Saturday was the last full day for the festival. The first film scheduled to screen at 9:30am, a feature film (apparently about a farting pig?) was cancelled due to the fact that it didn't arrive in time. We were too wiped out to attend anyway, and found out when we did arrive that they replaced it with the festival winners from last year...which included A Mano. I was pleased to see at least a dozen of the full-time VanArts students (see below) make the trip down for the show today. Some of my part-timers too.
11am began the first initial program of shorts. This was probably my favorite line-up out of all of them. Included with this set was our Librarian from the Black Lagoon, which was received very well with many laughs. (Nancy Beiman was particularly taken with it, since her mother was a librarian). Other highlights from this program were A Dogs Life by Adam Comiskey (very funny 2D film about the various antics of a dog around the house while his owner is away), My Happy End by Milen Vitanov (also 2D, about a dog whose best friend is his tail), and Alien for Christmas (very well-directed Flash music video with excellent character design). There were a few repeated films as well, such as a live-action/CG animated short we ended up seeing a few times altogether, called Fish, about a fish that shares a flat with a human; starts off funny enough but ends with a stomach-churning burp & fart war. All of the films in this segment were narrative and more cartoony; no abstract stuff.
Following was lunch break with Calvin and Nancy, and then back to the theater by 2pm for the next program of shorts. This one was a mix of different styles, including both narrative and abstract. Highlights were Marcelino and Bartolomeo by my friend and fellow VanArts alumnus Mario Pochat, a CG short he completed through AnimationMentor...Everything will be OK by Don Hertzfeldt, which is still brilliant the second time around for me, and a brilliantly-executed Flash(?) sci-fi epic called Glitch with great editing, design and overall slickness. At the end of the screening, I got to see that Mario and another ol' friend from VanArts, Peter Fiala, had finally arrived, unfortunately too late to see his film play.
Next up was a presentation by Michel Gagne, who showed us his various character & effects animation from his own films like Prelude to Eden and feature projects Quest for Camelot, Osmosis Jones, Iron Giant, Ratatouille and Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppets. In addition were some top-secret projects he's currently working on, which I'm supposed to pretend I didn't see. Michel's work is breathtakingly amazing, and he is absolutely dedicated to his art & craft. I've seen very few artists as passionate and productive as this guy, and he's also slightly insane, but in a good way. Just shake your head and drool at the beauty of his work.
Next we had a brief window of time open for dinner so Cal, Nancy & I were joined this time by former Disney/Simpsons Movie animator/producer Bert Klein and Hyun-Min Lee, director of The Chestnut Tree. Hyun-Min is now in the apprenticeship program at Disney, and deservedly so! As I said yesterday, her film is wonderful. After dinner we rushed back for presentation by Tony White about his career with Richard Williams & Animus Productions, the Animaticus Foundation and DigiPen. The goals that Tony has for the future of animation are admirable and exciting, and should surely be supported by anyone who is passionate about the art form.
Next up was the keynote speaker Don Hahn, who was eloquent, humorous and incredibly enthusiastic sharing his passion for filmmaking, animation and illustration art. A literal gold mine of material was shown, including archive material by Disney artists from the early 80s and beyond. Trying to condense Don's talk into a summary would barely do it justice. A big highlight for me was the inclusion of Lorenzo, which I've been wanting to see for YEARS since reading about it. It was worth the wait...quite an amazingly surreal piece of work.
After Don's wonderful presentation was the Awards Ceremony, which went by pretty quickly since most of the filmmakers spread all over the world were not present. Librarian received a Certificate of Merit which I got to accept on Galen's behalf.
We closed the evening with a Gala Event of food and mingling. I got to chat with Don Hahn and was honored to discover that he owned a copy of my book and had made reference to it in preparation for a stop-motion panel he recently was in. He's a fan of stop-motion and is glad to see it becoming popular again. It was a great honor to meet him.
The 2D or not 2D Animation Festival is a great event that is still in the fledgling stages of gaining momentum, and I hope it continues to get bigger & better every year! I hope to make it an annual tradition, so I encourage all to check it out again in 2008!