The Nicktoons Film Festival continues this Sunday, with Screening: 4–A Bit of Diversity, a selection of seven different shorts. A co-production of Frederator Studios and Animation Magazine for Nicktoons, The Nicktoons Film Festival airs on the Nicktoons cable channel Sunday nights 10:00 p.m (EST) and 7:00 p.m. (PST), with a repeat at 1:00 p.m. (EST) and 10:00 p.m. (PST). The films featured in Screening Number: 4–A Bit of Diversity are: Birdon by Taiwanese filmmaker Chieh Huang; Ape Escape from Sony Computer Entertainment and director Yorifusa Yamaguchi; Winged Devices from Ex’pressions’ grad Damian Gregg; Miracle Koala: Belt For Punishment from Nova Scotia animator Mark Capello and Canadian-based studio Nelvana; Sucker from UCLA grad Ellen Brenner; Monkey Fuss from New York City freelancer Daniel O’Conner; and Bert from Korean-born animator Moonsung Lee.
The Nicktoons Film Festival:
Screening: 4-A Bit of Diversity
Airdate & Time: November 14, 2004, 10:00 p.m. (EST); 7:00 p.m. (PST), Nicktoons
Film #1: Birdon
(Length: 3:00; CG)–The Taiwanese-born filmmaker Chieh Huang is studying animation in San Francisco at the Academy of Art College. Based on his marvelous and compelling accomplishment, the three-minute Birdon, we have to suspect his training must be almost complete. This award-winning film poses the questions, "What is outside a bird’s cage? What is outside our own cage?" Huang believes the second question may not have an answer, as each escape may lock us into a new narrow-minded point of view. Says Huang, "We eat, sleep and think every day, and we are used to living in this kind of style. The bird was locked up and he could see the front view in the bird’s cage, but he couldn’t see the whole world out of the cage. Many people don’t like dangerous situations so they will never know what the real world is …" (To find out more about Chieh Huang’s work go to www.birdonanimation.com.)
Film #2: Ape Escape (Length: 5:00; CG)–We’re running quite a few Ape Escapes, little one-minute fun-packed adventures of a boy and his crazy apes. We’d spend more time describing them, but we’d spoil the punchlines. Let’s just say if you like fart jokes, monkeys and wacky music, you won’t want to let these little shorts get away. All of our Ape Escape shorts were directed by Yorifusa Yamaguchi and come to us from Shogakukan Music & Digital Entertainment, courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.
Film #3: Winged Devices (Length: 2:10; CG)–A mechanical bird plants a seed that quickly grows into a tree in which the bird can nest. Damian Gregg’s fanciful and intriguing short, Winged Devices, is packed full of enough detailed art to fill a feature film. It is, in fact, so powerful it’s hard to catch all the beauty in one screening, but we challenge you to do so nonetheless. Gregg, a graduate of Ex’pression Center for New Media, is working as an animator on a special-venue ride film called Robots of Mars. (To learn more about Gregg’s work go to www.damiangregg.com.)
Film #4: Miracle Koala: Belt For Punishment (Length: 5:00; Animated in Flash)–Mark Capello manages a small animation studio in Halifax, Nova Scotia called Helix Animation, Inc. He explains that during his four years in Halifax, he has had the great pleasure of working on many challenging projects with a very "challenged" crew. Capello and team produced five episodes of Miracle Koala for Nelvana’s FunPack project. We chose to show you Belt for Punishment. Here’s the description Mark and Nelvana supplied: "After running afoul of some large scary wrestlers, our heroes are challenged to a grueling championship match, with the winner moving on to defend the titles in Australia! How will they win the match, let alone survive the experience? Well, what do they have to lose? Wrestling is all fake right? … Right??" (For more info on Mark Capello and the Funpack shorts e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Film #5: Sucker (Length: 3:00; 3D created in Alias’ Maya software)–There’s most likely not a nicer filmmaker on the planet than Ellen Brenner, but even nice gals get miffed! Brenner admits that although it’s "embarrassing," Sucker really is about a fight she had with a girlfriend over a guy. If you’re a sucker for a good knock-down drag-out, then you’ll get a kick out of this one, especially the rather unexpected revenge gags. Sucker appeared in a recent UCLA Director’s Spotlight showcase, in the SIGGRAPH 2004 Animation Theater and the 1 Reel Film Festival for 2004. Brenner is working on her thesis film project at UCLA. (If you’d like to contact Ellen Brenner, please e-mail her at email@example.com.
Film #6: Monkey Fuss (Length: :33; Traditional 2D using Adobe Premier, PhotoShop and After Effects)–New York City animator Daniel O’Conner says, "I freelance at various companies around town and when I have free time I work on my own projects in my tiny lower Eastside apartment." Monkey Fuss, is the wacky result of just this sort of endeavor. Explains this Savannah College of Art & Design grad, "I wanted to portray the idea that we are all responsible for our own chaos. It is the malevolence of the bigger monkey that brings his problems back to him. It was originally going to be a short about a monkey and a robot who represent the id and the ego, but why would a robot be in a jungle and up in a tree? I lost a lot of sleep over that question." Whatever, Dan, we just think Monkey Fuss is funny.
Film #7: Bert (Length: 4:30; CG with 2D textures)–What can we say about Bert? Sure it’s a lovely retelling of the Ugly Duckling, but these character designs are so endearing, they just make us wanna smile. Created by Moonsung Lee as his senior filmmaking project for the Academy Art College, Bert is, as Lee puts it "a poignant tale of a young vegatable’s search for family." Need you know more? The short has been a popular item in numerous festivals around the world, including SIGGRAPH 2003. (To check out Lee’s work out online go to http://spiff73.greenhost.co.kr)