The Slamdance Film Festival has a section set aside for animated shorts. (Some of the films is other sections are also animated, but this report will focus on the Animated Shorts Section. There are a wide variety of styles and approaches represented. Some of these films are art school projects. Some strike me as somewhat experimental with the form. Here are some of my impressions.
Bad Mood. (10 minutes, directed by Loris Giuseppi Nese) A recounting by a girl/woman at ages 11, 16, and 21 of her mother working as a domestic worker taking care of dying people for €5/hour. She must deal with getting attached to patients, then losing them. As the girl grows older, she too must go to work.
Friend of a Friend. (15 minutes, directed by Zachary Zezima) A story of a sexual assault, revenge, and sexual ambivalence.
Knife Hanging From a Tree. (4 minutes, directed by JiHee Nam) This is a piece that is really more about experiencing the art and sound, rather than a traditional telling of a story.
Lizard Ladder.(6 minutes, directed by Ted Wiggins) Another that isn’t so much about story, but the artwork around the dog, lizard, and snake that are in the film is interesting.
Molly Dane. (7 minutes, directed by Ida Lasic). A cocktail party fundraiser and a death occurs. Not really fond of the artwork in this one.
Opera. (9 minutes, directed by Erick Oh) A mesmerizing world of tiny people in a pyramidal hierarchy. Each little section is busy with its own activity. There’s working, worship, war, and rebirth. What a pleasure to explore!
Papa Sun. (7 minutes, directed by Noah Gallagher) Music and poetry mixed with some interesting art work. A bit uneven.
Poise. (8 minutes, directed by Luis Soares). What to do with a handful of flies? As a man tries to decide, the whole world is set in indecision.
Return to the Peach Blossom Wonderland. (19 minutes, directed by Haoman Peng, Yue Huang, and Yuchao Luo). This harkens back to a 1600 year old Chinese fable of a utopian vision. It contrasts that with modern life in China (or an any modern city). Interesting view of modern life.
Something to Treasure. (3 minutes, directed by Annapurna Kumar). This has an experimental form and is an experiential piece. It’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t be surprised to see as a visual installation in a museum of modern art.
The Land of Whim. (9 minutes, directed by Bettina Bozek). This is an animated world of Dali-esque surrealism. Objects shift and evolve in bizarre ways. It has a very pleasant visual style and energy.
Urges. (2 minutes, directed by Angela Stemple). Bright, colorful pop-art style of animation seeking to visualize sensual pleasures and desire.
White Horse. (8 minutes, directed by Yujie Xu). A dreamlike world in which a man follows a horse through a maze, then they transform and really can’t get together.
Among this section of shorts, my absolute favorite is Opera. Others that I found especially enjoyable (for reasons I can’t quite explain) are Lizard Ladder and Return to the Peach Blossom Wonderland.