MIAF Day 4 – UPA: The UPA Style, The ‘Animate’ Collection

4 Jul

By Michael De Martino

UPA: The UPA Style

This collection of 11 films served as an introduction to the style of UPA. The UPA (United Productions of America) are a significant part of animation history which was founded in 1941 following the infamous Disney strike. The revolutionary UPA style of minimalist backgrounds and colour remains iconic to this day. These films are experimental for their time, daring, imaginative, and hilarious.

Here are my top picks for this screening:

Be Quiet, Kind, and Gentle (Phil Duncan, 1955) Hilarious sing-a-long about when to swallow your tongue in those sticky situations.

The Jaywalker (Robert Cannon, 1956) A documentary-style film focussing on a man’s simple passion – jaywalking.

Outlaws (Osmond Evans, 1955) The most memorable of the session. Special guest, Tee Bosustow, addressed this film as his favourite, and for good reason. Three outlaws rob trains. One is good with a gun, one is good with a rope, and the other runs like an antelope. This was the film that made me think “they just don’t make ‘em like they used to.” It seems so outdated by today’s standards but this just makes it that much more fun!

Rooty Toot Toot (John Hubley, 1952) Packed with tongue-in-cheek humour, this courtroom comedy follows a woman accused of murdering her husband. Singing and dancing, and bullet wounds, keep this wacky courtroom entertaining.


The ‘Animate’ Collection

More works from the evil hand of the UK. An array of styles, colours, and techniques fill this collection of 13 films funded by the ‘Animate’ Project.

Here are my top picks for this screening:

The Life Size Zoetrope (Mark Simon Hewis, 2007) Stop-motion flim consisting of people holding the single frames of the film. And at 6 minutes and 33 seconds, the effort involved alone must be commended.

Rabbit (Run Wrake, 2005) Haunting film involving creepy children and animals. Definitely not for the kids to see.

Tad’s Nest (Petra Freeman, 2009) Stunning paint-on-glass aesthetic hypnotises audiences with its dream-like fantasy.


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