Adding to the collection of film festivals hosted in the desert hideaway of the stars, The Palm Springs International Animation Festival & Expo boasted a large selection of animated films from around the world. A total of 103 countries were represented in the programming, consisting of 250+ short films and five full-length feature films. Different styles of animation were showcased throughout the festival such as hand-drawn, watercolor, stop-motion, VFX, and 3-D. Hand-picked from the catalogue of cinematic offerings is Borrowing Tape’s top picks from the 2018 Festival.
German director Nathalie Lamb embodies the struggle and wistful desires of a long-distance relationship in her stop-motion short, Him&Her. The eight-minute film is narrated by a phone conversation between a couple working in different countries. They entertain the idea of building a tree house and living there together, imagining the kind of things they would put inside it like a piano or an aquarium. As their conversation becomes more detailed, each room of the tree house is animated according to what they couple shares--representing the space they long to create together. Him&Her is poignant in its symbolic visuals and detailed animation in the construction of a stable relationship that can withstand even the worst of weather.
The line that separates life from death is very fragile, and what better way to illustrate that eternal struggle than seeing it through the perspective of a dandelion trying to survive a summer heat wave. Director Kevin Hudson delivers a message on the circle of life in just under four minutes, detailing how a dandelion residing on a withered front lawn wants to move to the plot next door. If the grass is truly greener on the other side is up to the viewers’ interpretations, but Weeds dazzles with colorful simplicity and clean-cut honesty. The short was created by various Walt Disney animators and was also a contender to be nominated at the 90th Academy Awards for Best Animated Short Film, making a significant mark in the world of animated cinema.
A short film made especially for self-proclaimed film snobs and movie enthusiasts alike, Gordon McAlpin’s Multiplex 10 is a straightforward comedy that pokes fun at the medium and those who partake in it. Originally starting as a webcomic in 2005, Multiplex 10 centers on a group of young people working at a movie theater. The humor in Multiplex 10 is very meta and self-aware, often namedropping specific titles and commenting on the state of the modern film industry. The transition from webcomic to web series has been a success, having been launched through a fan-driven Kickstarter campaign. Multiplex 10 honors the art of filmmaking in a way that is pithy and refreshingly humorous.
German director Maximilian Auer mixes the neon, rain-tinged aura of neo-noir with a silent story of finding an identity. His five-minute short film, Clubbing, utilizes innovative special effects and CGI to render a world that is both vibrantly hued and draped within a dark, stormy night. There are no people, only geometric shapes. One shape, in particular, a pyramid, waits at a bus stop at night but is drawn to the hustle and bustle emanating from a nearby nightclub, hoping to find a group of shapes he can “fit in to.” Not only are the visuals mesmerizing but the absence of dialogue allows for an electronic soundtrack to narrate the scenes like an elaborate music video. Clubbing speaks to viewers trying to their place in an endless sea of monotony.
Hailing from the Netherlands, Tabook is a three-minute venture into a bookstore, where a lonely female customer looks for the perfect story to read. The saying goes not to judge a book by its cover, but the other occupants of the bookstore judgmentally eye her selections and influence her decisions of what to purchase, much to her embarrassment. Animated with a cheerful style and polished line work, Tabook infusing some adult humor and themes into its narrative to create a juxtaposition that charms audiences.