Today was pretty awesome. In the morning, we went to a 'Meet the Filmmakers' panel and got to hear from some of the people whose films are showing this weekend. Said hello to Marv Newland again. That guy just pops up everywhere. One of the filmmakers was Kihachiro Kawamoto, famous stop-motion animator from Japan. I asked him which lessons were the most important he had learned from Jiri Trnka, and he said he had interviewed him, and he told him, "A puppet is not a miniature human. He has his own world." And that has stuck with him eversince. Now it has stuck with me.
After which, we set up the VanArts booth. Calvin ran into an old friend of his, David Nethery, from his first animation job in Ottawa, who he hadn't seen in 20 years...I've rarely seen anyone that excited about seeing another person in my life. Also saw Augusto again, who was still a bit shaken up by witnessing someone getting hit by a truck the night before, understandably so. We all went to wait for the double decker buses to arrive and take us to the Animator's Picnic.
While we were waiting, I saw Mr Kawamoto again, speaking with another stop-motion legend Co Hoedeman. I met Co a couple of years ago when he came to speak in Vancouver, and he seemed to remember me when I approached him again to talk to him. I showed him my book, since there is a large photo from The Sandcastle inside (to which he commented on the color being off...he said 'it's supposed to look like sand!') and I had mentioned him a couple of times in the text. Then I had both him and Kawamoto looking at it at once! What a rare moment of random stop-motion history that was...very exciting. They both appreciated it.
(Two stop-motion legends discuss with George Griffin the moral implications of my book.)
At the Animator's Picnic, I found Steve & Mary and brought them over to sit with us. Steve and Calvin hit it off right away and started talking about all of these Disney people they knew. We had a great time reminiscing about the old Tonka games and the time I stayed at their house and fed their chickens, fulfilling the mandatory task of singing the cartoon chicken song each time. Steve had to leave for a radio interview on CBC, which hopefully he can get a recording of. I called Jay and we talked for awhile...Ariel is still snotty but feeling better. Then spoke with a few more people, including Adam Mimnaugh from my VanArts class, who has his own studio now in Halifax.
We drove back with Calvin's friend Dave and another former Disney animator Anthony Michaels, who worked in Florida on Lilo & Stitch and many other projects. Picked up a few things from the hotel and had a nice dinner, then on to the Grand Opening of the Animarket! Our booth looks great this year...a far cry from last year...faaaaaaaaarrr cryyyyyyyyy......
Authors unite! Me with Cartoon Modern/Brew's Amid Amidi
Waited a bit for a copy of Cartoon Modern and had it signed by Amid Amidi; looks like a great book and I can't wait to dig into it. I ended up speaking at length to Larry Bafia, head of animation at VFS, who is also going to be part of our stop-motion panel since he worked with Will Vinton for many years. My Ariel brag-book of photos made its rounds to various people, including Jerry Beck who really liked the Kermit pictures. After the Animarket was over, I joined Augusto for the Short Competition screening.
It started with a showing of Every Child, in tribute to the late Derek Lamb. I had never seen the film before, and I was delighted by it. This screening, as a whole, was a bit darker than the others I've seen. My favorites were...Liam (a collection of abstract cut-out animation set to music, all compiled from a high school animation class; absolutely brilliant and entertaining throughout! Probably enjoyed it the most), Tyger (awesome music, great blend of Flash animation and a Bunraku tiger puppet with visible puppeteers), Rabbit (hilarious, creepy, great story, defies description, would sound better describing it verbally I think), Journey to the Disney Vault (very funny commentary on the "secrets" of the Disney studio, including Walt's "original print" of Song of the South... I shouldn't have laughed at it, but it was clever in the right context.)...also liked The Runt for it's cinematic design and color sense, although it was not the touching story I thought it might be judging from the picture...actually quite disturbing, but riveting and it stuck with you. My wife shall never see it, because bunnies die.
See ya tomorrow.