Thursday, April 28, 2011

Get with the Program

Yesterday I attended a late night screening of animated shorts at the San Francisco International Film Festival. The 9 films covered a range of styles & subject matter. Dromosphere, which apparently uses stop motion to turn a model car into a rotating blur of colored rods, was so tedious that the audience became audibly restless & started giggling. Someone asked aloud, "Is this really happening?" In Pixels, a stream of Lego-like colored blocks turns a live-action New York City landscape into a giant video game. It received a much more enthusiastic response. In A Purpleman, clay puppets act out the true story of a young North Korean "émigré" struggling with life in South Korea. Its child-like claymation style is at odds with its cruel & violent story. The External World is a relentlessly nasty series of sick jokes. It pretends that defecation, masturbation & decapitation are perfectly innocent occupations if enacted by cartoon characters.

Filmmakers Arjun Rihan & Jonn Herschend were present. Mr. Rihan's CGI film Topi was his thesis project at the University of Southern California. It tells a harrowing true story about his great-uncle, who had to flee during the partition of India. This short film took 20 months to make.

Mr. Herschend said he wanted to make something that was PowerPoint all the way through & that involved sex & drunkenness, because it's the wrong thing to do. So he ended up with Self Portrait as a PowerPoint Proposal for an Amusement Park Ride, a text-only PowerPoint presentation containing things that should not have been said. Festival programmer Sean Uyehara teased Mr. Herschend frequently during the Q & A. We also learned that Mr. Herschend is one of the people behind über-hip THE THING Quarterly.

§ Get with the Program
Animated shorts, 72 min

Self Portrait as a PowerPoint Proposal for an Amusement Park Ride
(Jonn Herschend, USA 2010, 6 min)

(Emily Hubley, USA 2011, 3 min)

Topi/The Cap
(Arjun Rihan, USA/India 2009, 6 min)

(Thorsten Fleisch, Germany 2010, 11 min)

Get with the Program
(Jennifer Drummond Deutrom, USA 2010, 4 min)

(Patrick Jean, France 2010, 3 min)

(Max Hattler, England 2010, 10 min)

A Purpleman
(Kim Tak-hoon, Yoo Jin-young, Ryu Jin-young, Park Sung-ho, South Korea 2010, 14 min)

The External World
(David O’Reilly, Ireland/Germany 2010, 15 min)

San Francisco International Film Festival 54
Sat, Apr 23 9:45 / Kabuki
Wed, Apr 27 9:30 / New People
Thu, May 5 5:00 / New People

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