This may be Animation Block Party‘s 11th annual shorts film festival, but because it was my first time attending, I really had no idea just how much fun I was going to have. Opening Night would prove to be an enchanting affair, setting the right mood and tone for the rest of the weekend.
Having lived in New York for close to four years now, whenever someone says “Let’s go into Manhattan,” a mandatory sigh and eye rolling are in order. However, whenever someone says “Let’s go to the Financial District,” it goes double…unless you are attending the Opening Night screening for the Animation Block Party! Thanks to Rooftop Films sponsoring the event, it was all about location, location, location. Nestled near the World Trade Center, with a view of the yacht spotted Hudson River, and under the open sky, it was the perfect night to watch animated shorts outdoors. Preceded by a musical treat from Franny & Zooey, the shorts began to roll shortly after sunset.
Most of the shorts screened at the opening event are currently making their festival rounds, which means that they are not available for general viewing. However, I was able to get my hands on a few trailers and stills from my top faves from Opening Night.
Papa, directed by Natalie Labarre, tells the heart warming “story of an eccentric inventor who realizes that he’s not a perfect father – so one day, he makes one.” This short was a beautifully crafted illustration of that ever delicate father/daughter relationship.
In the Beginning, directed by Arthur Metcalf, illustrates how “there can be no doubt that a little girl had a hand in Creation”. This adorably charming short also won this year’s Best in Show Peggy award at the ASIFA-East Awards, and it shows! Even though it was one of the shorter films screened that night, it’s well executed artwork, voice direction and timing made this short virtually perfect. The short will be available for general viewing on Vimeo and YouTube in September.
Goodbye Rabbit, Hop Hop, directed by Caleb Wood, is an abstract piece of “a mind in the city looking inward, and escaping the rabbits domain”. Below is the short in its entirety….and some may question why I chose this one, and to be honest I’m not 100% sure. I just know I loved it. Hope you do too.
Payada pa’ Satan, directed by Antonio Balseiro and Carlos Balseiro, is a heartbreaking short about “a Gaucho who lives peacefully in the countryside, until one day the earth starts to shake”. The film’s story and unique blend of live action and animation are what set this film apart, along with its mature use of content. Perhaps it is because of my personal connection with the main characters plight, perhaps it was just that well crafted, regardless, the trailer only skims the surface of this uniquely deep short film.
Le Sens Du Toucher, directed by Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo, tells the story of “Chloe and Louis who are secretly in love with each other. Every sentence a choreography”. For this one, there really are no words to explain how captivating the story is. Without a single word, you feel the affection, and the frustration of these two beautiful characters.
A Tale of Momentum & Inertia by HouseSpecial is “a tale of warning that puts human fate in the hands of a Rock Giant – literally.” HouseSpecial (formerly a branch of Laika that handled commercial content) is a budding production company as evident from the wonderful stills they were so gracious in providing. If you would like to see a screening of this short, you can catch it at the Ottawa International Animation Festival which takes place September 17th-21st.
Opening Night was just the beginning of an incredible four day festival that featured everything from student and independent shorts, animation retrospectives on Farmer Alfalfa, and an amazing collection of Titmouse 5 Second Day shorts. If you missed out this year, you should definitely pencil the event into your calendar for next year as it is one that is totally worth the trip.
(Synopses by Animation Block Party)