GoCritic! Feature: Animation filmmakers to watch
by Grace Han
- We take a look at the best of the best animation filmmakers who took part in Animafest Zagreb's Student Film Competition
In Animafest Zagreb's Student Film Competition, the shorts originate from all four corners of the globe. With the selection of forty-seven works from over twenty countries, they have been carefully reviewed by Animafest Zagreb’s jurors – and now, by GoCritic!. The following eight films have been proven exceptional to both jurors and critics alike. We take a look at some of Animafest's most promising student filmmakers who show that the future of animation is bright.
Matouš Valchář (University of West Bohemia, Czech Republic)
This year’s winner of the Dušan Vukotić Award for Best Student Film is an irreverent parody of the afterlife. In a mixed-media mash-up (involving stop motion, paper cut-outs, and… sharpie?) this film follows an Arctic hunter's disillusionment with life – and soon enough, with death as well. Complete with hymnals, golden roads, and even St. Peter, After reveals that sometimes, not even everlasting peace can satiate the eternal hunger for comfort food.
EunJu Ara Choi (Royal College of Art, UK)
Choi’s traditional watercolor-pastel mix retells the narrative of a Korean prostitute. Speaking to the desensitization – and dehumanization – of the sex industry, the traditional mediums complement the narrator’s repressed pain. This film was awarded a Special Mention.
Hee-seung Choi (Korea National University of Arts, South Korea)
Winner of another Special Mention (to another Korean filmmaker, to boot!), Choi’s short follows a girl’s difficult decision to court either Reality or Dreams. With the pacing of a shōjo anime and a romance in the vein of typical Korean drama, the digitally-animated short captures the hilarity of young love.
Alexander Gratzer (University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria)
If you compare your Tom and Jerrys to your Family Guys, this film is definitely more of a latter. Three couples - two nesting birds, two human guards, and two polar bears - contemplate the purpose of life over a single fallen apple. Ironically, the two anthropomorphized animal pairs speak more to the human condition than that of the guards. Unique in concept and even better in execution, the limited oil pastel movement is absolutely engaging. And the Austrians themselves seem to agree: this film received the Audience Award at Vienna Shorts.
Ana Pérez López (California Institute of the Arts, USA)
Spanish-born Lopez’s flawless film regurgitates a mesmerizing conversation about polycystic ovary syndrome. Wildly reverberating between motherhood, sex, and identity, the overlaying dialogue reflects the constant cycle of motion in a sea of blues. This exciting film – set to the beat of chanting voices and a repeating box-drum – make the heart sing with the recorded interviews, inviting the viewer to actively question, explore, and engage in the issues of those with PCOS.
Grant Holden (Edinburgh College of Art, UK)
Holden turns Disney’s Fantasia brooms on their heads with a sardonic twist. In an intense, Aardman-like claymation dialogue, Holden calls attention to a janitor’s existential crisis about love and self-appreciation in a world where service workers oft go unnoticed. Pitch-perfect voice-acting and apt bristle movement breathe life into both broom and master, as they realize that they need each other in a world too big to navigate alone.
Red Wong, Ray Mok (Hong Kong City University, Hong Kong)
Following the footsteps of their mentor, Max Hattler, Red Wong and Ray Mok synchronize live-action drone shots and photographs into a carefully-manicured graphic design. Tennis courts fold and unfold; windows pop open and close; travelling cars stutter back and forth. Through these clean cuts, Wong and Mok strip away the hustle and bustle of the cityscape to the pure basics of animation: through squash-and-stretch, push-and-pull.
Yi Luo (Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, Germany)
Less is more – or at least, so Luo’s explosive short proves. In one minute and thirty seconds, this film seamlessly weaves together digitally drawn and CGI animation. Reminiscent of Makoto Shinkai’s short Cats’ Gathering, this immensely enjoyable film unravels the lurking mysteries of the cat world with the incredibly mundane – and in Luo’s case, a single laser pointer.
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