One, which was not, was the North American premier of Pixar’s latest short, “La Luna,” which was tremendous. The director, Enrico Casarosa, was engrossing, and the film, was screened three times without getting boring,
Then there was the picnic at Strathcona Park, which doubles as Embassy row, which meant that while we ate and drank on Nickelodeon’s dime, we got to see some African expats protesting the fiendish government back home. I got to talk to a bunch of young animators who were here to look for work, many of whom had just gotten rejected by the same people who rejected my stuff almost a generation ago.
I know this, because they almost all remembered me.
The main attractions were the shorts, most of which were decent but forgettable, although a few were the opposite. There competitions for both shorts and features, the latter are reviewed below:
Sky Song / Taevalaul
Directed by Mati Kütt
East European animation has always been weird, but in small doeses, it's perfectly enjoyable. Unfortunately, this is a full length-feature, and as such is totally insufferable. We don't even know that it has a plot until about three quarters through, and that should say it all. Fortunately, it probably will never make it to the United States.
Directed by Keiichi Hara
One of the more annoying things about Anime is how it can be totally unnecessary. This is a prime example of that. The film is a supernatural drama about a soul who’s given a second chance in life by being sent into the body of a teenager who’s recently committed suicide.
The film is okay for what it is, the screenplay is fine, but there’s no reason why this had to be a cartoon. None
Some animation-only effects could have been used to justify it being anime, but even in the “pearly gates” sequence at the opening, they miss an opportunity to do something, ANYTHING. When they get back to Earth, it’s as if it’s a regular movie. No need for animation at all.
The artwork itself is adequate, but this is your standard indie, and nothing more, which is why it’ll probably never be seen again.
Dead But Not Buried
Directed by Phil Mulloy
Phil Mulloy, a two-time previous winner at the festival for best feature, won the prize again for this monumental cheat. Cheating in animation is usually considered a good thing if done right. It saves time and money and if it looks expensive, that’s great! However Mulloy doesn’t do that. He does South Park. Trey Parker and Matt Stone do it better, both animation and writing-wise.
The film is totally random. It’s allegedly a sequel, a review of the never-seen (except maybe Ottawa, where it one first prize) part one tells about how Mr. Christie died digging a hole to China or something like that. It then goes on from there, making little sense as Mrs. Christie and her relations try to find her husband’s valuable sticker collection. It makes little sense.
Now for one of the most monumental animation cheats of all time, Our heroes are in a tunnel in the middle of Iceland where there’s no light whatsoever. So there’s about ten to twelve minutes of total blackness with the voice actors just doing radio. No need for drawing when there’s nothing but black.
This won an award. I'll never understand why.