Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Javi here. People that know me know that I'm a huge fan of animation, so of course I had to check out the animation competition this year's Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF). The short films that were shown were SLOW DEREK, 663114, WILD LIFE, MOXIE, A MORNING STROLL, DR. BREAKFAST, and IT'S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY.

This was honestly a very solid block of programming. There were a lot of short films that felt like they were something for everyone, from the technically dazzling, the morbidly hilarious, and downright touching. What was really strange was that I had actually seen two of the short films already at Fantastic Fest, the upside to this was that I could appreciate them in a completely different manner.  I'll be talking more in-depth about top three short films, discounting A MORNING STROLL  and WILD LIFE, since they were the Fantastic Fest repeats. This is not to say that any of the shorts are bad, but these are my favorites. 

One thing to note is that this year's selections more than any year might as well have shown up in the Late Night Shorts block of programming. Needless to say, they are pretty dark and not all that suitable for kids. Check out the reviews after the jump.

Director: Stephen Irwin
A most peculiar film about a a cute and fuzzy bear that lashes out and becomes violent and an arsonist because he misses his mom. The humor is very sadistic and juxtaposed with the freaking adorable bear that burns things and stabs little animals, and it made a combination that I just loved. Keep in mind, this is ultimately a very sad story, but the use of just a black and white palate along with the clever use of negative space makes MOXIE a dark and twisted joy to watch. 

Director: Stephen Neary
I am a dude that loves breakfast. I love it so much that I would be fine if my day consisted of breakfast, brunch and brinner. Obviously, I felt like I could relate the titular Dr. Breakfast. Emerging from a man's right eyeball after seeing a table full of delicious food, Dr. Breakfast wrecks some serious havoc all around. Combine two talking deer that help out the man, it's bizarre, loud but ultimately a rather sweet story. Go figure, this film is just good ol' hand drawn animation.

Director: Don Hertzfeldt 
This one had me very close to tears. It was my favorite of the short films, and upon doing some research, I found out that the director already had a film in the festival over two years ago, WISDOM TEETH. The two shorts could not be any more different, but you can check that video here. Back to this short, it deals with the main character Billy, as he deals with an injury, a mental disease, eventual transcendence of the human condition, and our very own physical state of being. I know this doesn't make sense when I write it, but trust me it all will (sort of) make sense when you see it. The animation is a combination of crude stick figure animation, with flashes of real life photography. The voice over provides both insight to Billy's condition as well as tragically being able to convey it. It is one of the most beautiful collages I have seen and I will be trying to purchase it if possible. 

That's it folks. Hope you are all able to catch these great little stories. Kudos to the festival programmers. I can't wait to see what they come up with next year.

The ANIMATION COMPETITION plays today, April 17th, 2012 at the Angelika 7 at 9:45 p.m. For tickets, go here or to the Prekindle box office.

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