The Animation Show’s 2nd year show came to Austin last weekend, and I was lucky enough to see it Sunday evening with Don Hertzfeldt taking questions afterwards. He discussed traditional animation, the dying art of shooting on actual film, and the four-year process of making his latest film, The Meaning of Life.
One of the things that struck me about this year is the running time of some of these shorts. 10 minutes is fine if it’s brilliant work, as many of these are, but I was surprised that a couple films didn’t hold my interest. Overall it was a great show, though. Some of the highlights for me were Guard Dog (Bill Plympton), When The Day Breaks (rotoscoping as style instead of cheat), Hello (only animation can do this), and Pan With Us (stunning innovation in stop-motion).
The Man With No Shadow was also a favorite. Don Hertzfeldt likes to talk about how real innovation in animation usually happens in short films, so it was appropriate that this film took an element that is usually the first thing to be removed from low-budget television or feature animation — shadows — and built a whole film around it.
Don’s latest itself was good, but probably not equal to Billy’s Balloon or Rejected. From his weblog:
“there’s a lot going on in there, tho on one level i think the film is sort of like a painting and what you take is going to be very personal and very different than the guy next to you.”
In 2003 I posted my review of the first show.