Thursday, 15 January 2009

onedotzero: adventures in motion

This festival was probably the least interesting socially, as it took place in my native London. So not really that much of an adventure: between screenings all I could really do was sit around waiting, the South Bank being far too expensive for me to be able to actually do anything. The fact that I didn't get any sort of concession for being a film maker apart from for the screening my film was in also made it somewhat less fun compared to say, Filmstock, which let its film-makers get into pretty much EVERYTHING free. onedotzero had the most consistently high-quality selection of all the festivals I went to, but somehow this actually makes it seem worse in retrospect, since everything just blends together and its hard to remember the highlights. There were highlights, however, (and low-points, too, but I'll get to those).

There were screenings over three days, grouped thematically or in other specific ways. I'll just pick out the most notable films that I can remember from each one, of course. I'm lazy tonight so you'll only get thumbnails and links for the REAL highlights. I'll also list them in ascending order of memorability, cleverly creating a build-up of tension resulting in a climax.

New British Talent 08:
This featured, suprisingly, films made in Britain. I've got "cheat neutral", "Procrastination", "big boy_74", and "operator" written on my program in massive fat purple marker, so I guess they must've caught my eye at the time. I can remember three of these: cheat neutral, a mockumentary making fun of the idea of carbon offsetting by comparing it to offsetting cheating in a relationship by paying other couples not to (yeah...); big boy_74 sees a man about to commit suicide in his car accidentally involved in a sexy rendezvous arranged online, was a little predictable but charming; and operator, which I'd seen before online, I think, in which a man phones up God and asks him why he can't lick his elbow.

I remember this being fairly good, but to be honest I can't remember any of it. Alex Robinson, a mate of mine at Kingston had his film London showing alongside mine. However, the daft cunt in charge of editing fucked mine up, and edited together the three parts I had to provide it in without removing the overlap. I almost walked out, and certainly gave the first staff member I could reasonably hold responsible a very thorough talking to. Oh well.

j-star 08:
I remember thinking this was pretty interesting, too, but I can't remember anything from it either. I'm really on form today, aren't I? Oh, there were three episodes of the profoundly stupid Usavich. Make of it what you will.

studio aka: a retrospective:
Dedicated entirely to the work of London aka. Most notably there was a showing of Mark Craste's new short Varmints, based on the illustrated book. It was okay. Looks very nice, though its environmental message was a bit hamfisted.

wow + flutter 08:
The theme of this was supposedly experimental work (if I understand the ridiculously flowery blurb correctly), but most of the British animation industry seems to be trying to be "experimental", so I don't see what good dedicated a whole section to it does. Oh well.
I say that, but actually, looking through the program, some of this stuff really WAS experimental, even by British standards.
Actually, when I say "some of this stuff", I really just mean David O'Reilly's WOFL 2106. I was going to skim over it as a mere curiosity, but in searching for it to link to I found his site and realised he's actually genuinely an insane genius. Seriously, he made a music video consisting almost entirely of video compression artefacts. And the absolute most ugly, jarring, visually offensive piece of moving image ever made. And all the props and illustrations for Son of Rambow, apparently. But seriously, fuck anything you've ever seen that you think is experimental. This man truly doesn't give a fuck what you or I or anyone thinks. And that makes him awesome. I personally think that alot of people that DO manage to be experimental don't seem to me to communicate any honest intent in their work, making it just difficult for the sake of being difficult and leaving me cold. But I find David's stuff incredibly compelling. He's apparently very successful, but unlike alot of genuinely original and successful people, the superficialities of his "style" haven't caught on, become mainstream, and subsequently been ruined. I hope it stays that way.

My personal highlight of the festival. This was a triple-feature, with the theme being fairly self-evident, I think.

Michel Gondry directed Interior Design, in which the female half of a couple staying with friends until they can find a flat feels useless, until she turns into a chair and is able to be useful to some random guy who picks her up.

Leos Carax directed Merde, about an insane, red-bearded, green-suited troll of a man living in Tokyo's sewer system, who occasionally comes out and scares people, then one day throws some grenades into some crowds, is arrested, and turns out to speak a language only spoken by two other people in the whole world, one of whom looks like his mirror image and defends him in court.

Bong Joon-Ho directed Shaking Tokyo, about a hikikomori (wowee!) who falls in love with a pizza delivery girl and forces himself to leave (this one sounds really mundane and obvious but it's alot cleverer than this synopsis implies). All three were very interesting and compelling.

As well as Alex Robinson and London, Danny Boyle who I also studied with was there with a special preview of Slumdog Millionaire. It was very well received, and I gather it's been doing very well lately, so congrats to him.

Okay that was a lie, it's not that Danny Boyle, but I couldn't resist, even though that whole palaver has actually long since blown over. He was actually there with The Grand Old Duke of York (Danny where the hell's your website I want to link to you), in the "Top Draw" section, which I didn't see but which he said featured far too much rotoscoping. Matt Layzell joined us for merry drinks afterwards. It was a treat.

Apologies for the pared down reviews and sullen-to-surly tone of this particular post (I don't actually mean any offense to any experimental artists you may happen to like, either). I'm working tomorrow and it's past my bedtime. Hopefully I didn't offend the two people who (maybe) read this blog (hi, "Catherine"!)I think the next festival is encounters, which left somewhat more of an impression.

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