Atlanta Film Festival Wrap-Up

Animation News

The Animation Extravaganza took place Thursday night and I would estimate that about 300 people attended both shows. My film, Man Drawing a Reclining Woman, was the first to be shown which surprised me since I thought the line-up would be different. It is a different experience to see your film in a room with hundreds of other people and all I could see was the flaws in my work. But, I think I have learned some things from the whole experience that I hope to apply in my future projects.

Here is the blurb about my film from Creative Loafing’s article on the film festival’s animation venue.

“‘Man Drawing a Reclining Woman’ provides the story behind the Albrecht Durer woodcut of the same name, and implies that great art outlives both the artist and the subject.” By Curt Holman, Published 06.14.2006, Creative Loafing

It is both an honor and a humbling experience to be in the same billing with other works of higher quality and clarity of craft. Some of my favorites were the 2D animations Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot, Juxtaposer, and Chickenheads / Fluidtoons. Brett W. Thompson, the creator of Chickenheads, is a local artist and his flash animations seem a bit like Bruce Bickford in terms of organic transformation of objects. I told him he was the Bruce Bickford of Flash animation.

Stop motion was represented as well with the films Dragon, Loom, and Ichthys. Dragon was a nice mix of stopmotion and 2-D animation. Ichthys was a technical marvel with lush cinematography. The story of the Ichthys is obscure enough to warrant multiple viewings to fully realize what is going on. It appears to be some commentary on life, death, and Christianity. Loom is a technical marvel that you should try to view if possible. Loom has some of most precise stop motion animation I’ve seen with excellent rendition of body language in the characters. The story in Loom communicates a singular idea regarding death in a powerful but intimate way with a creative implementation of symbolic elements running throughout the work.

Another stop motion animation titled The Wraith of Cobble Hill won the festivals animation award but was screened on Wednesday. I wonder why it wasn’t in the Animation Extravaganza? I was able to catch it on Wednesday but think it would have been a nice addition to the animation venue. Adam Parish King, the creator of “Wraith” hails from Knoxville Tennessee which is not far from here and his film is being shown in festivals and seems to be winning awards.

I was fortunate to have some discussions with Scott Kravitz, the creator of Loom, and other festival attendees that saw my film to get their thoughts about my work. I have decided to spend some time to forge an objective or vision statement to help clarify what I am attempting to do with my films. I have several ideas in my mind but have been unable to articulate them in a clear and cohesive manner. It seems that some people like the film but don’t know what it means, others just don’t like it, and a couple of people did like it and provided unsolicited statements that reflect what I was trying to do. I have drafted some notes since talking with people about the film and will probably revisit this topic later. In the meantime, if you are reading this and have seen the film, I welcome any thoughts you may have regarding what the film means to you, its strengths, its weaknesses, or any areas that are confusing.

Other Film Festival News

I saw Psychopathia Sexualis Friday night. It was made locally and had a form and presentation reminiscent of Peter Greenaway. The music was created by a local composer named Paul Mercer who did a fantastic job of providing an atmospheric score with hints of Arvo Part. I am really considering approaching him about music for my project. The film is going to be available on DVD from Kino.

On Saturday night I attended the closing night ceremony which screened the little Death, awards were handed out, and free beer and food was provided afterwords. The little Death was very well done and had that independent film “feel” with great looking compositions, excellent performances, and a story that kept your attention. I wish the venue where it was showing had better acoustics and a projection system that didn’t blow out the whites which affected the overall experience. I chatted with the DP and he assured me that if you watched it on a DVD that it would look different and better that what was projected that night.

Final Thoughts

The festival was fun and I had pleasant conversations with various people in the animation and film making community. I’ve attended the festival before but it was a different experience having a film selected. I’ve submitted my film to a handful of other festivals and will wait to see if it has any more life in the festival circuit or if it’s ready for online or DVD distribution. In a way I am ready to put it to bed and focus on the current and future projects.

3 responses to “Atlanta Film Festival Wrap-Up”

  1. Grant,

    I would love to hear your thoughts on what you intended to express in the film. Perhaps I fall into the category of liking the film without completely understanding it? I was wondering the significance of the beginning and ending where the characters spin. My interpretation is they are coming alive from the woodcut and going back into the print at the end?

    I interpret the “storyâ€? if you will of looking into the print and transforming the viewer back to when it was made. It’s a way of bringing the print alive. I see some reluctance on the part of the model to pose nude and perhaps some trepidation about the whole mechanical nature of the drawing set up. This is alleviated, as the model understands how it works, and at the same time informs the viewer how the process worked.

    Kind of a nice vignette into the making of that Durer woodcut.

    At least that is what I got out of it.

  2. I still don’t think I saw it as you intended as it had st-udder/shutters throughout, as I’ve mentioned previously. Not being familiar with the Durer woodcut nor how the perspective grid works in drawing (I don’t draw, so never interested) I couldn’t really comment on the basis of the film anyway.

    But I loved the metal-look armatures and how the mechanics were left visible, as opposed to covering with foam or clothes. The visual style of it, and progress on subsequent works of yours I’ve seen, is cohesive and very interesting as art in it’s own right. This is one of the reasons I admire your stop motion works, that you indeed have a style, a look, a recognizable technique that is sophisticated and complex. I can’t speak to the message you meant but I imagine it was important to you.

    Congratulations for being accepted and in the mix of a major animation festival. I suspect that took effort, planning and persistence to accomplish. I’m not interested in awards or festivals myself, but I can see why that would be chuffing for a filmmaker.

  3. Thanks for your thoughts on this topic. See the next post for a follow-up.