Tuesday, April 8, 2014

DIFF 2014 Review: Animated Shorts Blocks - Javi's Take

Here's my second round of shorts reviews. You can see my review of the first live action shorts program here. Now, animated shorts have a tendency of being my favorites because, unlike major studios, they haven't forgotten that people can make animation by hand or by other mediums other than computers.

While there was some CGI in this block, it was not really predominate, and we were able to witness sand and canvas paintings being used to create wonderful stories. I included a lot of the filmmaker's Twitter, web pages, the trailers, or the films when available, but make sure to check it out the block when it plays tonight.

Check out my favorites below.

A TANGLED TALE (dir. Francis Corrie Parks, USA)
I'll be real for a second, this short made the roomy get a little dusty. It tells the story of two fish that are caught in a fisher's line, and their attempt to escape. It's beautiful to look at thanks to the animation style, which uses a mixture of sand and CGI. What got to me was seeing a kinship and, dare I say, romance that developed between the two fish as they swim around. But that line is always looming in the background. It could be many things, and I took it as the threat of death, or even the fleeting nature of love and relationships. Either way, it's a beautiful short and I highly recommend you check it out below. You can follow the director on Twitter here and follow the movie here

CRIME: THE ANIMATED SERIES (dir. various, Sam Chou, Alix Lambert, USA)
This block in particular is actually a collection of different stories that are connected through the theme of crime and how it affects everyone. I posted the the last short which was hilarious. There is a very interesting segment that talks about violence, crime, hip-hop and their constant push and pull relationship. This is one of the more thought provoking shorts in the line up. You can follow them on Facebook here

HART'S DESIRE (dir. Gavin C. Robinson, UK)
The grass is greener on the other side is the cliche, and it's at the heart (pun intended) of this short film about a man and what could only be called some hairy dude with fake antlers. The style is very simplistic but also effective, and the director uses an interesting technique of showing the same shot but at different levels of details. You can follow the director on Twitter here.

THE LAST 40 MILES (dir. Alex Hannaford, USA)
This was not an easy short to watch given that this is talking about the latest trip that a man will take as he is being moved to be executed for a crime we are not privy to. Since we don't know what "Old Ray" did, it's very easy to feel bad for him, but it also addresses that point that even criminal are people. The movie changes style depending on whether we're in the present or in Ray's past, making it easy to distinguish one from the other and also adding a nice visual variety to this sad story.

THE MISSING SCARF (dir. Eoin Duffy, USA) 
Probably my favorite short of the whole block. It deals with a little squirrel who is missing his scarf. Along the way, he meets various animals that could help him, but they all have these great, big fears of their own. I don't want to spoil it, but the storybook aspect of this short is misleading and makes the ending a total riot. 

You can follow the director on Twitter here and can find more information about the short at the website here.

The Animation Shorts play again on Tuesday, April 8th, at 9:30pm. You can buy tickets here.

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