January 16, 2007

Last week, the Sundance Film Festival announced that selected shorts would be available for purchase at Apple's iTunes store this year. According to their official podcast (from January 12, 2007) Sundance was the first film festival to stream films online, and they continue to break new ground with this announcement. Short films, and animated short films in particular are perfectly suited to this type of digital delivery. Distribution has always been difficult in this arena, and here's hoping we see more festivals follow suit.

You'll be able to view shorts for free starting January 18, 2007 at festival.sundance.org/2007/ and they should remain online through June 2007. Nearly half the shorts in this years program will appear on iTunes starting next Monday, January 22, 2007 www.itunes.com/sundance and while it hasn't been announced which animated shorts we'll get to see online or on iTunes, The Animation Spotlight program features these 8 films, 3 of which also happen to be Oscar nominees*, ehr, correction, make that Oscar contenders (who didn't actually make the Academy Awards shortlist):

Updated January 18:

Destiny Manifesto by Martha Colburn, U.S.A., 2006
Dreams and Desires—Family Ties by Joanna Quinn, United Kingdom, 2006 *
Duct Tape and Cover by Yong-Jin (Gene) Park, U.S.A., 2005
Everything Will Be OK by Don Hertzfeldt, U.S.A., 2006 *
Golden Age by Aaron Augenblick, U.S.A., 2006
One Rat Short by Alex Weil, U.S.A., 2006 *
Paulina Hollers by Brent Green, U.S.A., 2006
Phantom Canyon by Stacey Steers, U.S.A., 2006

In addition, these four films are part of the Shorts/Shorts with Features Program:

How She Slept At Night by Lilli Carre, U.S.A., 2006 (Shorts with Features)
In Passing by Christopher Thomas Allen & Robert Rainbow, United Kingdom, 2006 (Shorts with Features)
The Tragic Story of Nling by Jeffrey St. Jules, Canada, 2006 (Shorts Program)
t.o.m. by Tom Brown & Daniel Gray, United Kingdom, 2006 (Shorts with Features)

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January 22, 2006
It's back to blogging, in earnest!

2006 Sundance Film Festival Online

The Sundance Film Festival for 2006 has begun, and once again this year, a selection of films are available free for online viewing. While you won't be able to see any of the 120 full length features, you can catch 50 of the 80 short films from the program.

The official spokespuppet for the 'Keep It Free' campaign has returned this year, sponsored by none other than Adobe Systems who brought the free screenings to the web last year. Mr. Director Puppet (who is yet unnamed) appears in front of the camera in a number of comical clips that can be seen throughout the site.

Of the 50 short films you can view online, 7 of these are animated, and there's a short documentary entitled 'The Tribe' which features special animations by Stefan Nadelman of Curious Pictures. 'The Tribe' is an unorthodox, unauthorized history of the Jewish people and the Barbie doll by Tiffany Shlain, founder of the Webby Awards. It's also clever, thoughtful, and designed to provoke some cultural dialogue, complete with a DVD & discussion kit that can be purchased from the film's own website. The remaining 7 animated shorts premiere online January 22nd, where they should be available for viewing for the foreseeable future...

CLARA - Australia - Directed by Van Sowerwine - TRT 7:00//Color
A stop motion animation about a twelve year old girl whose world has just changed forever.

FABLE - U.S.A. - Directed by Daniel Sousa - TRT 7:00//Color
An animated short film loosely based on a traditional Welsh fairy tale, "Fable" introduces us to a lyrical world of magic and transformation. A solitary hunter and a house-bound woman are cursed to forever be apart.

FUMI AND THE BAD LUCK FOOT - U.S.A. - Directed by David Chai - TRT 7:00/Other/Color
The story of Fumi and her extremely unlucky foot, which instigates a shotgun barrage, a wild moose attack, and infant electrocution.

GOPHER BROKE - U.S.A. - Directed by Jeff Fowler & Tim Miller - TRT 4:00/Other/Color
No matter how hungry a gopher may be, there is no free lunch.

A HALF MAN - Canada - Directed by Firas Momani - TRT 5:00//Color
A half of a man has trouble living in society without his organs falling out.

Los ABCs: ¡Que Vivan los Muertos! - U.S.A. - Directed by John Jota Leaños - TRT 5:00/Other/Color
Do you remember your ABCs? No? Well, you're in luck. Sing along with this group of animated mariachi social documentarians.

THE TRIBE - U.S.A. - Directed by Tiffany Shlain (special animations by Stefan Nadelman) - TRT 18:00/DV/Color
Tiffany Shlain, the founder of the Webby Awards, offers an unorthodox, unauthorized history of the Jewish people and the Barbie doll.

YESTERDAY, I THINK - United Kingdom - Directed by Becalelis Brodskis - TRT 6:00/35 mm/Color
Once there was a baby who made those around him hate...A film inspired from the book of illustrated poems Three scenes from every day Life. Poems by Jonathan Lewis.

And though I won't be attending Sundance in person, I am going to pick three more films that you won't be able to catch online, but you must promise to watch for. They are:

1. From the category of SHORT FILMS - ANIMATED SHORT:
The Wraith of Cobble Hill by American Adam Parrish King is a stop-motion animated film that was shot in the small studio space of a one-bedroom apartment, and it took almost five years to complete.

At the Quinte Hotel by Canadian director Bruce Alcock is an animated version of the Al Purdy poem by the same name, about a man who waxes on about beer and flowers in a small-town basement tavern (won Best Canadian Animation at the Ottawa Animation Festival 2005).

3. From the category of FRONTIER SHORT:
Fantome Afrique by UK director Isaac Julien features cinematic and architectural references woven through the rich imagery of urban Ouagadougou and the arid spaces of rural Burkina Faso in Africa.

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