International Program #5
The fifth session of films in competition. My top picks are as follows:
Preferably Blue (Alan Dickson, 2010) – Comedic New Zealand CGI comedy about the Easter Bunny’s vendetta against Santa Claus. Delivered as a poem in the style of Disney Christmas specials, but with the addition of some very adult humour.
The Backwater Gospel (Bo Mathorne, 2011) – Absolutely astounding CGI animation with a graphic novel vibe to it. The film highlights the fear and paranoia of religion in the old West, and the symbolism of “the undertaker”. It feels like a feature film in nine minutes. With haunting visuals, flawless voice acting, and eerie textures creating a gothic atmosphere, this film was my pick for Best of the Festival.
Peacemaker Mac – The Island of Dispute (Yotam Cohen, 2011) – Clever Israeli animation made in the style of silent 1920s Felix the Cat. Not a festival winner but it delivers what it promises: a modern twist on classic humour.
A Life Well-Seasoned (Daniel Rieley, 2011) – Beautiful story of an elderly man, portrayed through 2D pencil animation and stop-motion animation.
Klasky Csupo Retrospective: The Unseen Pilots
The once husband and wife duo Arlene Klasky and Gábor Csupó are responsible for producing, animating, and creating some of television’s most iconic and relevant animation. They are the names behind such landmarks as Nickelodeon’s Rugrats and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, the cult classic Duckman, and the first 61 episodes of a little series known as The Simpsons. But not everything the duo touched turned to gold. This session was a compilation of the unscreened pilots of series that never made it for one reason or another. It truly is unfortunate that some did not evolve any further, and some were never going to see the light of day; though regardless of what became of these pilots, the Melbourne audience loved it. A very tough session to better.
Bench Pressly – A ladies man rebel cop, voiced by Bruce Campbell, with a shrimp sidekick voiced by Tim Curry. Do I need to say any more?
Junkyard Teddies – A junkyard of defective and faulty toys. Satisfying amount of innocent humour accompanied by slightly altered clichés.
The Way The Dead Live – The obscenity and profanity of this pilot would make South Park blush. It’s no surprise this didn’t make it, but for a select minority of audience members, this is the kind of boundary-pushing, sexually explicit, unique animation you’ve been looking for.