July 25, 2006
The Fantasia film festival just wrapped up last night and we're gearing up for the start of SIGGRAPH this weekend, but it's hard not to get excited over this year's recently unveiled lineup for the upcoming Ottawa International Animation Festival's competition screenings.
This year Ottawa is playing host to quite a few Canadian and world premieres, which is always exciting—there's nothing like seeing a film when the majority of the audience doesn't know what they're going to see. Most exciting for me is that one of the three features among the official selections is Kihachiro Kawamoto's Shisha no Sho (The Book of the Dead). I fell in love with Kawamoto's heartbreakingly beautiful stop-motion puppet animation when I saw Hanaori: Breaking of Branches is Forbidden almost twenty years ago, and have been looking forward to this movie for quite some time. (You can see a streaming Windows Media trailer here.) The feature version of Phil Mulloy's The Christies also appears, which should be interesting. When we spoke earlier this year The Christies was a series of shorts; I'm curious to see how such a minimalist production, which features such rapid-fire dialogue, can be sustained for 80 minutes.
Among the independent shorts I'm looking forward to are Chel White's A Painful Glimpse Into My Writing Process (In Less Than 60 Seconds), partly because I still get a chuckle just thinking of 1991's Photocopy Cha Cha and partly because I love the title; and Run Wrake's Rabbit, which I just saw at Fantasia and haven't been able to get out of my head. Imagine evil, greedy storybook-illustration children, a magical, all-consuming idol, and a soundtrack just disconcerting enough to evoke constant dread. Fun for the whole family.
PES's hilarious Game Over is listed as a world premiere, although we featured it in our newsletter almost two months ago; given that the Web is arguably the medium of choice for disseminating short films, I wonder how long it will take before festivals and other organizations decide that the Internet counts when it comes to release dates. All the more confusing is that there's a separate category for animation shorts made for the Internet; they're being shown on the big screen (some not for the first time), so should they really be in a separate category? Were these only ever meant for the Internet? If Game Over made its debut on the Internet, couldn't it arguably be said that it was made for the Internet? Is it the director's intent that makes the difference, or the end result?
More questions, and right now no answers. But one way or another, there's a lot to look forward to.