Sunday, 28 December 2008

Top Animated Shorts of My Year: 2008

Influenza playing havoc with a one man band together with a timely glitch in the computerised voting system allows me to place the first thirteen contenders in my top ten together (as there were four movies at 10= ! ) The remainder will be posted in the next three days if my head clears. That's all I'm in a fit state for. And the movies are not in any order, but simply unmissable.

"The Car and The Road: A Romance in Automation"
Jerry van de Beek & Betsy de Fris must be two of the nicest folk working in animation. Taking the classic Chuck Jones Oscar winner as their model they created a work of art that in an aesthetic sense at least is certainly not disgraced in the comparison, in fact I prefer it. Lexus (for it is an extended ad) have a beautiful movie to match the automobile they are sure to present me with when I recover from this pestilence.

"Sebastian's Voodoo"
Joaquin Baldwin has won awards of late for his tale of self-sacrifice, a feature I mentioned but which I should have stressed. From the moment the stitched dolls are endangered one's attention is gripped. CGI can be great, and in Joaquin's movie it is. He can animate using different techniques too. A man to watch.

"Enjoy the Ride"
Joel Trussell has an easy manner about his music videos that makes each a treat and complement to the music, in this case Morcheeba. There is a darker side to the piece, tantalisingly presented though it is, though it ends in the group of animals surfing the clouds, with their attendant spirits more co-riders than frightening. I can honestly say that I would look for the animator before seeking the band, not necessarily what Joel's clients might like to hear although, and here is the clincher, I purchased the entire album range by a very varied band.

"Tower Bawher"
Theodore Ushev is simply the most magnificent artist. He can draw and add texture to animations in a manner unmatched. His intellectual grasp of his subject is awesome. If I had to point to a future Academy winner of any in my list this year, Theodore would be very high on my list. I selected Tower Bawher though any movie by him is magnificent.

"Madame Tutli-Putli"
Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski were Oscar nominated for this ultra-sophisticated puppet and CGI movie that is as enigmatic as as it is sumptuous to view. Whys and wherefores Madame is on the train in the first place is not answered nor necessary; her whole being hints at a past. And her eyes!

"No Time"
Billy Collins' poem subtly animated by Jeff Scher is my next selection. The short film used a collection of images in shimmering and brisk fashion to capture the moment when a man passes the graves of his parents and relives those moments of censure that still have the power to chasten. The animated poem is beautiful and moving.

"Sea Orchestra"
The awesome commercial from South African pair Jannes Hendrikz and Ree Treweek was deemed good enough to launch the new United Airlines ads during the opening spectaculars for the Beijing Olympics. The blend of music and spectacle more than held its own with the pyrotechnics and launched to international prominence two of the finest animators around.

Another batch of top thirteeners before I do reveal my top movie and runner-up. I can manage that.

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