The 17th Annual Animation Show of Shows
THE 17TH ANNUAL ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS, not rated, Jean Cocteau Cinema, 4 chiles
You have to hand it to producer Ron Diamond. For The 17th Annual
Animation Show of Shows he curated a diverse selection of 11 international shorts that delight from the start. The shorts are by animators in the U.S., Australia, France, Iran, Ireland, Russia, and Switzerland. The opening film — from Australian filmmakers John Lewis and Janette Goodey — is the stop-motion animation The Story of Percival Pilts, who “lived his whole life on stilts” because he promised himself as a child to never let his feet touch the ground. The narration by Mark Hadlow may remind you of a fatherly figure reading a favorite bedtime story, but the narrator turns out to have a stake in Percival’s tale. The next film in the lineup is Geoffrey Godet and Burcu Sankur’s Tant de
Forêts. Based on a poem by Jacques Prévert, it offers bright and luminous animation work that contrasts with its message about the destruction of forests. The sublimity of the varicolored forest, represented as having all of its component parts in symbiosis, is mirrored by an inverse vision in its second half, depicting a soulless paper-making industry that rips the forest apart leaf by leaf, butterfly wing by butterfly wing. The third film, Irish filmmaker Conor Whelan’s Snowfall, is about a young man’s poignant experience with rejection at a party.
Snowfall is the first of four selections that are followed by short documentary portraits of some of the filmmakers. The other docs come after the Russian entry, Konstantin Bronzit’s We Can’t Live Without Cosmos; Melissa Johnson’s U.S. selection Love in the Time of March Madness; and Iranian filmmakers Babak Nekooei and Behnoud Nekooei’s Stripy. Johnson’s autobiographical film is about her hilarious but telling experiences as a 6-foot-4 woman dating shorter men. Stripy is a story of nonconformity in the form of a factory worker who gleefully enlivens a mundane task when he begins painting outside of the lines.
The animation work is as varied as the stories told. Hand- drawn animation, computer animation, stop-motion work, and even animated clay painting are all included. American animator Lynn Tomlinson uses the last of these to great effect in The Ballad of the Holland Island House, about the last house on a sinking island in Chesapeake Bay.
The Animation Show of Shows states near its start that more than 3,000 animated films are produced annually on an international scale, but outside of festivals and industry events, most are never seen. Don’t miss the opportunity to see a small but enlivening cross-section here.
For the birds: A still from Tant de Forêts