an office occupied solely by sheep: though initially his intentions are less than honourable (wanting nothing more than to have his new co-workers for dinner), he soon begins to take to them and forces himself to suppress his inner-desire.
Maestro’s animation skills are clear to see, rendering models that are full of life and cheer, while he manages the difficult task of filling a children’s animation with content to keep the adults appeased with relative ease.
Son Indochine, Bruno Collet
Son Indochine by Bruno Collet concerns the legacy of the First Indochina War and the effects it still has on one man in the present age. Shaken by a locust ornament given to him by his granddaughter on his 80th birthday, Emile begins to recollect his early years fighting in Vietnam and the painful memories that still haunt him.
Collet employs rotoscoping, a technique known primarily from the animated films of Richard Linklater, to face his viewer with the stark realities of war while maintaining transient and dream-like visuals that are in keeping with the theme of memory and trauma.
The Whale Story, Tess Martin
Tess Martin’s The Whale Story is a quirky piece of cinema cut straight from the cloth of the American Independent movement.
Mixing actors and paintings animated via stop motion photography, Martin’s film tells the story of a whale trapped in fishing nets and one fisherman’s attempts to break the stricken mammal free. Succeeding in his quest, the fisherman shares a surprising moment of connection with the creature before it swims away to its freedom. A thought-provoking meditation on the limits of empathy and communication.
This post was written by Chris Shackleton, who writes about film over at filmcraicwithchrisshack.