The internationally renowned onedotzero_adventures in
motion festival, last weekend, saw onedotzero; BFI Southbank and BFI IMAX join
forces to present a scintillating array of audiovisual and cinematic
experiences, forecasting the future of moving image. Beth Webb gives the
lowdown on the short films, some of which were featured were part of the Philips
Parallel Lines campaign.
Nightfall: A one-off screening of some of the more
extreme, leftfield and bewildering entries to this year’s festival.
They save some things for after dark for a reason. Take
the worst part of every horror film you’ve ever seen, compress them into ten
and this will still leave you less bewildered, disturbed and frankly
traumatised than OneDotZero’s Nightfall.
Branded as “a unique showcase of the more extreme, leftfield
entries” in this year’s programme, this screaming rollercoaster of
menace this year kick-starts with its first in a stream of music videos, here
for Yeasayer’s Madder Red, directed by Andreas Nilson. Fans of
The Knife, MGMT and José González will know from the previous videos
that he has directed to expect the Guillermo del Toro of music visuals;
dark themes and distorted images set to some of the better contemporary genres
of sound. No sharp intake of breath then when this creation is two odd minutes
of Kirsten Bell losing of what can only be described a pet tumour, bleeding from
the mouth next to its food bowl, but the images still linger long after
The sparse belly laughs of the night are provided by Belgium
short La Terrible Malediction, or Dance with the Devil, documenting a
woman’s encounter with a zombie long tired of being type cast and searching for
the one. Honest’s Boob has the sort of ridiculous humour first brought to light
with Edgar Wright’s Grindhouse trailer Don’t; a bizarre tale of a possessed
breast running wild in the corridors of the gloomy Advanced Centre for
Mammoplastry. And the conclusion of the minute that is Taken will make you jump
hard and laugh loud.
Corporate Occult/Huatron is reminiscent of an early Prodigy
video, following a one night stand with a horrifically demasculating twist
using .REC style night visuals. Similarly the crescendo of Eric Wareham’s
music video had every man in the audience crossing their legs in anguish.
Trumping visually and passive in comparison
to its accompanying features were animated slices Loom and Pivot. The
first, intricately divulged upon by German company Polaroid takes the simple
concept of a moth being caught in a spider’s web and turns it into a visual
symphony throbbing with a dark spectrum of colour and dancing through the
various dimensions of the hunt. Pivot’s angular perceptions equally takes a
simple chase sequence and turns it into something reality simply could not
offer, elongating limbs and choreographing surroundings to make some sort of
Intruding between these with a harsh slap of reality is
Bastard’s music video for Metal on Metal, a Battle Royale-esque game of ping pong
between two school girls where the ball, for the sheer entertainment of its
upper class spectators, has been replaced by a hand grenade with socking
The only real nod to the conventional horror genre is the
final chapter of Nightfall, Andy Muchietti’s Spanish short Mamá which
delivers a traditional fright in its short lifespan. On shaky reflection
Nightfall offers a decent contrast of slick new shock with the uniquely weird,
crunchy gore with dark laughs. It’s absolutely not for everyone but if you
wanted to explore every direction of the genre this would be a good place to start.
Sprites: Selection of friendly shorts hand-picked for
the new digital generation of young motion creators and critics.
An unnerving contrast to the horrors of the night
previous, festival director Shane Walter takes to the stage with a baby,
thankfully revealed as his son, to introduce this collection of little gems
with little and large people in mind.
Starting the rounds off with a tweet is French event Piu;
a hiccup of a film comprised of tiny chicks with electronic voices creating a
digital chorus and an Easter egg palette of pixels. Cue squeals of joy from the
small and yes, occasionally adult members of the audience. Through this journey
of childlike wonder we find Isabella Riosellini lending her lush vocals to the
pop up simplicity of LookListenFeel, boys flying paper planes into the night
and an accordion dog, providing a sort of treasure box of cinema.
Japanese influence lies thick in British animator Andy
Martin’s Dry Fish and Argentinian Gluko + Lennon; a tale of two friends
darting through a pop art world of robots and forests to find a super hero’s
stolen cloak, which not greatly helped by Lennon turning into a tree when
Some offerings beg on the bad side of simplicity; Shota
Imai’s Hap-pea shies in comparison to its predecessors for example in terms
of concept and detail, and a music video for The Chap’s Even Your Friend seemed
completely out of place in this selection.
These moments are few and far between though as Hyebin
Lee’s Cherry on the Cake astounds with its delayed, dreamy sense of
animation and perfect reflection of a child’s longing and disgruntled movement
without resorting to any means of cuteness.
Similarly Sharman’s Quest Part 1+2‘s blink and you’ll
miss them stories of an Eskimo providing for his wife and baby could be
considered a bit too brutish for those on the other side of ten, but were
hysterical for those of us that didn’t need a booster seat to view the screen,
and The Furry Pals was very much a case of questioning the state of mind of its
creators when it came into being, mainly whether this was the source of
something quite recreational.
Hitting right at the cores of childhood fascination was Jun
and the Hidden Skies (picture above), Hi-Sim’s animated short film in
the five Philips Cinema series, taking viewers on a dragon flying spaceship
shooting journey into space with two siblings and their pet rabbit in a
cardboard vessel. My Little Angel (Chico Jofilsan) in turn
returns you to the state of mind only achieved when you were little and on the
brink of sleep with its lavish illustrations and lullaby soundtrack.
Pigeon: Impossible and Kitteh Kitteh concludes this
circus parade with a short that wouldn’t look out of place before the next big
Pixar release and a jazz-loving scat-singing cat (of course!) Diverse and
thoughtfully chosen, it’s the timing above anything that makes most of these
pieces memorable, whether it’s being tickled at a singing panda or falling
silent at little girl swimming in her parents tears. The animation is promising
proof that even limited resources and small budgets can produce good effective
stuff and you don’t have to be knee high to appreciate it.
Robotica: This selection explores the ethics and
social effects of a world shared with robots or androids, from spy messengers
in snowy Moscow (Carl Eric Rinsch’s The Gift, Cannes Lions 2010 Grand Prix
winner) to extraterrestrial robotic invasions of earth by way of Uruguay (Fede
Alvarez’s Ataque de Pánico!).
Topping a strong burst of competition in the festival’s
Robotica collection was Ricardo de Montreui’s The Raven. This six minute
marvel opens with a District 9-esque long shot of a sinister looking craft
occupying the Los Angeles skyline before we follow Chris Black’s Raven persona
as he pelts through the city, pursued heatedly by a mechanical police force. De
Montreui’s expert use of framing and racy editing makes for exciting and tense
viewing as Black catapults through an urban playground with a slick
choreography achieved by parkour and panic.
Being a short gives way to be punchy and The Raven is
certainly that, pausing only to let our man catch his breath before hurling him
into action again. We don’t really need an explanation for Black’s capture but
we’re given one anyway, as one flick of the hand causes mayhem for his enemies,
highlighting this is no normal kid. On an impressively minimalist budget de
Montreuil manages to accomplish pleasing visual effects which contrast
well with the more derelict areas of LA whilst incorporating a believable look
into the future of the US justice system. Admittedly this is not pushing the
boundaries of science fiction in terms of plot and concept but everybody loves
a rogue, especially one that can lift cars with his mind.
Drawing a lot of attention amongst an excellent collection
of shorts in onedotzero’s Robotica event this year was Carl Erik Rinsch’s
The Gift (main photo). Bursting forth as one of five instalments
from the Philips Parallel Lines campaign, Rinsch’s articulate merging of
dystopia and human values against a snow laced Moscow canvas dutifully earned
the top prize at the International Advertising Festival at Cannes. Centring on
unveiling and consequently protecting the contents of a mysterious box we are
carried through a vision of future laden Russia, teased by lavish interiors and
a vision of what could lie in a not so distant future. A morbid crescendo
brings us to an inspired chase through the city on the shoulders of a mechanical
servant in a desperate attempt to serve his masters wishes. Every inch of
this character is beautifully crafted and unnervingly human, perhaps
leading the way for sophisticated digital creation and something for Ridley Scott
Associates to be protective of.