MIFF 2015: Animation Shorts Program

Yùl and the Snake
Director: Gabriel Harel

Yùl and his brother meet the local shithead to divide up the spoils after a bout of petty thievery. After some mistreatment, Yùl learns how to stick up for himself and a snake is involved.

I liked this even though it seemed a bit rough and ready. If the story and characters work well you don’t need much to help the characters come to life.

The use of the snake metaphor is a bit strange but it suits what the story was about.


Waves ’98
Director: Ely Dagher

A young man is bored in Lebanon one day when he sees a flash on the horizon. Going out on his scooter he finds a giant golden elephant and enters it to find himself in another world.

This was an interesting style of animation in that it was “composited” with traditional animation, photography and video. I know the Congress movie was disqualified from the animation category of the Oscars for including live action, but this should count surely.

The imagery in the fantasy land was suitably weird and clearly a lot of work has gone into the film.
I am not so sure of the statement the film was trying to make but it was good to go along for the ride.


Bush Mechanics
Director: Jason Japljarri Woods, Jonathan Daw

Based on the TV special and TV series this Claymation style animation short tells the story of a group of friends going back to country in their beat up old car only to have a mischievous spirit cause them grief, to which they responded with their bush mechanic techniques.

Made out in a community near Alice Springs and lovingly produced by hand this film has a lot of character and humour and you hardly even notice that it is not in English. I particularly enjoyed the part with the sign language when they were trying to find out where to find the kangaroo from the old man.

Hopefully this short will get a wider run on NITV and the ABC. I know that it was funded via Pozible so the supporters would have got their copies and it will do the festival run.


A Portrait
Director: Aristotelis Maragos

In a style that reminded me of the classic “La Linea” series, but with even more detail a single line tells the story of the film maker’s grandfather.

I know from my own drawing that when you have less lines to work with, you have to be more confident with what you are putting down.

The story ends up being surprisingly deep for the little that is shown on screen, as I said you would not expect so small a line to tell so much of a story.


Migration
Director: Fluorescent Hill

A strange creature is looking for its way home and is joined by other creatures, it eventually finds where they all are jumping off a cliff, but decides to just sit and enjoy the view.

A very strange animation that combines 8mm live action with computer animated figures, but it is blended so well it is hard to tell where one finishes and the other begins.

I am usually a bit down on computer animation, but when it is used like this it works quite well. There are still people doing interesting things with it outside of larger productions.


veil
Director: Yorkiko Mizushiri

A very strange animation with simple line drawings and good forms does not really have a story to tell but it does have repeating imagery and a good soundtrack. From the trailer it seems there are harmonics on the soundtrack you need headphones to hear properly.

It was borderline experimental but this short just manages to stay within getting too annoying due to the interesting setting and things on screen.


Two Films About Loneliness
Director: William Bishop

A man tries to record a dating profile while next door a giant German hamster records a cooking show.

A very odd stop motion animation with unique character designs and I would like to see more films from this director.

I would watch the cooking show that the German hamster was producing.

It reminded me of some of the strange animations they used to show on the ABC back in the day between programs.


My Home
Director: Phuong Mai Nguyen

A young boy does not like his mother’s new partner, who turns out to be a giant bird and runs away. The bird rescues him but he is afraid his mother will turn into a bird.

I enjoyed the style of this animation as it says it was computer animated, but it looks more like it was painted.

Even with one of the main characters being a bird it still manages to tell a good story. The bird might not really be a bird, it is just the feeling some kids get when their parent gets a new partner.

I thought it was a funny and sweet film and would enjoy seeing more from this director.


teeth
Director: Daniel Gray, Tom Brown

In this very grimy and icky feeling short, Richard E Grant narrates a tale of dental loss and obsession.

It was surprising how the soundtrack combined with such simple imagery to make you feel so uneasy about where the story was heading.

There was the usual “twist” ending but the whole short was pretty twisted so it did not seem that big of a thing this time.


We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
Director: Konstantin Bronszit

https://vimeo.com/114381015

Two best friends in Cosmonaut training are picked for the next launch. I won’t give away what happens but this is a very funny and sad short at the same time and does feel very Russian in its outlook.

I did enjoy the animation style and the setting of it being in a space training centre. Given the amount of accidents with the old USSR space program it is quite mild what actually happens.

There is quite a pedigree with old Eastern European communist animation, this short shows that there are still a lot of talented people in the field today from those countries.


Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose
Director: Brendan Fletcher, Del Kathryn Barton
With the voices of Mia Wasikowska, Geoffrey Rush, David Wenham
Music by Sarah Blasko

Based on a story by Oscar Wilde this very artistic story has every single frame that could be its own artwork being that it was painted by Del Kathryn Barton and based on a series of artworks she made based on the original story.

Quite a lot of famous Australian actors provided the voice talent and the soundtrack fits quite well with the story.

The character designs manage to be both beautiful and disturbing at the same time, being there seems to be something “off” with them in line with the artist’s style of painting.

A very unique animated short that no doubt will do well on the festival circuit.

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