The Brooklyn Film Festival went down last week in our home borough. This year’s short animation lineup was particularly strong, and it reminded me why I love attending fests: getting exposed to excellent work that I might not have found otherwise, and meeting the artists behind it.
The animations varied wildly in theme, style, and geographic origin, from the utterly delectable stop-motion photography Best Animation winner Amélia & Duarte from Portugal, to the gorgeous, wordless 2D mood piece In A Good Way from Taiwan, to the disturbing, Burton-esque puppet animation Last Door South from Belgium, and beyond.
Some filmmakers from far-flung corners of the world made it to the Williamsburg screening. After charming the whole audience with his story of pursuing his dreams to become an animator after a personal tragedy, Hong Kong artist Hoi Chiu wowed us by describing the process he used to manipulate grains of sand for his stop-motion entry Red Egg. That’s right: I said “grains of sand.” The film was composed of 1,582 individual sand paintings.
Their quest was to create an animated film that challenges the perception that animation is for kids.
Chiu was not the only maker whose work was painstaking; indeed, artistic commitment was a theme. The makers of Audience Award winner Borrowed Time, Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj, talked about the many night and weekend hours they spent over five years putting the film together outside of their day jobs at Pixar. Their quest was to create an animated film that challenges the perception that animation is for kids. And they’ve done it. I was definitely not alone in having “something in my eye” during Borrowed Time’s final scenes.
Maria Körkel of Belgium also attended, with her contemplative, hand-painted film Nina. Körkel’s process was another multi-step one, involving filming live-action and then rotoscoping and painting the final product on paper.
I hope you’ll come away as moved and inspired as I was by checking out a few of the films (or their trailers or excerpts) below.