Film Review: Animated Shorts – #MANIFF2016


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Lola Maguire reviews eight animation shorts at MANIFF 2016

Eight animation shorts made their UK premiere at the 2016 Manchester Film Festival followed by a special Q&A with several of the filmmakers.

Yuting Hsueh’s CGI animation opens to several inanimate test dummies suspended in the seated position, one of whom is a different colour to the other. He begins to paint his face in blue and yellow and he records his fantasy and longing with a flip book, where the individual pictures in the book are paintings from his face during the crash, the blue and yellow creating a visual impression on the airbag. In a Q&A session after the film, Yuting discussed his love for technology and CGI and revealed this short was a one man operation that took approximately 8 months to create.

Hungary’s Örs Bárczy mixes CGI animation with live acting in the entertaining 6 minute short “Oh Deer!” A lovable house proud deer is the star of this short, meticulously shovelling his driveway of snow what appears to be the eerie glowing Northern Lights. He returns inside to drink his daily mug of hot cocoa, which he enjoys immensely, then as if like clockwork there is a strange noise and a mysterious earthquake shakes up his world causing damage to his home that he has to pick up after every day. All is revealed towards the end and this deer’s life is changed dramatically.

The hit of the shorts is Woolyvision’s presentation of Nudinits – Tickled Pink. A two year endeavour from Sarah Simi, inspired by a childhood television gems as Trumpton and The Clangers, Simi creates a completely knitted world, the idea for the narrative finally achieved after watching a documentary on free hiking. Nudinits are indeed almost completely nude albeit for a few choice accessories such as the Vicar’s collar, the Policeman’s ‘tight helmet and truncheon’ *snigger* etc. This 22 minute short was visually very entertaining with every item of the set knitted by the art department – my Grandmother would have been proud guys!  The double entendres hit you thick and fast and the audience jumps on board chuckling and then belly laughing as we follow Barbara’s capers around the Village of Woolly Bush on the day of her birthday. Very British and very tongue in cheek, innuendo’s are a go from start to finish!

Next up is the UK premiere of REVOLTOSO, a 30 minute bricabrac puppetry short directed by Mexico’s Roy Ambriz, Arturo “Vonno” Ambriz, a visual feast set in Don Gonzalo’s hacienda during the Mexican Revolution in 1913. Don Gonzalo, an avid follower of the recent exiled president, Porfirio Díaz, uses the strength of his wild boars to enforce his will. A nervous photographer is hired to film and document his regime. The Revolutionary Army attacks the hacienda in order to reclaim the land to the workers. In the midst of this battle, the little boar is brought closer to the film camera and must decide what to do with it.

Other gems include SRY BSY, a 3 minute sketched animation depicting the stresses of the modern day workplace directed by Germany’s Verena Westphal and Daily, a 2 minute German short directed by Florian Genal which shows a monotonous futuristic production line until one robot decides to funk things up a little. The animated shorts finish with Bottomless – United States, a submission directed by Veronique Vanblaere in which a Belgian woman seeking citizenship in the US finds that her experiences are bottomless. I’m not too sure that this is a good thing….

4 out of 5 stars

Animated Shorts made their UK premiere at the 2016 Manchester Film Festival