2nd Annual Los Angeles Animation Festival International at Cinefamily
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The last date listed for The 2nd Los Angeles Animation Festival International was Monday December 6, 2010 / 10:30pm (Surviving Life).
Animation fans rejoice — The Los Angeles Animation Festival International comes to Cinefamily. This year’s events include the U.S. premiere of the new Jan Švankmajer feature, Pixar’s Teddy Newton discussing his acclaimed hand drawn/3D/CG short Day & Night, plus guest of honor Will Vinton presenting his short films, specials, commercials and a 25th anniversary screening of his 1985 Claymation feature The Adventures of Mark Twain.
And that’s only the beginning; the fest will premiere screenings of high-quality contemporary international animated features, including the new Chinese independent feature Piercing 1.
Dec. 3, 2010 @ 2:00pm: *_In The Attic
*_Imagine a dusty, surrealist version of _Toy Story _where the film’s affable cast has the aged and worn quality of a teddy bear, the delicate allure of a weathered, but still beautiful doll. Czech visionary Jirí Barta realizes this dolorous dreamland with In the Attic, a stop-motion film executed with old-school skill of a Jan Svankmajer or George Pal. Barta’s weathered, wooden heroes live an independent life, having formed their own commonwealth, just as they would in a young girl’s fantasy world; add to this wit and whimsy the allegorical overtones handed-down from the remnants of old communist leaders, and you have a wonderful film, sure to delight adults and the smallest of children in equal measure. Barta’s first stop-motion feature in 25 years, _In the Attic _demonstrates more bittersweet charm in one hand-crafted, paint-chipped paw than an entire army of CGI pandas. *
Dec. 3, 2010 @ 10:00pm: *_*How MTV Rocked The Animation World _
*From its very first day on the air, MTV televised revolutions in alternative animation by commissioning programs and promos in every conceivable incarnation of the craft. The period from its founding in 1981 until the millennium marked an era when MTV was constantly on the cutting edge of art, comedy and even (gasp!) music — and this show features amazing moments from the famed MTV ten-second station ID, Aeon Flux, The Maxx, The Head, Liquid Television and Daria_, as well as forgotten promos, oddities, and strange gems from MTV’s animated history…and something called…_Beavis and Butt-Head? In the second half of this program, join independent animation studio Titmouse owner, former MTV Animation director/animator and our program sponsor Chris Prynoski and his crew in a panel discussion on how an indie studio run by artists can survive and grow in a world ruled by commerce. Titmouse’s many credits include Afro Samurai, Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse, Freaknik: The Musical, and the animation for Guitar Hero.
Dec. 4, 2010 @ 4:30pm: *_Piercing 1*
_Liu Jan’s Piercing 1, the first-ever Chinese independent feature film, is a bold and biting meditation on the dire state of modern-day China’s economy. Jian took it upon himself to singlehandedly finance and bring his uncompromising vision to life; after selling his house, emptying his savings and borrowing from every possible relative, he spent the next three years animating his first feature on a WACOM graphic tablet. A gripping story of one man’s travails as he transitions from pastoral China to the big city, _Piercing 1 _follows the hapless Zhang Xiaojun, his journey towards disillusionment and subsequent convergence with a cast of similarly desperate characters. A vivid sign of Chinese animation’s return!
*_*Dec. 4, 2010 @ 7:15pm: The Adventures of Mark Twain (25th anniversary screening followed by a Q&A with Will Vinton
The world’s first all-Claymation feature film is Will Vinton’s most ambitious, and ultimately satisfying endeavor. Criminally under-seen, barely released, yet critically lauded, The Adventures of Mark Twain is a complex multi-layered story that echoes the convoluted richness of Charlie Kaufman’s best creations. What appears to be a kids’ film on the surface (with Huck, Tom and Becky meeting Twain and hitching a ride on his space-bound riverboat) turns out to be rather weighty underneath, exploring the same themes of mortality and ethical conflict that Twain explored in his own works. Where it gets strange, however, is when we quickly realize that said riverboat is on a deliberate suicide run to meet Halley’s Comet (steered by Twain’s bizarro alter ego), and that’s just in the first ten minutes! From there, Will’s daring, lysergic vision of Satan, the black void, Adam and Eve, and meta-representations of Twain’s stories equal what Michael Medved has called “the most original and audacious animated feature film since Disney’s Fantasia.” Will Vinton will be here in person for a Q&A after the film
Dec. 4, 2010 @ 10:00pm: _Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then _(with live score featuring members of Fugazi and Giant Sand)*
Backwoods wunderkind Brent Green returns to Cinefamily with his first feature, which is accompanied by a live band featuring Brendan Canty of Fugazi and Howe Gelb of Giant Sand. Gravity, a visionary labor of love and lunacy that echoes the mournful, carefully hewn artfulness of Green’s early experimental animations, follows the surreal true story of Leonard Wood, a Kentucky hardware clerk who in the 1970s built a strangely-shaped, nearly German Expressionist house on his property in the belief that it could cure his wife’s terminal cancer. Green’s fevered narration belies a deep understanding of the subject’s compassionate compulsions; for the film’s set, Green referred to plans Wood had scrawled on a piece of cardboard to reconstruct his home, four other houses, a handmade piano, a sixteen-foot glowing moon, and a giant, wooden God. Sitting comfortably between the wistful, knowing decay of Guy Maddin and the beautiful, caustic wisdom of Flannery O’ Connor, Gravity testifies to the potential redemptive sanctity of human creation.
*Dec. 5, 2010 @ 1:45pm: Will Vinton Shorts *
He may not be a household name, but Will Vinton has ushered the medium of Claymation into ubiquity. He even coined the term itself, trademarked it the year he established his own studio — and his work has been nothing short of iconic, to the point where any ‘80s time capsule would be incomplete without a figurine of one of his soul-singing raisins. The Domino’s Pizza Noid? Yes. The Gnome King in Return to Oz, and Michael Jackson as a moonwalking bunny? Check. And of course, those California Raisins? All vintage Vinton! An Oscar, five Emmies, beloved holiday specials, and thirty-four years later, Will is still breaking ground in his commercial and independent work, and LAAF is proud to both have him as our guest of honor, and to award him for his lifetime spent molding animation memories.
*Dec. 5, 2010 @ 4:30pm: _Midori-ko
_*One of the must-see gems making its premiere at our festival, _Midori-Ko is adored Japanese animator Keita Kurosaka’s whimsically nightmarish vision of 21st-century Tokyo on the brink of apocalypse. Ten years in the making and entirely, single-handedly rendered in colored pencil, Kurosaka’s fantastical labor of love is a marvel to behold. Emerging from the staggering detail and craft flooding every frame is the story of a young woman who sets out to engineer a dream-food that can put an end to the world’s famine. Synthesizing Frédéric Back’s subtle, haptic textures with Bill Plympton’s frenetic mutations and David Lynch’s haunting wormholes, Kurosaka’s work still retains its own singular, luminous potency. *
_Dec. 6, 2010 @ 10:30pm: _Surviving Life
*Surviving Life is the latest — and if his claims are to be believed, last — offering of madness from Jan Švankmajer (_Faust, Little Otik). A self-described “psychoanalytical comedy,” the film follows the travails of soul-deadened office worker Eugene, as he attempts by way of therapy to reconcile his dreary waking life with his increasingly bizarre and rewarding dream life. The two lives quickly begin to get jumbled, however, yielding an onslaught of wild, prismatic visions replete with arguing portraits of Jung and Freud, enormous wrestling tongues and a nude woman with a chicken head. Like any Švankmajer film, _Surviving Life _is a unique and twisted vision that must be seen to be believed.