Article written by Linda Beck.
Thursday, March 12th marked the date of both our Commercials/Promos and Sponsored Films over 2 Minute Category Jury Screenings. It was a short program, with the combo clocking in at an hour and a half.
As a televisionless audience member who relies primarily on guild screeners and Netflix for pop culture, Commercials/Promos is one of my favourite categories. I absolutely love commercials…especially commercials that are done well. This year’s set of 24 entries came from studios who’ve become familiar friends of our festival and from some new ones as well.
Leading off the night was Curious Pictures’ Nike ad “The Girl Effect,” and while I admit I’m a bit of a patsy for anything African by nature, I thought it was really nicely done and had an inspiring message about how one small change can have a major global impact. Justin Simonich’s Microsoft promo managed to make Microsoft something more interesting than I thought possible. Fran Krause’s “Rooftop Signal Film” was typically Fran Krausian, starkly designed and perfectly animated. Other entries next to which I took the time to scribble words on my program list were ACME Filmworks/Wendy Tilby & Amanda Forbis’ “Hydrogen” (My note: pretty!), Twinkle LLC’s “Unnatural History of Wall Street” (My note: Gorgeous drawings.), Mouris Squared’s “Be Creative At Your Library” (My note: COOL!), FlickerLab’s “Virginia Lottery” (My note: Good work with Pink Panther – that’s not easy!). The stand out piece of this category for me was “Butterfly” from ACME Filmworks/Wachtenheim and Marianetti, not just because it was beautiful, but because it looks like nothing I’ve ever seen from the talented Duo. Nothing’s cooler than seeing a creative team grow as artists.
Our Over 2 Minutes category also heaped on a helping of solid entries from the experienced and the newly arrived. ACME Filmworks/Janet Perlman’s “Hot Seat” about rabbits in an office is simply a gem. Jantze Studios had two strong entries, “Mr. Lux at Your Service” and “Youtube Bears,” both beautifully designed and nicely put together. PilarToons, LLC’s “My Sister’s Butt” cracked me up more than I really want to admit. Plymptoons’ music video “Mexican Standoff” was not only cool to look at, but has also left the song haunting my brain on loop for days now. There were two Schoolhouse Rock videos from Buzzco and Wachtenheim & Marianetti, which appealed to the nostalgic sides of us all and make me anxious for the onslaught of entries from the brilliant, revamped Electric Company sure to come in for next year’s jury screenings.
Last but not least in the stand out category, was “Davy Crockett in Outer Space” which was just awesome in design and animation and brought to us by Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata, and David Cowles.
Of course, my opinions are but a small percentage of the tally. Thanks to everyone who showed up to vote! As for the rest of you, you’re missing out. There’s a lot of stuff that’s not going to get in. This is the best way to see what your peers are up to!