Thompson was the co-curator of the opening night program, "Animation
Attack!", which screened at the Eastside Lounge, a cozy little
mini-metro-plex of a club that is in the lower east side of Atlanta.
In the tradition of ANY opening night, there were a few house management
screw ups, i.e., WE were there before the bar manager had opened
the place up! However, the crowd and film fest management was so
laid back that this was nearly a non-issue. Except for the HEAT.
Once inside with a glass of chardonnay and a short welcome from
Thompson, "Animation Attack! - Part One" began to spin away on the
screen in the mezzanine of the club. "Animation Attack!" was a two-part
program of a teasingly unknown quantity of shorts. (Part Two screened
on Saturday.) Friday's portion included no less than 11 pieces.
(There was no 'official' program with an updated list of shorts
or print sources, so I am recapping from the anticipated schedule
listed on the AUFF website, and from memory and IMDB.)
Animation Attack! -
With only a couple of exceptions, each short displayed a cool
visual style and, most importantly to me, wit and pace! There was
a virtual lack of 'animated navel gazing' in the name of art, which
usually produces 10 minutes of self indulgent Rorschach tests. That's
not to say that there wasn't some self indulgence in this program
of shorts, but at least the volume of violence and humor made it
easier to digest.
In alphabetical order...
SH!T (Dir. Bob Ray - 5 min.) "The original monkey-naut
Albert shoplifts a four pack of wine coolers from the local convenient
store and all hell breaks loose." It's what he uses to shoplift
with that was just a hoot! This is part of a series and this particular
episode can be seen here
on Super Deluxe.
Fight(Dir. Christy Karacas - 4 min.) It's
just a biker bar, where a fight breaks out. And gets bigger. And
BIGGER! A delightfully wacky and surreal explosion of violence in
a tiny setting. AND it had a great twist at the end!
X(Dir. Nick Kunin - 7 min.) This was one of only
a couple of shorts that I just didn't get. Apparently, it is part
of a series, which would explain the exceptionally spotty plot involving
vampires and a NASA scientist. I think. Visually, it was fine. I
just think that this episode was taken so far out of context that
I was confused.
of a Matriarch(Dir. Takuro Masuda - 3 min.)
This is so unique, both visually and narratively, that although
I can't say I completely understood it, I was never bored. Actually,
I think it deserves repeated viewings to fully appreciate it.
(Dir. Bryan Fordney - 6 min.) Well, this sort of baby obsessively
chases a can of soda through a Wonderland. Of sorts. Looks COOL,
though! OH! And this is on YouTube,
John Wayne(Dir. Vivian Wong - NY - 7 min.)
Though this might be a bit out of date, Wong does a no-holds-barred
visceration of masculinity, politics and war, by using the image
of John Wayne in outrageously violent and sexual ways. Though her
animation technique is a bit rough at the edges, her visuals are
Dog Walking(Dir. Sara Spink - 4 min.) This was
pure navel gazing. Sara Spink is a sculptress who has decided to
animate her sculpture, but to no visual or dramatic effect.
Baby's Cabana Street Fight 2006 (Dir. Paul Robertson
- 12 min.) This opened the evening and what a BLAST!! Literally!
It is a computer game gone completely out of control as our 'players'
run through scenarios littered (and I mean 'littered' as in TRASHED)
with mutant babies and aliens! It is horrifically, yet hysterically
violent! This, too is viewable at the film's site.
Sinking of the Hunley
(Dir. Drew Christie - 7 min.) What most visually set this apart
from being a 'fractured tales' version of the sinking of the Civil
War submarine, The Hunley, is that Drew Christie used pages from
old books as animation cel paper. This simple device gave the short
a really cool look, that added to the satire of the piece. There
is a video of the short being performed with live music on YouTube.
(What is NOT on YouTube, it seems?!)
War(Dir. Christy Karacas - 3 min.) At first,
I thought this was going to be a Don Herzfeldt rip-off. But it became
so much more! Simply drawn, yet artistically captivating, it was
joyfully pointless and wonderfully violent, just like the other
Karacas short earlier, BAR FIGHT! AND, yes, this too, is on
unAmericans(Darwin Berman, Micah Stansell,
Kevin Diggleman - 7 min. GA) I LIKED the script, as it is concerning
a PTA's censorship and control of a teacher, the theme is fittingly
progressive. However, the claymation is relatively crude and the
editing does not present the voice talent at its best. The pacing
is a bit sluggish for the parody it wants to be. However, it does
earn some chuckles. It just could be tightened up.
"Animation Attack! Part Two" promised to have the latest from Jim