Monthly Archives: June 2011

Our Favorites from Annecy

Our first Annecy trip was overwhelming, inspiring, frustrating and wonderful. As a follow up to our blog post “Why We Released Our Film Online”, it is worth noting that the short films that won the Annecy Cristal and the Special Jury Award, “Pixels”, and “Big Bang Big Boom”, have been online for quite some time and enjoyed considerable internet ubiquity.

We didn’t go to all of the student screenings and missed the TV screening, but here are some of our favorites from the festival:

Studio AKA’s Grant Orchard plays an absurd New York moment over the course of 100 years. Three distinct graphic stylings and a peppy score.

I was charmed by Patrick Doyan’s funny and poignant day-in-the-life of a bored little boy. The beautiful, illustrative animation sets a warm tone for the piece. Very nice use of scale and graphic representation to conceal and reveal story elements.

Juan Pablo Zaramella’s pixilation masterpiece was clearly the crowd favorite. The photography is controlled and the animation feels lively and expressive. Not easy to pull off with pixilation. What I enjoyed most was the fact that Zaramella used a natural byproduct of the pixilation process, light moving across the frame, as a storytelling device. He really breathed new life into an old technique.

In Tor Fruegaard’s “Venus”, a couple with sex problems visit a swingers club in an attempt to salvage their relationship. While the premise begs for loads of juvenile jokes, “Venus” never veers too far in that direction. Instead, Fruegaard uses the experiences to show a very real relationship. Terrific dialog performances and understated animation.
Warning: The trailer below is NSFW and may be inappropriate for younger audiences.

Directed by Polynoid from Filmakademie Baden-Wurttenberg, “Loom” depicts a dramatic moment when a moth is trapped in a spider’s web. While the photorealistic realistic rendering is a remarkable achievement, what I responded to most was the abstraction of insect inner-space and the brilliant sound design.

Annecy Film Festival @ France

We just came back from Annecy and it was loads of fun!
It was about 10 hours drive from Tilburg, the Netherlands, where were are currently living.
Erik was the only driver because Max quickly realized that most cars in EU are manual.
First night, we went to an amazing Italian restaurant with NIAF friends. The owner wanted to put our postcards on the restaurant sign. After some arguments with his wife..
“it should be straight”
“nono, slightly tilted works better”
** something along that line because I don’t understand French **
our post cards are displayed in Annecy! We went back to see if he didn’t take them down, and sure thing! Until the last day, I saw those post cards shinning from this delicious restaurant.

The screening went well. I was nervous with the heavy dialogue but I think most people enjoyed.
Thanks to the Zodiac movie, it seems like the Zodiac Killer is quite famous in EU, too.

The old town area was absolutely charming. This is exactly what non-french people thinks as a French country side town. I just had to scream “oh so cute!” about 1000 times.
Not sure if you can see from this photo but there is a bright orange bakery. I must say it is the best I have ever had. I wish I had gone back one more time…. but hopefully we can go back to Annecy again.

Reunion with Mikey Please (from Sundance). This is my favorite part of the festivals to see old friends and to know how well they are doing.

Sami & Mohamed took us to a nice French meal and treated me for a delicious ice cream. Look how happy I am. If I ever lived in France, I will gain 10 kg in a month. Everything was delicious.

To burn off some of the sweets in the system, I went boat paddling.
Max, the adult, decided to watch our bags. Sorry.
See the arrow? That is me. I didn’t want to get any sun on my skin so I covered myself most of the time. Japanese people do not like to get any tan but Europeans love getting tans. Cultural difference is interesting.

Last day, before the award ceremony, NIAF friends took us for a meal. Although they gave us lots of “good lucks” we didn’t win anything. But we made tons of friends and that is the best part.
So inspired and ready to get back to work!

We are residents of Tilburg, the Netherlands

We are officially residents of Tilburg, the Netherlands! Hooraaaaaay!
It’s been a week since our arrival and we are slowly settling down. Lots of paperwork and lots of shopping but we cannot be happier. The city of Tilburg is charming and people are very generous. Since 90% of people speak English, it hasn’t been difficult at all.
I must say, the only dangerous thing is that some of the most delicious, cheapest things in the Netherlands are… ice cream, cheese, beer, ham and coffee! I need to moderate the amount of ice cream I have been eating otherwise, I will easily become double my size.

The staff members and participates of the residency program has been extremely welcoming that we already feel like it’s our home. We’ve also started working on the storyboard, concept art and script for our new short film.

We’re off to Annecy which our film is in short competition #2.
Hope to see some of our friends there.