Savory Shorts to Remember

Posted by on Oct 8, 2008 in Feature Articles | No Comments

Article submitted by Stephanie Yuhas

If you have ever attended the Ottawa International Animation Festival, or any animation festival for that matter, I am sure you have experienced this phenomenon – Animation Amnesia. You go to a few shorts competitions – you laugh, cry, get angry, and inspired. After the final film plays and the house lights come up, you look at your Audience Ballot and all of a sudden…BRAIN FART! You can’t select your favorite because you don’t remember anything of the films you have just seen.

Don’t worry, Animation Amnesia is pretty normal and usually temporary. In most cases, your body is just responding to the severe emotional ups and downs that happen during shorts competitions, on top of actual physiological response to the barrage of new sights and sounds. Of course, all the awesome all-night, liquor-filled animator parties probably don’t help jog your memory, either!

Once you get back home and catch up on your sleep, a few exceptional films usually come to the forefront of your subconscious. The catchy tunes in your head, the stark visuals change your outlook on everyday objects, and you own work starts to reflect some of the techniques and sensibilities of your favorite work.

After my trip to the 2008 OIAF, here are a few shorts that managed to clear my foggy memory:

“I Slept With the Cookie Monster”: Kara Nasdor-Jones (USA), explores a young woman’s experience with domestic violence and motherhood. The painterly style matches the unbridled honesty of the personal story, which is probably why it won TWO awards at this year’s OIAF.

“Black Tea” by Serge Elissalsde (France) is a story about a tortured man that is afraid to drink a cup of tea. The raw, undulating style perfectly compliments the character’s amusing madness. I think everyone knows a paranoid, compulsive person like this – and if you don’t, then it’s probably YOU!

“Bernie’s Doll” by Yann Jouette (France) is a 3-D narrative short about a factory employee that finds happiness in a rubber sex doll that becomes his new girlfriend. Although the animation is a comedy, it  conveys a message about women escaping from their  role as sex objects. Also, for better or for worse, the image of the rat getting squashed in the first scene is permanently ingrained in my brain.

“Cattle Call”: Mike Maryniuk & Matt Rankin (Canada), was a hilarious experimental animation mix of cut-outs, light painting, photocopies, pixilation, puppets….and livestock. After watching this film, I simply cannot get the auctioneer’s rhythmic voice out of my head, and I find myself craving beef.

“Muto”, by Blu (Italy) was an abstract animation painted on walls throughout Baden and Buenos Aires. Every time I walk by a graffiti-covered wall, I expect it to explode into cubes and amorphous heads that spit out other heads. So far, the only actual moving wall animation I have seen in Philadelphia has been some hobo trying to spell his name out with a stream of his own urine.

“Western Spaghetti”, by infamous New York animator, PES, recreated a simple spaghetti recipe by taking found objects and creating a hilarious stop-motion buffet that is sure to please. Finally, someone has found a practical use for candy corn!

So, now that everyone is all rested, which films stick out in YOUR brain?  Feel free to comment on them here!