I'm no expert on animation, but the session I previewed (most of the 15 films that make up International Program #1) showed an amazing array of talent, styles and imagination. For me, this format is an expression of the possible. In one sense there is a restriction (in terms of time) and in another sense, there is the freedom to explore and experiment. There is tremendous scope for expressing wild imaginings, surrealism and alternate realities.
To those who have not been to MIAF before, the variety of animation is awesome. There is huge diversity in the different types: stop motion, claymation, hand-drawn, CGI and many variations of each of these. This is must-see stuff for fans of animation or short films, cinema students, and those looking for a bit of variety in the cinema scene.
Films have been assembled from around the globe. Some of the highlights include collections of the 'Polish masters'; the latest film by the award winning Russian, Aleksandr Petrov; a retrospective of the work of Fred Crippen, creator of Roger Ramjet; the best of Siggraph 2006 (Taiwan); and much more. There'll be discussions about animation, how to get a film made, full-day conferences and other satellite events - this is a serious festival indeed. If you've never been to MIAF before, I highly recommend catching at least one session to see what it's about.
Following are some of the films I previewed (most of the text is sourced from the MIAF website, with some additional comments by myself):
Once Upon A Time
(Jerome Dernoncourt, Samuel Deroubaix, Corentin Laplatte,
Clever & bizarre – a rollicking cavalacade of steam powered, wind up, mixed media madness. Merges excerpts from John Ford westerns into beautifully rendered CGI.
(V. Aupetit, M. Maleo, J. Irzenski, F de la Taille, A. Presal, CW Trebutien, France, 1'45)
Hey look – monkeys! And they’re not real happy bout the weird little aliens with the power zappers. Chaos.
(L. Vigroux, N. Laverdure, J Constantial, France, 5'45)
An intensely detailed film tapping a richly delicious, tormented surrealist vein of dancing through devastation. Visually stunning.
Journey To The Disney Vault
(Robert Marianetti, David Wachtenheim, Glen Steinmacher,
A wicked, behind the scenes look at what happened to Walt’s head – among other scarey Mouseland outrages.
The Red Shoe
A lady’s red shoe floats past a fisherman. An odd tale mixing corrupt local officials and mobile defibrillators.
(Luis Nieto, France, 4'00)
An experiment in mini marsupial slicing, inflating and exploding – all in the name of science, of course! This was one of my favourites.
The full scale of Schwizgebel’s unique ability to construct a rolling panorama of swirling, colourful perspective bending landscapes is given full flight in his latest masterpiece. An opening taste of a ‘technique focus’ this year – hand painted animation.