Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Telluride Film Festival, Part 2 - "Anomalisa"

As you saw from the photo in Part 1, while I was in Telluride, I ran into my old friend, Tom Noonan.  I first met him years ago at Sundance where he showed his films.  He's a fellow Lower-East Sider and I used to go see his plays.   In fact, I cast him as the voice of the principal in my high-school horror film "Hair High", and we went to Slamdance together in 2004 to promote it. 

Ironically, he was in Telluride to promote his work as a voice artist for Charlie Kaufman's new animated feature, "Anomalisa" (try to remember that title) where Tom did about 30 voices for the film, and David Thewlis and Jennifer Jason Leigh provided the voices for the two lovers.

It was a real pleasure to meet Charlie Kaufman, I've been a fan of his for a long time.  He doesn't say much, so we didn't really connect.  However, the film is a unique, very special animated feature.  If you've seen "Being John Malkovich", "Adaptation.", "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", or "Synecdoche, New York" (all films written and/or directed by Kaufman), well, this film is equally weird. 

It's a story about a motivational speaker visiting Cincinnati and falling in and out of love with one of his fans.  The animation is realistic stop-motion, which doesn't really use animation to its best surreal potential, but I think that was his point.  That in a way, we're all puppets.

Other people may have different reactions to the film, but to me the concept is about how we all are looking for that special love, a unique voice, and often it turns out that when we think we've found it, that person just turns out to be like everybody else. 

I heard that the film won the big prize in Venice, so perhaps it will get good distribution.  But I'm afraid that he'll run into the same problems that I had with "Cheatin'", since here in the U.S., distributors believe that there's no market for animation aimed at adults.  "Anomalisa" has a very mature and sophisticated story - plus there's nudity and sex.

However, I pray that this film will break through that evil stereotype and open the doors for more adult-style animation, like my upcoming film, "Revengeance".  So, good luck to you, Charlie Kaufman.

--Bill P.

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