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Annecy 2017: Short Films in Competition 2

// Featured, Reviews (Festival, Film)

The second day at Annecy had plenty of delights on offer. First up was a trip to the Salle Pierre Lamy to take a behind the scenes look at Cartoon Saloon’s upcoming feature The Breadwinner. The studio didn’t disappoint, offering a tantalising glimpse of what we can expect from the film. Director Nora Twomey, Producer Antony Leo, Technical Director Mark Mullery and Art Director Ciaran Duffy presented the crowd with an in depth look at the film without giving too much of the story away.

Researching and recreating the turbulent world of Taliban controlled Afghanistan and exploring the sensitive nature of the regions politics and the stark existence of those under the regime is just as important as, and informs, the visuals of the film. Every shape and colour of The Breadwinner has been carefully considered so prepare for an emotional tale realised in a visually inventive and spectacular way when the film is released. From what was shown there is no doubt that this is an important film and one that will take the engrossing story by Deborah Ellis to a new audience.

Later in the afternoon Glen Keane presented his masterclass. Having not been to Annecy for two decades Keane’s recent career change has seen his popular approach to character animation that brought us the likes of Beast, The Little Mermaid and Tarzan leave the confines of Disney and explore avenues such as VR and work with clients such as The Paris Opera and basketball star Kobe Bryant. His film Duet was demonstrated to the audience as well as Naphtali and Dear Basketball. This talk was more than a simple demo of previous work and proved inspirational throughout with audience members drying away tears by the time Keane finished to a well deserved standing ovation.

A well deserved standing ovation for Glen Keane at yesterday’s keynote #annecy2017 @glenkeaneprd

A post shared by Skwigly Animation (@skwiglyanimation) on

A veritable day of inspiring artists and we’ve not even mentioned the shorts in competition yet. So here they are.

Zug nach Peace
Germany – Jakob Weyde, Jost Althoff

This live action tale follows a Berlin resident on the train reliving his childhood in Iraq and the consequences of Saddam hussain’s regime and the US led war that suffocated the region. Tales from the past are illuminated by the light of the train shining across the subjects for a moment.  As the horrors are relived we see the downfall of the country and the man’s loss of trust for his home country to regain any form of stability. This empathetic tale should capture the attention of all.

Tesla : Lumière mondiale
Canada – Matthew Rankin

This stark film focuses on the titular inventor requesting finances for his invention that will light the world. Anyone who knows the tragedy that is Tesla’s story will be familiar with the downbeat tone of this film. Visually the film references popular images of the inventor with carefully controlled cracked film emulating electricity, and later sparks literally fly as Tesla’s world crumbles around him, turning even his beloved pigeons against him.

Pépé le morse
France – Lucrèce Andreae

A dysfunctional family return hesitantly to the favoured sunbathing and smoking spot of the departed patriarch of the family. Comedic squabbles and superb character work is overtaken by surreal twists and turns which add danger and intrigue to the tale which kept me transfixed throughout.

MeTube 2: August Sings Carmina Burana
Austria – Daniel Moshel

Visual effect symphony of silliness in music video form. A boy gets more than bargained for when he tips a busker. Though the concept is outlandishly entertaining the VFX are not entirely up to scratch in this, when you consider Till Nowak’s Centrifugal Brain Project managed to add a bit more gravity to the unbelievable whereas the effects in this film look almost cutout. If you get carried away with the daftness of the whole thing it works well enough.

Adam
Denmark – Veselin Efremov

Set in a bleak future a prisoner awakens to himself confined to a robotic body. Watching this short I had the odd feeling that I was watching a video game cut scene, and after a little research it became clear that the entire film was rendered in real time. A remarkable technological achievement even if the film feels like the “press start” button is about to pop up before the credits.

The Full Story
United Kingdom – Daisy Jacobs, Chris Wilder

Building on from her graduation film The Bigger Picture Daisy Jacobs and Chris Wilder embark on a more ambitious project taking on forced perspectives and pixelation. The film takes in many decades and follows the middle class exploits of one man selling his family home, the location of many a revisited regret.

Ambitious transitions and a great soundtrack catapult the viewer back and forth through the years in this exceptional and ingeniously well crafted use of pixelation and animation.

Listen to Daisy Jacobs on the Skwigly Animation Podcast here.

Nothing Happens
Denmark, France – Uri Kranot, Michelle Kranot

Although the film promises very little it delivers quite a lot by the way of tension, technique and delivery. A crowd gathers on a snowy day to watch crows gather for some unknown reason.

Coupled this year with a VR experience based on the film which placed the viewer among the crowd this film is at the very least interesting. It’s rotoscoped technique is a little jarring as the eyes of the characters have been reduced to dots which seem almost comedic in some respects as they appear lop sided across the faces of the townsfolk.

Read our earlier interview with Michelle Kranot here

Sprawa Moczarskiego
Poland – Tomasz Siwinski

The tale of Polish journalist Kazimierz Moczarski explodes into hand painted fantasy when his day in court is quickly escalated in his imagination, retelling his story. If the pace of the short doesn’t explain the scenario clearly enough the film ends with an explanation bringing the story to life further.

The beat of this story and the dynamic visuals propel the audience through a complex historical account without a second being wasted.

Nocna ptica
Slovenia, Croatia – Spela Cadez

If you have ever wondered what it is like being an intoxicated badger committing grand theft auto then this film will answer all of your questions. Shot on a multilane this film is gorgeous to look at as the lighting and animation bring the murky tale to life.

Read our earlier interview with director Spela Cadez here.

Keep your eyes on Skwigly for continued updates and coverage from the Annecy Festival. You can keep up to date with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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