Friday, 15 May 2009

Chester Knebel "Soda Copped " (2007)

Every university school of animation has its particular awards ceremony. At New York’s School of Visual Arts the annual showcase is the Dusty Film and Animation Festival and Awards, in recognition of SVA’s founder and Chairman, Silas H. Rhodes, nicknamed “Dusty”. The festival was held earlier this month, the lucky people announced here. For now I'll deal with the 2007 winner for Best Animated Film (Traditional), Chester Knebel's Soda Copped. We are in very traditional 2D cartoon territory in style and subject matter, with caricature and impossible storyline. Two hoodlums carry out a bank hoist, tear off in a car, remove nylon masks, crash car, recover, stagger off with swag, tire, require a drink from a soda dispenser. And the coins from their loot don't fit so they take out their frustrations on the machine. In keeping with the genre, Chester keeps the action moving thick and fast, comic incident liberally punctuating the piece as the little guy is unable to reach the coin slot, removes the shard of metal from his sidekick's head, or along with partner is strong-armed (and footed) by the cops. Angles are varied with a view of the guy from inside the machine or via the surveillance camera and throughout the piece the director sustains the standard of drawing. In short, a well made traditional romp from a talented and promising animator, well meriting the Dusty. I also note that, unlike some other animation schools, students essentially seem to work independently at SVA a fact that renders Soda Copped even more praiseworthy. The 2009 equivalent award was won by Jake Armstrong. His winning animation The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9! is not to my knowledge on-line as yet though the demo reel is. A movie of a different style entirely from the university's 2009 awards tomorrow.

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