The Nicktoons Film Festival Announces Screening: 6–The "Think About That" Show

The Nicktoons Film Festival continues this Sunday, with Screening: 6, a selection of seven shorts that just happen to be made by professional animators from around the globe. 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: 6_ The "Think About That" Show are: Dia de los Muertos by Kirk Kelley, a director with Vinton Studios; Skippy from a CalArts senior named Amanda Spalinski; The Not So Heroic Adventures of Sidekick: Dooms Day Dog from feature and TV filmmakers Todd Kauffman and Joey So; <ESC> from award-winning filmmaker Zachary Brewster-Geisz; A Rhinocervs from CalArts grad Hal Newman; Tell Me Not To Worry from Norwegian filmmakers Maria Trovatten and Karin Jacobsen; and Happy Mania from School of Visual Arts grad, Jane Lee.

The Nicktoons Film Festival:

Screening: 6–The "Think About That" Show

Airdate & Time: November 28, 2004, 10:00 p.m. (EST); 7:00 p.m. (PST), Nicktoons

Film #1: Dia de los Muertos (Length: 6:10; Stopmotion and CG)–According to filmmaker Kirk Kelley, his short, Dia de los Muertos, was created to capture the beauty, mystery and sacredness of the ancient Meso-American holiday that honors and remembers those who have died. It’s also a heck of a lot of fun for any Ray Harryhausen fan who just likes to see skeletons move about. Says Kelley, "I’ve always been fascinated with skeletons. I think their bones are beautiful in an organic way." Kelley also likes the idea of portraying the eclectic mix of cultures and spiritual influences that combine to make Mexico’s Day of the Dead both a religious festival and an all night party–for the dead and the living! Kelley, a commercial director at Vinton Studios, also explains that although the people were animated in stopmotion, all the skeletons were completed in CG using Alias’ Maya, then textured and rendered in Newtek’s LightWave. (To learn more about Kirk Kelley–things like his animated heroes–go to www.vinton.com.)

Film #2: Skippy (Length: 2:00; Traditional 2D)–Amanda Spalinski, a senior at CalArts, is definitely an artist who finds inspiration from the world around her. The sweet little boy who narrates this story about his family’s new dog is actually a small chap that Spalinksi babysits. "It’s a true story," says Spalinksi. "He told me the story and I asked him to remember it. When we got to the recording studio, it all worked out. He remembered all those fun incidentals just as I hoped." Spalinski, who set out to "convey a small slice of life," does so with charm, humor and a good dose of kid-poetry. (To contact Amanda Spalinski, e-mail her at [email protected])

Film #3: The Not So Heroic Adventures of Sidekick: Dooms Day Dog (Length: 5:00; Flash)–Okay. If you ever meet filmmakers Todd Kauffman and Joey So, ask them what they were thinking, ‘cause this cartoon is just plain nuts … probably why we like it so much. Both Kauffman and So have some major feature and television credits and offer the following description for their twisted little creation: Maxter XOX (a.k.a. Mr. Troublemeyer) has a brilliant plan to become the world’s most evil criminal mastermind; to inject a hotdog with an evil-enhanced liquid and consume that hot dog. The problem is Trevor proceeds to eat it before Mr. Troublemeyer can stop him. Eric and Trevor were working on a science project, and now that the evil tendencies have started to work on Trevor, the project takes a sinister turn. Trevor starts to build a doomsday device, and straps Eric in as his first guinea pig. Mr. Troublemeyer has to stop him before it’s too late, but will a parade of bran and regularity-inducing snacks do the trick? (All we can say to that is "ouch"! To contact Kauffman and So, if you dare, e-mail [email protected])

Film #4: <ESC> (Length: :55; CG created in Hash AnimationMaster)–Zachary Brewster-Geisz says that he came up with the idea for <ESC> at a very frustrating time. "Like most ideas," he says, "it just sort of fell on top of me. I wanted to enter this contest called the Internet Raytracing Competition and the topic was ‘escape.’ So, being me, I thought why not make a short about the ‘escape’ key and then the idea for the short just dropped in my head while I was lying awake at night." Although pleased with himself for coming up with the idea, he only had eight days to make the deadline and got little sleep after his brainstorm. We liked <ESC> for its clever twist and its fancy rendering, and we guess that the judges at the Internet Raytracing Competition felt the same–as they awarded the short First Prize! (To learn more about filmmaker Zachary Brewster-Geisz go to www.hash.com/users/zachbg.)

Film #5: A Rhinocervs (Length: 3:00, 2D animation)–Right from the opening frame we fell in love with Hal Newman’s gorgeously animated A Rhinocervs and hope you will too. Says Newman, "The film was created while I was at CalArts. Inspiration came from Durer’s print of ‘A Rhinocervs,’ which led to the idea of using an armored rhino as a knight’s companion. The delusional knight is somewhat reminiscent of Don Quixote. The personalities of the rhino, bird and knight all developed naturally, somewhat based on relationships with family and friends." Now you can’t help but love a knight that takes a pachyderm for a steed, now can ya? (You can reach Hal Newman through his e-mail address, [email protected])

Film #6: Tell Me Not To Worry (a.k.a. Si at alt gar bra) (Length: 5:00; CG, 2D & Stopmotion)–We are very proud to include the work of two Norwegian filmmakers, Maria Trovatten–a designer and photographer–and Karin Jacobsen–an arts and crafts teacher–in our Fest. Their mystical creation, Tell Me Not To Worry, really pulled at our heartstrings. We also dug the character design and unique blend of animation technologies. The story of a little fellow named Smith, Tell Me Not To Worry, reveals the secret to his lifelong search for a guiding star. (For more information on filmmakers Maria Trovatten and Karin Jacobsen go to www.tordenfilm.no.)

Film #7: Happy Mania (Length: 1:52; Adobe PhotoShop and After Effects)–We hope you’re already smiling, but if not, Jane Lee’s Happy Mania will definitely perk up your attitude and make you think twice about your next all-out shopping spree. Lee, a graduate of the School of Visual Arts, lives in New York City and thinks about materialism a lot. Although she hopes viewers don’t take her chic and sassy film too seriously she says that in N.Y.C., "it seems like if you don’t have money or beauty, you can’t be happy." Is that true? We can only hope that Britney is watching! (To contact Jane Lee e-mail her at [email protected])