September 24, 2008
Hot on the heels of the Ottawa International Animation Festival, the Cinematheque quebecoise is offering a festival highlight in Montreal. Jonas Odell's retrospective, Revolver Bang! Bang! will be shown on September 24th, and it repeats on September 26.

I've provided a loose translation of Marco de Blois's description on the CQ website.

In 1981 in Stockholm, three students who loved illustration and animation formed a studio they named Filmtecknarna. Initially, Jonas Odell, Lars Ohlson and Stig Bergqvist dedicated their activities to production and direction of short auteur films. But a few years later, a new opportunity presented itself for the directors. Private television stations in Sweden had a demand for content that the studio worked to satisfy. Therefore, the founders threw themselves into the direction of television animation, commercials and music videos, as well as returning periodically to short films.

Imprinting an incomparable stylistic cohesiveness to their productions, Filmtecknarna attained international reknown. When one has clients, for example, like Ikea, BMW, U2 and Franz Ferdinand, one can meaningfully consider one's notoriety.

Another key moment in Filmtecknarna's history occurred in 1993 when festivals the world over attacked by an unidentified object, Revolver, which brought together the three founders and Martti Ekstrand. Even today it exerts a fascination the holds the spectator: this strange black and white film, made with looped movements and evoking the aesthetic of Muybridge and the Fleischer brothers, reveals a story of the world with nothing left but a few mysterious fragments.

Odell went on to follow a fruitful career in music videos, without abandoning short auteur films, deepening his approach in which the desire to seize the real applied itself on his sense of design that, paradoxically, has little to do with realism. In Family & Friends, he dives into his memory to create the coloured portrait of jaded people he has met in which the memory haunts him still. For the acclaimed Never Like the First Time!, winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2006, he provides a graphic counterpoint to real interviews with people who recount a defining moment of their existence: their first sexual encounter.

The programme, curated by the filmmaker himself, is composed of Revolver, My Best Friend Plank, Family & Friends, Never Like the First Time! and a series of music videos created for Franz Ferdinand, U2, Goldfrapp, The Hours, Audio Bullys, Erasure, Feeder et Mad Action. The Cinémathèque acquired a new 35mm copy of Revolver in 2006 thanks to the five generous donors. In addition, the filmmaker has a special surprise, his most recent film, Lies, which just had its world premiere at the Mostra de Venise.

Here's another video directed by Odell: Smile, by The Cobbs.

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September 17, 2008

It's been a crazy year, but I have been looking forward to the Ottawa International Animation Festival, well.. since the last one ended. This is always the case.

Emru will miss his first festival since 1988, but Brenden Fletcher, Rene Walling and I will be taking in the fest, and we'll try to bring some of it back to you, too.

As usual, there lineup is exceptional. I don't know how I am going to make to all of the special screenings and retrospectives. Just a few of my must-see list items include the Michael Sporn and Jonas Odell retrospectives, Brainwashed! Cartoons That Tell Us What To Think, and The New Wave of Japanese Animation.

Richard Williams' presentation (in interview with John Canemaker) would be in my list, but it's sold already out, which is altogether unsurprising considering the circumstances. If there are any seats left 15 minutes before the event, rush tickets will be sold, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I will have to satisfy myself with a special screening of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? instead. I'm also looking forward to the Yo Gabba Gabba! presentation on Saturday.

I haven't even gotten into the masterclasses, workshops and panels. Honestly, it's like trying to bail out the ocean with a bucket. I'm going to enjoy trying!

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