The Animation Show premiere

Friday night’s premiere of The Animation Show here in Austin was a lot of fun. An excellent collection of shorts. Many of them I had never heard of, and most I had never seen.

Afterwards Don Hertzfeldt and Mike Judge took some questions. Here are two quotes from Don:

“Really the point of this is to give back to the artists.”
“We’ve done this before — we hope we can help them get through the door.”

Basically, he made two points on the purpose of the show:

  • To get good animation to audiences. Not just a few cities but into the midwest and all over the country. Apparently they are booking more shows than is usual for Spike and Mike.
  • To help artists get their work out there, help them make money. Don feels that short films should be a viable pursuit in themselves, not just as a way to land a feature job at a big studio.

Other points:

  • It’s not a competition. Spike and Mike and The Animation Show can co-exist. Mike Judge pointed out that in the 80s there were several shows (International Tournee, etc). Don remarked that it doesn’t have to be like the big features, where there can only be one player for a given movie weekend.
  • Every year there will be a new show, with both brand new shorts and also older classics. New submissions will be considered for the 2004 show.

The big surprise in the program was the inclusion of Ward Kimball’s 1957 film, “Mars and Beyond.” Kimball, one of Disney’s Nine Old Men, passed away earlier this year.

Some more highlights (incomplete list):

  • “Strange Invaders”, from the National Film Board of Canada
  • “Mt.Head”, a great piece from Japan
  • “Cathedral”, CGI with great backgrounds, really well done
  • “Parking”, Bill Plympton
  • “Vincent”, Tim Burton
  • “Das Rad”, neat idea and well executed
  • “Huh?” and “Office Space” by Mike Judge
  • “Billy’s Balloon” and “Rejected”, plus the 3 new shorts for this show by Don Hertzfeldt

The Animation Show web site now has a complete program list, and a schedule for cities the tour will hit over the next year.