Aggregated Animated Shorts Second Annual Film Festival Award Ceremony 2018 in Review by Malaka Sanders
Article Review by Malaka Sanders
There was an award show this week at the Roxie and some of the most thought provoking and honest animated short films produced in recent years are being screened. The Aggregated Animated Shorts Second Annual Film Festival Award Ceremony started at 6:30 pm on July 31. The Roxie is located one block east of 16th and Mission and Aggregate Space Gallery, the event sponsor, is an exhibition and performance space in West Oakland. Winners in categories including Most Seductive Animation, Best Sound Design, and Best in Show are being screened.
The two hour event will also include short films directed by the award winning directors acting as judges for this year’s festival: Meghana Bisineer, Tan Wei Keong, Clement Hil Goldberg, and Jeremy Rourke. Keong’s 2014 short film “Pifuskin” won the award for Best Experimental at the 2015 Singapore Short Film Awards and was the winner in the Non-Narrative category at the Aggregated Animated Shorts Film Festival last year. Scenes from his current film, “The Great Escape” feature a similar, drawn character as the one that starred in “Pifuskin” in almost quiet scenes that are pregnant with meaning.
Stop motion animation, the style used in Herbie Hancock music videos in the eighties, is used to great effect by Mike Cantor, one of the directors competing in this year’s festival. His “Advanced Doodling” is a short film about art making that features over 20 artists and utilizes graphic effects to alter the viewer’s perception of time.
Stop motion animator and film festival judge Jeremy Rourke shot the short film, “I’ll Be Around” – which includes live action sequences of theater equipment traveling down the sidewalk as if walking – in San Francisco. “This part [uninhabited cinema seats traveling rapidly through a neighborhood on casters] was so dangerous” Rourke said in an interview. “I was going across the street. People were stopping traffic for me. They were saying, ‘Stop! He’s trying to make a movie!’”
“Lyrics on the Paper” is a light-hearted, animated, mixed media musical in which Rourke sings and plays guitar throughout. “We travel with the notions and the emotions that we have chosen,” he sings. He continues, “Words aren’t working all that well. I’m using them and I can tell.”
Unspeakable topics like intimate violence are highlighted in a non-threatening way in the beautifully animated productions of festival entrant Carla Ciuffo. Her spacious and abstract cartoons are visually stimulating, contemplative works that touch on social themes. “A Thousand Hands, A Million Stars” ends with a chorus of voices repeating, “We cannot look away.”
Other festival entrants include Noah Aust, Sandro Del Rosario, and Lydia Greer. Aust funded his collaborative, college thesis production, “How to Make a Nightmare” with a Kickstarter. IMDb lists it as released in France in 2015 and he describes it as having a “cranked up to eleven, acid trip, dark comedy style”. Del Rosario’s works include “Lo Sguardo Italiano (The Italian Gaze)“, an artfully animated film full of soft, pastel colors and a reflective narrative on Italy that was created with thousands of oil painted photos. Greer is a San Francisco Bay Area animator whose experimental shadow animation is often screened as part of live, operatic performances. She is the director of Facing West Shadow Opera and is currently working on, “a Baroque puppet opera about the wild west”.