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Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Vancouver Film School - five animated movies





The Vancouver Film School provides an intensive year's training in a range of disciplines that they claim is equivalent to four years elsewhere. (Judging from my own higher education I can well believe it.) Whatever, the proof's in the pudding, or animations in this case. Today is the first of two posts looking at some of the students' work. I thought at first Alejandro Cordero's Down Here was going to be particularly good. It centres on a poor little match boy who is not treated as well as he might be by his customers whizzing past in their automobiles. Then he looks up to the heavens and the starry sky. The 3D animation has its moments, as shown in the screenshot, but the conclusion is not one of them. Sometimes it is better to resist the obvious.

No Quarter by Michael Trent is a slap-stick, knockabout routine outside the Stock Exchange, I guess, due to all the bags of money to be fought over. To a circus style soundtrack a pair of well orchestrated 3D figures perform their routine without the colour of the circus, or the big shoes, or the false noses. Almost 50,000 viewers have watched it on YouTube in a matter of weeks so Michael has a winning formula. I'd only criticise the spinning newspapers which I have seen before a time or two.

Vishal Parasher provides a more colourful clown in The Balloon. Well actually it is not a clown but a very traditional mime artist performing his series of classical mime routines with a balloon that, because it is an animation, can actually lift him off the ground. The balloon becoming heavy, the artist feeling for the invisible glass wall, etc, are the stock in trade of this form of entertainer. If he were a pavement artist he would get my coins. I liked this clever piece very much.

Talking about pavements brings me to Granny's Groove. Lloyd Colaco has a winning formula here I feel. Commencing with our dear old grannie feeling her years, she chances upon a pair of magic red slippers that will transport her to the ball, or at least a spot of street dancing. She sheds her years, struts her stuff, pouts at the "camera" and heaves her ample chest for all she's worth. A fun movie, extremely well executed.

I'm not necessarily saving the best till last though I am very, very impressed by Hold The Mustard a more traditionally drawn and animated 2D film about a white bear's attempt to retrieve a most tasty hot dog (without the mustard.) Tammy Dubinsky has the requisite drawing skills to front up a cartoon that would grace any studio. Tammy also has the wit to devise funny situations within a traditional chase sequence, and choose a great song in Hey Pachuko by Royal Crown Revue which I remember, I think, from the Jim Carrey film, The Mask.

The animations have been watched by a great many thousands in a short period of time. Five impressive movies from a great training establishment. And such talent.

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