Monday, 21 April 2008

Naomi Nishimura and Jonathan Garin (Zune Arts) “Masks” for Black Angels

Fans of computer games or the band Black Angels will doubtless enjoy this all action piece to the track Young Men Dead. The movie Masks, commissioned for Zune Arts, has two tribes, the blues and reds, battling it out for supremacy on the battlefield. Massed ranks of the warriors create carnage and bits of them are scattered liberally across the screen. Time was when the victors celebrated their triumph by slaughtering the vanquished, lopping off their heads and displaying them on up-turned spears; this lot simply exchange heads and peace and tranquility breaks out. There's a bit more to it of course. By swapping the masks and revealing the hitherto hidden psychedelic world of the different tribes, differences are reconciled and the two groups sort of swap shirts with each other at the end of the game. Directors Naomi Nishimura and Jonathan Garin's 3D CGI work is, from what I can tell, integrated with stop frame techniques to good effect. The pair, alongside Lydia Holness (executive producer on this project), run the New York-based company, PandaPanther. Should all the gore get too much imbibe on a South African apple beverage I know not of, Sarita, or more particularly the ultra-refreshing new commercial, Apple Tree, created stylishly in translucent fashion as witnessed in the screenshot. The company does have a nicely varied output with Chimney Sweep being one of two shorts they made for MTV recently. Intended to raise awareness of pollution issues, this piece seems a bit guns out, boys' stuff until you realise the warplanes are firing corks at chimneys, or something like that. Masks, by the way, is one of a number of movies I have been (or will be) featuring that have successfully gained admission to Annecy 2008.

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