If you’re looking for a cool sampler of the thriving animation scene in New York City, you’ll have to give the new Avoid Eye Contact DVD at try. Released on Jan. 8, the DVD spans the past ten years of NYC animation, offering 17 eye-popping shorts by popular animators such as George Griffin, Bill Plympton, John Dilsworth, John Schnall and Patrick Smith, as well as up-and-coming artists such as Mike Overbeck and Jesse Schmal.
Although many of the projects included in the package are traditionally animated, the CG world is also well-represented. Overbeck’s award-winning Tongues and Taxis was produced with Maya and Flash, and Smith’s festival favorite Drink was traditionally drawn, but colorized via computer. Fran Krause’s Box Factory and PES’ Roof Sex were also created using CG technology.
The sampler features Aleksey Budovsky’s Terminally Ambivalent Over You (2002) and Bathtime in Clerkenwell (2002); Patrick Smith’s Delivery (2003) and Drink (2001); John Dilworth’s Oscar-nominated The Chicken from Outer Space (1995) and The Dirdy Birdy (1994); George Griffin’s A Little Routine (1994) and New Fangled (1990); Bill Plympton’s Oscar-nominated Your Face (1987), One of Those Days (1988) and How to Make Love to a Woman (1995); Fran Krause’s Mister Smile (1999) and The Box Factory (2003); Jess Schmal’s Sub (2000); Michael Overbeck’s Tongues and Taxis (2003); John Schnall’s I Was a Thanksgiving Turkey (1986) and Goodnight Norma…Goodnight Milton… (1988).
“The entire production of this DVD has been done by the animators themselves,” says animator Signe Baumane. “The look and quality of this volume wouldn’t have been possible without the animators taking complete control.” The artist-run web site http://www.squarefootagefilms.com offers in-depth information about each animator, as well as serving as the online distribution hub for the DVD and other products. “Obviously it would take more than one DVD to survey the best of New York animation, notes Baumane. “We’re currently curating Volume II, as well as three other animation compilations.” Including special features, pencil tests, behind-the-scenes and making-of featurettes, the first volume of Avoid Eye Contact is priced at $25. Hip Avoid Eye Contact t-shirts are also up for grabs for $18 at the web site.