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Klik! Animation Festival Favorites Round-Up

Popcorn gif from Gif Alert

Popcorn gif from Gif Alert

This past weekend Dan & I packed up again and took the train up to Amsterdam to attending the Klik! Animation Festival. It was a great experience and allowed us to indulge long hours watching the weird, beautiful, and unique. Klik! is also very accessible if you only speak English because it is held in Amsterdam and because all the films with spoken parts are in English or have English subtitles. Workshops are in Dutch though, so we didn’t attend any of those and there is always the chance that one of the talks will be partially or wholly in Dutch (which happened to us during the Brendan & the Secret of Kells talk).
Amanda’s Top 5 Shorts
Dan’s philosophy is that you should try to watch shorts at festivals because you probably won’t see them anywhere else. With that in mind we saw all of the shorts in the juried Open Competition (results are in their news section here).

Like most art festivals, there were several gems, quite a few shorts pretending that Confusing = Art (news flash, it doesn’t), and mercifully few items that were downright terrible. Here’s my Top 5 picks, plus a list of the other notables.
1. Pigeon Impossible, Lucas Martell, USA: 3D Animation & winner of the KLIK Mopti Award. I think I almost fell out of my chair laughing at this. This is the most unpopulated version of Washington DC I’ve ever seen (cleanest too).
2. The Cat Piano, Eddie White & Ari Gibson, Australia: Dark, soulful story about a city of musical cats. Style galore.
3. Paultje en de Draak (Paul and the Dragon), Albert ‘T Hooft & Paco Vink, the Netherlands: Traditional animation. This short about a young boy fighting against cancer designed for kids to help them understand what they’re up against. Very professional. This film deserves to be used everywhere to help give sick kids hope.
4. Variete (Variety), Roelof Van Den Bergh, the Netherlands: A vaudevillian romp about life’s juggling act. For some reason I teared up both times I watched this short.
5. This Way Up, Smith & Foulkes, UK: 3D Animation. A longish and funny story about two undertakers just trying to do their job. Sweet & fun, although it did take a few strange turns.
And some other notables…
Orgesticulanismus, Mathieu Labaye, Belgium: Rather artisy mixed media animation about reinventing movement. The dance sequence in which a single dancer fluidly changed bodies was phenomenal.
Sorry I’m Late, Tomas Mankovsky, UK: Live stop motion.
Kudan, Kimura Taku, Japan: 3D Animation. One of Dan’s favorites.
TV Dinner, Simon Tofield, UK: Gotta love the kitty.
Les Anges Dechets (Garbage Angels), Pierre M. Trudeau, Canada: Appealed to my love of found art.
Judas & Jesus, Olaf Encke & Claudia Romero, Germany: Not safe for kids and not really for the devote Christian either.
Monseiur Cok, Franck Dion, France: 3D Animation: One of the better ones about the struggle of the Worker and destructiveness of war.
Storyboard, Yasuhiro Sera, Japan: A great short for comics lovers and creators.
Joystick, Kevin Richards, UK: One of those very artistic pieces of animation, but done in a way that was actually meaningful.
Western Spaghetti, Pes, USA: Stopmotion: I don’t know what is western about this, but the use of nostalgic toys and items to make a spaghetti dinner was pretty inspired.
Little Face, Matthew Walker & Ben Lole, UK: Live action with 3D animation. Winner of the KLIK Open Competition.
French Roast, Fabrice O. Joubert, France: 3D Animation. I really liked the design on the bum.
El Empleo (The Employment), Santiago “Bou” Grasso, Argentina: Winner of the KLIK! Political Animation Award. Makes you wonder if anyone in this world has what we’d consider a real job.
Chainsaw Maid, Takena Nagao, Japan: Claymation and Honourable Mention for the Open Competition (to my surprise). Very gory but funny.
Phantom of the Cinema, Erik Van Schaaik, the Netherlands: Mix media animation. The story confused the heck out of me, but the interactive use of the “screen” was unique and well done. You probably won’t be able to get the feel of it from the trailer I’ve linked unfortunately.
And two to avoid at all costs…
Natural Selection: Rise of the Proletariat, Michael Mallis, USA
Sagan Om Den Lille Dockpojken (Tale of Little Puppetboy), Johannes Nyholm, Sweden

Feature Films
We also had to chance to see Brendan & the Secret of Kells, on its Premiere weekend in the Netherlands. This is a story about how the Book of Kells can be (fictional of course). While the overall story was very simple, it is sweet and holds up well. The real reason to watch this film, however, is the phenomenal design work that went into its eight year creation. The animation team took pains to create a world using styles and techniques from the Book of Kells itself and medieval art in general. It was a bold move (using angular and repetitive shapes; sometimes ignoring perspective), but one that was executed beautifully. I recommend anyone going to see it if you have the chance and like Celtic design. The film certainly has me itching to draw Celtic knots again.

Finally we saw Mary & Max, an award-winning full-length claymation that was also a Netherlands premiere. It is an extremely dark story about two broken people a world apart in age, distance, and circumstances, but brought together as penpals. Definitely not for children, but worth going to see if you find it in your area. It is an Australian animation & is in English.
At the end of the day one of the most disappointing things about animation festivals is that so many people will never see many of these animations outside of another festival. That’s one of the reasons I’ve links what I could here (thank you interwebs). If you get the chance to attend an animation festival, check it out. There’s usually a little something for everyone.

Did you attend Klik! or have opinions on the films listed above? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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