Saturday, January 31, 2009

UPDATE: Konstantin Bronzit

Okay, so I tracked down a copy of "Lavatory - Lovestory". I understand completely why this film was nominated. Mr. Bronzit created a really touching, very cute film with a minimalist touch. I can't wait to see who wins!

Oh, and if you want to see the nominated short films, Shorts International on iTunes will have all the films available by the end of February for your viewing pleasure (and I hope you check them out. Having seen all of these films myself, they're well worth your time).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

And the nominees are...

Y'know, it's not often that I agree with the films that are nominated for Academy Awards. My tastes in film just aren't mainstream enough, or maybe just not aligned with the the people who vote for the Oscars. Neither here nor there, really. But this time, I think that they've selected some of the best films that I saw in 2008--really, some of the best produced.

For best animated feature film we have:
  • "Bolt" (Walt Disney), Chris Williams and Byron Howard
  • "Kung Fu Panda" (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount), John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
  • "WALL-E" (Walt Disney), Andrew Stanton
Bolt was good. But I don't think that it's 'Oscar-worthy' in my not so humble opinion. John Lasseter should be proud that the first film Disney released under his watch was a solid family film that reminded us that when they remember their core audience, Disney can really do it right.

As for WALL-E and Kung Fu Panda, I don't know which one I want to win more. I loved both films--even though it really took me some time to give KFP a chance, I'm really happy I saw it on the "big screen" and have watched it too many times to count once it came out on DVD/iTunes. No matter who wins (even if it's Bolt), I'm happy. Solid choices all around.

I'll also give an honorable mention to Nina Paley's "Sita Sings the Blues." This is a film that should've been nominated, though it was not eligible for various reasons.

On to the Best Animated Short Film category. The nominees are:
  • "La Maison en Petits Cubes" A Robot Communications Production, Kunio Kato
  • "Lavatory - Lovestory" A Melnitsa Animation Studio and CTB Film Company Production, Konstantin Bronzit
  • "Oktapodi" (Talantis Films) A Gobelins, L'ecole de l'image Production, Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
  • "Presto" (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Doug Sweetland
  • "This Way Up", A Nexus Production, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes
I've actually only seen four of these films, but I'll gladly give the benefit of the doubt to the fifth. Saw "La Maison en Petits Cubes" in Ottawa. It was amazing. If you think that the Japanese only produce anime, you're in for a very pleasant surprise! I was choking back tears the entire film. Just a wonderful film all around.

"Oktapodi" is one of those films that just showcases the incredible talent coming out of the Gobelins l'ecole de l'image school in France. If I had the cash, I'd definitely go back to school there just for the experience of working with some very gifted students and instructors.

"Presto" is a winner. Another tour de force from Pixar. What more can I say, it's a 3d animated 'Bugs Bunny' cartoon. They got it right.

If you get the chance to see "This Way Up", I highly recommend it. Saw this during last year's "The Animation Show" and laughed myself silly. It's a story about a father and son team of gravediggers who are trying to get a casket to the cemetary. Hilarity ensues!

Again, I admit, I haven't seen "Lavatory - Lovestory" but I did meet the director Konstantin Bronzit back in 2006 at the Ottawa festival. Knowing his previous body of work, and spending some time talking to him, I'll gladly give him the benefit of the doubt and say (sight unseen) that what he's produced deserves to be in the running.

Right now, I'd give the Oscar to "La Maison en Petits Cubes". No matter how good the others are, I think this one is the best. But again, no matter who wins, I'm still happy because the selection is still top notch.

Honorable mentions go out to "Glago's Guest" and "Skhiizein". Two films that were in the running but didn't make it. Still, two excellent films that I think also would have deserved the nomination had they received it.

I heard a rumor that all the nominated shorts are going to be available on iTunes. If so, I'm looking forward to buying the two I don't already have in my collection and also seeing Mr. Bronzit's film for myself.

Kudos to the Academy for a solid group of choices and congratulations to the nominees.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Big News Continued!

If you're in New York, the display that I worked on is at the Bard Graduate Center on 86th street and is called "English Embroidery from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1580-1700: 'Twixt Art and Nature'" ( The display is put on by the BGC and uses display items from the MET. The video that has my animation is on the second floor. If you see the display, please drop me a note and tell me what you think. :)