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Fun For The Whole Family

Sunday 15 April 2012

A long time ago at the festival, there was one block of animated shorts. But animation will expand to fill all voids, and so the animation block split in two: Animation Shorts, and Family Shorts. Technically, only Animation Shorts is all-animated; there were a couple of live-action shorts in the Family Shorts program, but it’s mostly all-animated. Many of these will be available on YouTube, or on the film maker’s private sites.

A Martian Picnic You know those old Bugs Bunny cartoons, where Bugs will be trying to have a picnic, but the ants carry off his food before he can get to it? Cross that with a Marvin the Martian cartoon, make it claymation, and you’ve got this really funny film from a three-time AIFF film maker. If these guys had the budget of some of the others, their work would be Pixar level. Highly recommended.

New London Calling I see the director’s synopsis, and…I just don’t get that this film expresses that. The kids are great–expressive and energetic–but their story never comes through. It feels like a long Sesame Street skit, the sort in which the older kids dance and play in a very regimented, structured form. It’s clear that it was adults who scripted, directed, and produced this work; they would have been better off to leave it to the kids and their imaginations.

Luminaris Same as in Animation Shorts. Seeing it again showed us how much there is to notice on a second viewing; huge amounts of detail that benefit from a second, maybe third viewing. Highly recommended (again).

The WIndmill Farmer Same as in Animation Shorts. Enjoyable again, although I didn’t get as much out of it the second time.

I Want To Be Me A really well-made live-action piece that asks a wide range of people–adults and children–what they want to be when they grow up. The results range from the mundane to the off-the-wall, especially from some of the older adults. Ultimately, they (almost) all come to the conclusion: “I want to be me”. Recommended.

Super Sledder Same as in Animation Shorts. I got more detail sitting closer to the screen; this might be one that plays well on a very small screen as well as a very large one.

The Secret Life of Bluebirds Super-short short about what bluebirds do with a pond of ice. Loved the animation and quirkiness; from the film makers of last year’s The Mouse That Soared. Highly recommended.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore When a freak windstorm literally blows the letters off the pages of Mr. Lessmore’s books, and blows him and his house and books into another, well, place, he reinvents himself as the keeper and maintainer of the books. Oh, and now the books have personalities, and are able to fly (reminded me a lot of the old flying toasters screen saver, if Pixar had done that app). Lots of nuance to other films–Thw Wizard of Oz, Up!, Frankenstein (but a happy one). Highly recommended.

In the end, this block has three winners: the big budget Luminaris and Mr. Morris, and the much, much smaller budget A Martian’s Picnic.

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