The Wolf, the Demon and the Moon (2013)
Director: Leanne Lee
In a dark forest the evil demons emerge and terrorise the local wildlife hiding in fear in the undergrowth. Only the mother wolf protecting her cubs will stand against them, even if it means her life.
Quite an impressive effort from local animator Leanne Lee as it was her graduation project and you can only imagine the work she will produce in the future.
The film has a strong Princess Mononoke vibe and the forest spirits also resemble those seen in those films and other films on the subject. Like all the best folk tales there is a lot of blood and killing involved as most fairy stores had before Disney re-imagined them.
Director: Shuhei Morita
A travelling repairman seeks shelter at a temple during a storm and has tricks played on him by mischievous objects that have been discarded. He sees the value in them and repairs the umbrellas, clothing and thanks the abandoned junk monster for its service.
A very colourful animation with lots of interesting characters including the frog/umbrella creature. The story is based on the belief that any object or musical instrument after 100 years gains and soul of its own and starts playing tricks on people. Was also some themes I remembered from “The Great Yokai War” about the rage of discarded things.
I did try and find more information about this director or even a trailer but had trouble finding anything. This movie was released by Namco/Bandai, strange.
Requiem for Romance (2012)
Director: Jonathan Ng
Interview with director
A couple breaks up over the phone while two characters in ancient China have a Kung Fu fight across the rooftops and the landscape. Eventually the two people calm down as do the people fighting.
This short had a very interesting animation style, with the animated characters in the foreground and a live painted watercolour background. I did talk to the director over email and he said he had a period of 4 weeks to shoot everything. The bubbles that appear in some scenes were not originally meant to be there, but add to the look. There were several techniques used with the painting to make it look like wind and fire were in play.
Also talking to the director, the movie was inspired by Chinese water ink painting and the animated movies from the 1950s that were banned in China.
The director his currently hoping to produce a full animated feature as a co-production between three countries, it should be quite a film when it is finished.
Director: Merlin Flügel
A dose of old-school surrealism with a hand-drawn scratchy animation where figures roam the landscape and have long arms, houses bleed out the windows and dogs have spindly stick legs.
There was no real storyline, but I liked this short as it was long enough to establish the mood and it did not outstay its welcome.
Like Rabbits (Sticky Ends, chap. 2) (2012)
Director: Osman Cerfon
A school bus pulls up at the fairground and a fish-headed man gets out and is miserable around the place. In the mean time strange people have even stranger things happen to them.
There were some line-ball and sick things that happened in this, but people still laughed at them any way. Hard to tell with an audience what would be funny.
The character design and art style in general was very interesting. I would like to see what happens in the other chapters of the story.
Director: Izabela Plucinska
A woman wakes up and has forgotten her whole life, her husband tries to calm her but she does not accept him. Eventually she works out what has happened and reconciles.
The look of the film is very striking with green clay animation and good use of negative space. It also managed to tell a good story in a very short amount of time.
Director: Ulrich Totier
A rock falling from the sky disturbs a bunch of mono-colour simpletons who begin to compete over it and end up destroying themselves in the process.
This was a very funny short even though the characters only spoke in gibberish. They had very funny actions and did stuff you would not expect like eating the rocks and becoming weightlifters due to lifting them.
It reminded me a lot of the European cartoons that used to screen on the ABC back in the day like the Red and the Blue and La Linea.
Irish Folk Furniture (2012)
Director: Tony Donoghue
This short tells the story of old Irish farm furniture and how it is finding new homes from people who appreciate its simplicity.
The animation is made up of thousands of photos and the story is told be the people who used to own the furniture and those who restored it. The furniture seems to move by itself through the landscape.
I have tried to animate this way myself with my own photos, but you have to make sure they are all taken in the same direction and have the set up done correctly so it would not work for me. It is a good use of the medium however and an interesting subject.
Director: Jérémy Clapin
A young boy goes duck hunting with his father and later finds a strange creature that resembles a duck but cannot fly. The hunting dog tries to attack it, but the boy befriends it and helps it realise its dream of flying away with the other ducks.
I enjoyed this movie as it was very atmospheric and even though it was 3D animated you couldn’t really tell as it seemed to blur the lines between 2D and 3D animation. The character designs were interesting too.
Director: Špela Cadež
Based on a short story by Russian playwright Maxim Gorky, a writer is asked by a woman living in the flat next door to write a letter to her beloved out on the sea. Strange things start happening with the writer and when the woman asks him to write a reply he gets sick of it and refuses at first, but then does it any way. The question is was the woman actually there all along?
I do enjoy puppet animation, the Tale of Little Puppetboy was the last one I saw at MIFF a few years back. This was also interesting with the unique character designs and models of the buildings. I also liked the special effects with one characters fingers stretching, then freezing and having him dance on the typewriter.