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REVIEW: The Animation Show Volume 3 | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

REVIEW: The Animation Show Volume 3


From time to time I get emails asking if I’d be interested in reviewing things – typically they’re books but occasionally it’s other things. Recently it was an email about The Animation Show Volume 3. I’d never reviewed or even seen a full compilation of Animation shorts so I was intrigued. Who wouldn’t be interested in watching something like that if you’re into visual culture. The catch for me as I started viewing the shorts was if I should go micro and talk about every single clip or be more general and keep it at a macro level?

The idea behind the Animation Show was to collect the best independent animated films curated by Mike Judge (Office Space, “Beavis and Butt-Head,” “King of the Hill”) and Academy Award nominated animator Don Hertzfeldt (Billy’s Balloon, Rejected, The Meaning of Life). After watching the hour 90+ minutes of film, the first thing that came to mind for me was I hope that more people will have the time to watch the collection. The second thought was that animation is a lot more diverse then what most people typically think about, that is if they think about it at all. I’ve included a couple videos to give an idea of what I mean. The first one is from the popular Pes while the other is a promo of the actual collection.

I thought there would be two fundamental things to look for during each presentation. The narrative that they were trying to convey, and how they executed it visually. But it became obvious quite quickly that the entire experience included timing, sound, pace along w/ visuals and narrative. All the stories twisted those elements for their own purposes which made them all unique. That originality was something that I enjoyed seeing and experiencing with each of the clips.

It might be a cliche to mention that most of the shorts weren’t happy go lucky and that they expected the viewer to suspend their idea of reality to go into other visual worlds. And for me it worked. It was really cool to just watch a lot of visual displays that I hadn’t seen before, being a designer I’m always looking to see how others express ideas and animation like the shorts I watched was quite compelling. It would be hard to pick just one favourite among them all. Some held my attention b/c I didn’t know what was going to happen next while others it was more about seeing things in a new light. Carlitopolis by Nieto was notable in that he took a live presentation and bent the rules on what you would expect to see in a live presentation. Versus by Francois Caffiaux, Noel Romain and Thomas Salas summed up how wars start quite succinctly with out words.

There’s a couple additional features that I haven’t fully had time to go through but are worth mentioning as a side note. There’s a number of filmed interviews w/ some of the creators. Even better though poorly executed was the text version interviews w/ most of the people involved. It’s a great idea to include pdfs, unfortunately they can hardly be read on a computer monitor – I haven’t tried printing them out so maybe it’s a bit easier on paper – but I’m almost thinking of grabbing all the text and laying out the type in a better way for myself to read. One interview that was unexpected but cool was that they talked to the illustrator for the movie poster, nice to see him get attention too.

You can get more info about the Animation Show Volume 3 and the Animation Show at www.animationshow.com

Beavis and Butt-Head Introduction by Mike Judge
(Rabbit) by Run Wrake
(City Paradise) by Gaelle Denis
(Everything Will Be OK) by Don Hertzfeldt
(Collision) by Max Hattler
(Astronauts) by Matthew Walker
(Carlitopolis) by Nieto
(No Room For Gerold) by Daniel Nocke
(Guide Dog) by Bill Plympton
(One D) by Mike Grimshaw
(Tyger) by Guilherme Marcondes
(Versus) by Francois Caffiaux, Noel Romain and Thomas Salas
(Learn Self Defense) by Chris Harding
(Abigail) by Tony Comely
(Shuteye Hotel) by Bill Plympton
(Dreams and Desires) by Joanna Quinn
(Game Over) by Pes

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  • http://www.portigal.com/ Steve Portigal

    This has been in my Netflix queue for a while. We just went and saw the latest edition in the theaters and it was quite enjoyable (although Hertzfeldt is absent – his “What's animation” from the first collection is one of the best things, ever).

    Rabbit by Run Wrake is incredible and can be found online; it's really just one of those mind blowing pieces of creativity that confuses and astounds and entertains. Glad you got to see this stuff!