Friday, February 20, 2015

Short Film: Animated

I got to catch the animated and live action shorts on Wednesday at the Detroit Film Theater. Unfortunately, they had the audacity to start before I showed up 23 minutes late. The nerve! I've mentioned the DFT in passing before, but it's a magnificent extension of the Detroit Institute of Arts. It's simply gorgeous, and they always have interesting selections. Timbuktu, which is up for foreign language film this year, opens today.

    Short Film: Animated
  • The Bigger Picture
  • The Dam Keeper
  • Feast
  • Me and My Moulton
  • A Single Life

The Bigger Picture has a really novel animation style merging 2D painting with 3D stop-motion as its creators paint most of the characters and settings life-sized on their walls and then use actual furniture as props as well as other objects to let the characters project out of the wall. The story revolves around two brothers who care for their terminal mother. While occasionally humorous, it's rather dark. It has it's own kind of magnificence, but ultimately, I found the arc a little lackluster.

The Dam Keeper is far and away the most beautiful short I saw. It is initially CGI, though each frame is digitally painted over. It's really elegant to see digital imaging being given the opportunity to push artistic boundaries, and it's entirely worth it. Here, Pig is tasked by his presumably deceased father with maintaining a windmill and dam that keeps a miasma at bay. A lonely, bullied, schoolkid, Pig makes the friendship of a new student, Fox. It's a bit budding schoolyard friendship and part disaster film, and it is entirely memorable.

A Single Life is all of two minutes long which prompted the DFT's program to also include Bus Story. While it is less originally animated, the story is endearing and of a perfect length. A woman plays a record with a skip in it, which causes time to jump back a couple seconds. Armed with that knowledge, she jumps around in her life rapid-fire until she loses control of her time machine. It's a humorous treat and exactly what it wants to be.

Without a doubt the best short I saw was The Dam Keeper, though I obviously missed two. I've heard from a couple other people that it stuck with them the most as well, so I feel pretty confident in siding with it (and less negatively about missing the first two).

Will win: The Dam Keeper
Should win: The Dam Keeper

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