Friday, April 16, 2010

Florida Film Festival - Animated shorts

High on my priority list was getting out to the Florida Film Festival animated shorts screening. When I was ushered inside my first instinct was to search for a place at the very back of the theater. On the way there I bumped into Anna McCambridge, Dina Mac and friends. I sat at a table next to them and talked for a while while munching on some of the free cranberry Raisinettes on the table. I started to wonder what I would draw or even if I could draw when the shorts started. I got up and wandered around looking for a subject and then found a seat way up front that was unoccupied. The seat overlooked the couches and seats in the front rows. I got my art supplies and moved. I had the sketch blocked in and was starting to ink it when the lights went down and the theater went black. I waited. There was some problem with the projector so we all continued to wait. Someone shouted out, "Well, I guess it's time for the question and answer session!" Everyone laughed. After a few more awkward moments, the lights came back up. Everyone groaned by I started sketching frantically. Once the films started I simply sketched anytime the screen was bright enough to light up the front rows. If there was an animated film that was literally on the dark side, I didn't see it.
One of my favorite films was "The Mouse that Soared" directed by Kyle L. Bell. This Computer animated short had beautiful art direction and was funny as hell. I didn't sketch the whole time it was on the screen, I was transfixed. Another of my favorites was from a filmmaker I had admired at last years film festival. Lev Yilmaz showed two shorts from his ongoing series of shorts called "Tales of Mere Existence." His Woddy Allenish dry humor is contagious. His inner monologue presented in a flat monotone voice is hilarious. I got the feeling he doesn't have much luck with any lasting relationship but I didn't have the nerve to ask him about it in the question and answer session. Bill Plimpton presented his new short "The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger". This very funny short has a bold new look that Bill attributed by a Kandinsky show he had seen. The film was drawn with sharpies. The idea for the film came to him as he was driving through farm country and he saw huge fat cows eating as fast as they could as if they were training to become the perfect steak or burger. He said he had some of the production drawings and that everyone could have a free cow drawing after the screening. For once I stood in the long line of people waiting to get a free cow drawing. I am usually above standing in line for a signature, I can draw my own cow, thank you very much. He quickly drew the cow on a postcard with about ten well placed lines. I wasn't satisfied. I asked, "How large were the production cells?" I then started thinking to myself, "He didn't use cells you dope. Why didn't you say drawings?" Bill said" Oh, yes I have some original work right here." He reached back and got out a large manila envelope. I apologized to the people behind me for holding up the line. In the envelope was a pile of signed drawings from the movie. He offered me one for a very reasonable price. At least, that is what I'll tell Terry. There was one drawing of a cow screaming that I kept returning to. I remarked, "This looks like Picasso's Guernica." He said, "You know, I hadn't thought of that, it does." Was this a smooth sales pitch, or had we just made a connection? I didn't care, I had to have it. He had to reach across the table to get the bill out of my hand because I was busy admiring the drawing. I had just bought a drawing from a long time animation idol and I was giddy! I had fallen to the level of an animation fan boy, but I didn't care.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


Chere Force said...

Definitely a "woot" moment in your life. We all need more of them.

Andrés said...

What a wonderful week it has been! I believe I saw you yesterday at “The Art of the Producer” panel. I loved watching “Con-Artist” and I am so excited for the “secret” movie today! Maybe I’ll see you there?

Hannah said...

After hearing about the Plimpton drawings, I'm even more bummed that I couldn't make it to the animated shorts. This, and the Troll 2 documentary, are the two things I'm most upset about missing.

Thor said...

Hannah, I'll show you my Plimpton cow drawing if it will lift your spirits. :)