Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Jeff Fowler "Gopher Broke" and "Monkey Pit"

Monkey Pit (2002) and Gopher Broke (2004) are two shorts by Jeff Fowler, a graduate of Ohio State University and Ringling School of Art and Design. Since leaving college in 2002 Jeff has worked for Blur Studio. Nominated for an Academy Award, Gopher Broke is a funny short in which a Gopher on a country road has his digestive juices fired into overload by the passing trucks laden with succulent fruits and vegetables. (I promise you, the ripe tomatoes are so well rendered they'd make you to order a salad straight away.) Whatever, the rodent conceives a cunning plan to rock the trucks, dislodge the cargo and feast on the spillage. It's a good plan as plans go. The movie is a traditional cartoon, a Ted Avery in a way, except that it is rather wonderfully produced in 3D, courtesy of the 3DS Max software and some very clever animators and artists. When the gopher rubs his hands together in expectation of lunch you can almost reach into the screen and touch him. For about £1 you can download the 4 minute movie from iTunes. Monkey Pit is an earlier piece by Jeff and has the same qualities really, a 3D animation with a baboon in the zoo sporting a prominent rear portion and a great personality - it certainly interests the kids in the crowd whose sometimes less than polite comments trouble the ape somewhat less than the female baboon in his compound.

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