Home > 12/1/10 The 12th Annual Animation Show of Shows!, Uncategorized > The 12th Annual Animation Show of Shows!

The 12th Annual Animation Show of Shows!

Curated and presented by Acme Filmworks founder Ron Diamond, the Animation Show of Shows features the most acclaimed and exceptional animated shorts produced worldwide during the past year.

These outstanding works are at the cutting edge of animation, pushing creative boundaries and using the latest technologies. As in previous years, the 2010 program features films in a variety of styles from all over the world, including Poland, Chile, the UK, and France. Many have won major awards at international film festivals, notably the 2010 Annecy International Grand Prix winner, THE LOST THING, by Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann.

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  1. Lisa Chung
    December 2, 2010 at 10:18 am

    The animation show of shows was indeed impressive. Not only did the animations showed a mastery of techniques, the stories were really solid. I left the seminar still thinking about the film: “Luis.” I thought the use of stop motion and drawing/scratching 2D technique on the wall was a really successful way in combining a 2D and 3D world. The two techniques were a nice contrast to each other and the texture of the scratching gave the impression that the walls were made of wood. Although I did not understand the language, I got the impression that it was about the death of this boy Luis and the deterioration and building of the furniture represented how his death literally tore his family and home apart. The mood of the film was both creepy and beautiful. I only hope I can achieve the same success in mixing the model animation world with 2D in my own projects.

  2. Linda Liao
    December 2, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Ron Diamond’s curation of the Animation Show of Shows was enjoyable because our student class had an opportunity to view new animated shorts by famous independent animators. I particularly liked the pieces by the Brothers Quay and Bill Plympton. I admire the measure of expressionism displayed in the showcase that Acme Filmworks carries and the level of professionalism in their program.

  3. Amy Lee Ketchum
    December 6, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I really enjoyed Ron Diamonds Animation Show of Shows. I am glad that he included work by large studios like Disney, as well as the work of well known independents like Bill Plympton as well as people I was hearing about for the first time. Doing so showed how both high and low budget films can be made well. “The Lost Thing” was the most interesting one of the films with a linear storyline, although I found the character design of the human to be distasteful. I think 3d animated humans usually look weird, because they look like they’re made of plastic or rubber. I also really enjoyed the “Luis” piece. It was so tactile and emotional. I noticed that many of the independent films had very little dialogue. I appreciate this because it makes me focus more on the animation and visually follow the story instead of simply following through dialogue. I also liked “The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger” by Bill Plympton. Did anyone else see this as an anti-war film?

  4. Rachel Jaffe
    December 7, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Spanning nearly the entire spectrum of animation — from the heightened artifice of computer-generated character animation to the (nearly) haptic stiltedness of experimental stop-motion, the Animation Show of Shows featured not only a dizzying smorgasbord of techniques, but also a startlingly wide array of approaches to narrative linearity. From the hyper-flattened two-dimensionality of “Love and Theft” to the chimerical plasticity of perspective flaunted in “The Lost Thing,” from the preternatural jerkiness of “Luis” to the ethereal visual hyperbole of “The SIlence beneath the Bark,” each work featured a wholly distinctive aesthetic — that ineffably inseparable blend of atmosphere, structure, and visual design. Though the degree of success (and, by extension enjoyability) undoubtedly differed from viewer to viewer, it seems as if the ones that keep springing up in our comments and discussions are the ones that truly integrated their media/um of choice into their structural and thematic constructs.*

    *A hopeless banal comment, I know, but how else could I not-so-covertly foreground my favorite piece, “Luis,” and its willingness to mingle media as a form of structural experimentation?

  5. Juan Gonzalez
    December 7, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    An stimulating selection of animated films as expected from the annual show. I was glad to see in this program “Maska” by the brothers Quay. With such a strong body of work that they have is hard not compare them with themselves. This one seems very literal and quite generous with the audience, the mystery and sense of unknown that one feels after seeing any of their other films is in my opinion big part of what makes their work exciting. Aside from comparing it with their other work, I have to say that I was holding my breath for the entire time. What one fears the most being a monster living inside ourselves, powerful portrait of human complexity presented in the beautifully dark world of the brothers Quay. I want to see it again!

  6. Gregory Jones
    December 7, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Wow, that was something else. I really appreciated the opportunity to have such a broad experience in such a short timespan. I think it’s extremely important to see what’s on the forefront of animation and what better way than to watch the best of the best. Contrary to the opinion of the curator, I enjoyed the clock short. The story was fun, the animation strong and the emotional arc felt right. While Disney has a huge legacy behind them, their reputation as of late hasn’t been the strongest so this is an excellent opportunity for them to regain the status they once held. I look forward to next year’s show.

  7. December 8, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Some of these films were really enjoyable. Generally I feel like animation compilations focus too much on art films and technical achievements. While Luis, Angry Man, and Maska were difficult films in their own ways, others like The Silence Beneath the Bark and The Lost Thing did not present challenging overtones. They were able to be enjoyed by a wide spectrum of audiences, from parents with kids to the artsy types who analyze films to death. Bill Plympton’s The Cow… was so easy to just relax and watch. I wasn’t sitting there wondering what the meaning behind anything in it was.

    I appreciate Ron’s candor with the whole situation. He was up-front with us about why some of the films were chosen and how they were ordered. Except for ending on Angry Man, the films were set up in a way that kept me interested with all the shifts in mood and technique. The Silence Beneath the Bark and The Lost Thing were the two I remember best and probably my favorites. The Lost Thing was so feature-like with a straightforward narrative, and The Silence… contained more subtle messages and undertones. Though they were really different, the Show was set up in such a way that kept my expectations open instead of focusing them on one side of animated films or another.

  8. Jovanna
    December 8, 2010 at 6:17 am

    Angry Man by Anita Killi stood out from the rest of the films playing at this years Annual Show of Shows. The film told a story of a boy’s turbulent home life with an angry father and submissive mother. I appreciated the film’s visual appeal and technical mastery, but i felt the filmmaker failed to weave a compelling tale. Choosing a child’s vantage point, the film contained simplified depictions of love and violence. Not only did these dramatic scenes play out as silly and over sensationalized, but the filmmaker failed to depict the reality that children have complex feelings and emotions.

  9. Justin Connolly
    December 8, 2010 at 9:22 am

    This year’s Animation Show of Shows offered a diverse array of films as could be expected. Overall I think the show was a success, but there were a few films included in the program that were disappointing given the hype I had heard about them beforehand such as “Maska” and “The Lost Thing”. While “The Lost Thing” had a great visual style and very captivating creature designs, the human characters felt distant to me and the story fell a bit flat. As far as “Maska” goes I promised myself that I would not blog about my disdain for the Brothers Quay’s work, so I will simply say I really tried to approach “Maska” with an open mind in the hopes that it would offer me something more than the typical Quay film. Much to dismay, I found “Maska” to be just as inaccessible as the rest of their work.

    On that note I would like to address Ron Diamond’s post screening comments regarding how he structured this year’s program in order to include films such as “Maska” which he acknowledged many viewers would “have a hard time with”. His decision to include such films, knowing that a large portion of his audience would leave the theater at the sight of them, was troubling. Not only did the inclusion of such films affect the structuring of the show and my overall enjoyment of the program, but it also weakened the really strong films in the program as well. The decision to program these “difficult”, more obscure animated films against very strong, more accessible films brought the overall show down several notches for me. That being said, I appreciate Ron Diamond’s enthusiasm for animation from all walks of life and I look forward to seeing what he cooks up for next year’s show.

  10. Louis Morton
    December 8, 2010 at 11:14 am

    My favorite film was the Silence Beneath the Bark. I think it is very brave to make a film set in a world that is completely imagined and original. To tell a compelling story with engaging characters in an imaginary world like this I think is very difficult, and Lurie did a fantastic job. The look and sound design was very beautiful and it put me completely into the character’s world. I appreciated that the story wasn’t completely obvious and when Diamond explained that it was a coming of age story it made complete sense.
    I was surprised to hear about the reception of more experimental films at the larger studios. I know these studios focus on more conventional narrative stories, but I had expected them to be more open minded about seeing experimental stories and looks. One of the things I love about experimental films like Silence is that they push extremely new and original ideas and these ideas can influence classic narrative into new and interesting directions.

  11. Jordan Hansen
    December 8, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I’m glad he addressed the programing of the show in the Q&A portion of his presentation. I understand the difficulty in programming a show for such an incredibly diverse audience but I did think there were some issues. For instance, ending on “Angry Man” seemed strange to me. Additionally, I’m not sure how it works out in other situations but the intermission seemed unnecessary. Overall, the films selected were nicely done but it feels like some of them got lost because of the order. I am not able to offer a better method for programming the films. Ron has created a challenging and dynamic show but I was glad that he acknowledged the difficulty in programming this year’s show. I did really appreciate Ron’s knowledge and ability to talk about the films he showed. As a curator, I thought his presentation and understanding were top notch. It was an enjoyable and challenging show.

  12. Ian McCormack
    December 8, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I’ve had some time to digest the films in the show of shows and I don’t believe that this was a very strong year for the normally excellent program. I don’t think the work was particularly good and the arrangement of the films, explained by Mr. Diamond due to different film formats, made the overall experience weak. There were some strong pieces to start but towards the end I really wanted to leave the room.

    The Quay Brothers film dared the audience to think about it and after a week of thinking about it I can say with confidence that it is not a good work of animation. The animating, composition, and narritive were all weak and given the years of experience to pair has, there is no excuse for it. Any meaning that the film was trying to make was hidden by a sloppy execution.

    Although I did not enjoy this years show I am still a fan of the Show of Shows in general. To date this is the only one I’ve seen that I haven’t left with a smile on my face and pumped to make my own animation. I look forward to next years show.

  13. Allen Yau
    December 8, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    To be honest, this year’s Animation show of shows is not as good as previous year’s, due to the weaker selection of films. But I do appreciate Mr. Diamond’s efforts for arranging so many films from different categories. This show always acts like an adrenalin for us animators. Every time after I seen the show, no matter last year or this year, I always felt that again I found the meaning why I animate, through different parts of the show.

    I really like the visual quality of “Coyote Falls”, I think they have reinvented the Coyote and Road Runner in 3D rendering. But the jokes and the whole plot is really flat and “un-dynamic”. It was really a pity.

    My favorite film for this year was “Angry Man”. I like the intricate qualities of animation and cutout puppets. I found that “Angry Man” has similar qualities of Yuri Norstein’s works. Though there are still some minor flaws in it.

  14. Cecilia De Jesus
    December 12, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Watching the Animation Show of Shows was a great privilege for me. I think each of the films had their strengths, but I was really moved and impressed by Angry Man by Anita Killi. This film was not only visually amazing, but it’s choice of subject matter was really daring. I think you can achieve so much in animation and tackling tough subject matter is certainly no exception. I think this film is pushing boundaries in many ways and I really appreciated it.

  15. Kim Cagney
    December 14, 2010 at 3:04 am

    The films that I enjoyed the most were Angry Man, which was beautifully executed; The Silence Beneath the Bark, with its wonderful style and character and heavily symbolic story; and The Lost Thing, for its enthralling world design. I wish, however, that the story of The Lost Thing hadn’t come across as strangely…. self-contradictory. Instead of leaving the Thing in the place for forgetting, the main character left him in the place for lost things… and then forgot anyway. Perhaps that was the point of the story – that it’s so easy to forget things you don’t want to see – but it came across as a muddled moral.

  16. Matthew Steidl
    December 14, 2010 at 7:24 am

    The concept of including such a diverse array of animations is a good one, for it will introduce people to less well-known animations that they might never see otherwise. While I think that the ordering of films might have made the show more difficult to sit through, I was convinced by Mr. Diamond’s explanation of his studio visits that his ordering was logical.

    My immediate reaction to this year’s Show of Shows was that it was not as strong as last year’s; I felt that the pieces of 2009 were generally more memorable, though it was hard to at first ascertain why. The best explanation I can come up with is that, while each of the films this year demonstrated very skilled execution in one aspect of production, they almost inevitably lacked something else. For instance, while the Warner Bros. Road Runner cartoon did an excellent job of rendering the character in 3d, the progression of gags was totally different from the old cartoons (one gag developed continuously over 3 minutes instead of a longer medley of skits), which chipped away at the nostalgia factor. The rendering of the Disney film was equally impressive, but the story offered very little of interest.

    As for the non-studio films, many of them offered much more stimulating concepts. Perhaps the most outstanding of these was Angry Man, which dealt with domestic violence. While the boy’s rescue by the king at the end felt somewhat improbable, the scene where the boy hides in bed during one of his father’s episodes was truly unnerving. However, the execution of some of these films did make them more difficult to follow. The editing of the Quay brother’s film, for instanced, felt like it did more to obscure that to explain an otherwise universal story about a person who lives with an internal demon.

    My favorite film was The Silence Beneath the Bark – I can’t pretend that I understood the story before Ron explained it, but it felt like a very complete and satisfying world to experience (which I think Lou already mentioned, caused by the charming fantasy of the space, present in everything from the character’s movements to the design of the world in which they live). It gave me the same sense of immersion as Volgens de Vogels did last year, despite radically different techniques.

    All in all, a good show – thanks again Ron, I’m looking forwards to next year’s show.

  17. Linda Jules
    December 14, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    The Animation Show of Shows was quite the eye opener for me. I have noticed a lot of luke-warm reviews on the show, which makes me wonder just how wonderful was the show in past years. As a first time viewer I am happy to say that I was really satisfied with the variety of styles and stories that the show presented. I was especially surprised to hear the Disney short did not captivate many audience members. I have to admit, I am a sucker for a narrative. It’s not that I don’t enjoy experimental, or non-narrative works, but there is something about a great story that warms me up.

    I thought the story of a hero clock was captivating in in simplicity, yet unique in its delivery. We have all seen a thousand cartoons were the little toys inside the shop come to life while toymaker is asleep. This take on a similar story was a nice little change by using clocks. And it contained the unexpected twist of having a burglar break in looking for goods. Instead of seeing this as a bore, I think that it falls under the “boy meets girl and falls in love” and “kid finds a magical item in the woods” categories. Classic, a bit cheesy, but loved all around.

  18. December 14, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    I’m so glad they put brother quay’s new film into animation show of shows. It’s absolutely my favorite one. It’s really heavy, wired, but touches you heart deeply. I really love the mood and the visual in their films. The second one I love most is the Luis. The idea to animate a room is what I always really want to do, and the voice over is very expressive.

    In the past couple years, the animation show of show chose films mostly based on the drawing styles, but it seems like they break the rules a little bit this year. It’s so good to see films like Luis and Love and Theft, which bring in the varieties for animation show of shows. The cow who wanted to be a hamburger is just awful, I don’t know how many films Bill Plympton makes each year, but it seems he doesn’t care about the film’s quality at all, and just put his name on it.

    Overall, there are a few very good films in the animation show of shows, and I’m really looking forward to see more experimental and conceptual films in it. I’m tired to see a illustration based animation.

  19. ryan Kravetz
    December 15, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Over all I thought the show of shows this year was ok, not great , but there were a couple of pieces I really enjoyed I think the 2 that stud out where “The Lost Thing”, Silence Beneath the Bark. They both had great looks I thought there story arch was a bit off but enjoyable. The 2 studio films both disappointed a bit. Disney’s was beautiful and I appreciated there attempt in the off beet style and characters but I didn’t think it went anywhere enjoyable. The coyote Roadrunner was great for about 30 seconds but felt it was one gag over and over and over, as well as shot to shot the look seemed inconsistent as if they were still looking to find there style.I look forward to next years films!

  20. Maria Sequeira
    December 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    One of the most memorable animations in the show for me was Luis. I was surprised that animation could actually be that creepy and terrifying. By the way, there is a youtube version with captions if you are curious what the boy was saying. I think by comparison Maska was nowhere near as successful in eliciting a sense of terror, creepiness, or the interior and monstrous forces of the self. For me the digital effects in Maska were distracting and I was disappointed with the execution of the climactic murder scene. I also really loved the Angry Man and was touched by the honesty of the filmmaker’s choices and her compassion for all the characters in the drama of domestic abuse. I don’t think it was appropriate to play at the end, and it seemed unfair that Mr. Diamond would screen it after Maska in case people walked out. I would have ended the show on a light, happy note.

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