Ok, you're about to read about one of the greatest bits of animation I've ever seen--
I recently returned from the Annecy Animation Festival in France, which I attend every year. Since I've been making animated features for over 20 years I like to see what's going on in feature film production rather than shorts.
Some of these films never get major distribution even though they're brilliant (ex. "Grendel, Grendel, Grendel", "Mind Game") so this may be the only chance I get to catch a diamond in the rough. Well, I found one! It's called "Anima Buenos Aires". It's a compilation of various animated shorts dealing with the city. The recently deceased Caloi has a wonderfully imaginative and funny section about the denizens in a local bar.
The real highlight for me for a short sequence by master illustrator Carlos Nine. A few years ago, Peter DeSeve turned me on to him, and I'm glad he did! Carlos usually sticks to graphic novels and illustrations, so this may be his first real foray into animation.
Not from the short, but example of his black and white style:
Wow, I'm still stunned thinking about his short. What a tour de force of animation! The story starts out in film noir live action as a gangster gets gunned down in the sordid streets of Buenos Aires. As he lays dying it turns into black and white animation (just simple brush style art) to describe this guy's life and loves before his demise.
But what a show! Mr. Nine has his own particular world and style that's unlike anything I've ever seen before, yet it feels so familiar and compelling. The people, buildings, and cars are extremely distorted, yet they are so real!
As I sat in the audience watching his delightfully beautiful animation, I felt like "Why even bother making animation, this guy is way beyond anything I could ever create"" And it's not that the screen is packed with beautiful art-- in fact, the screen is fairly empty -- just the simple characters and designs of his imagination.
Pat Smith and I are planning a Drawn Animation Festival on August 23rd at the SVA Theater (it's free!). I'll try to get a clip of his film for the spectacular show of hand-drawn animation from around the world.
See you there!