[Fantastic Fest Recap]…’Drawn and Quartered: Animated Fantastic Fest Shorts’

One of the many fun and surprising events at the 2012 Fantastic Fest are the three short film sessions. The animated shorts series, humorously titled Drawn & Quartered, was a mixed bag to say the least with wildly diverse mediums and surreal subject matter. Out of the 9 or so shown the following 5 were the real standouts for a variety of reasons…most of which were because they didn’t make the audience feel like they were have a bad acid trip (I’m looking at you Bobby Yeah and Follow the Sun…essh!).

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

Attack of the Killer Mutant Chickens – Based in India, Mutant Chickens follows a team of expert chicken hunters dealing with the endlessly multiplying mutant poultry who threaten the destitute town. Obviously going after the cult audience that hold Killer Tomatoes so dear, this is funny and has some merit. Playing like an art school project the animation is decent (and has a 90’s flash video feel to it) but the short is a bit disjointed. Some jokes work, the gun play is fun but it all feels a bit thin and could have been better. Still, giving credit where it’s due, the one line that sets up the whole skit, “people used to eat chickens, but now chickens eat people” is such a neat and profound vision of the depicted future. 2/4

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

Tram – With a throwback style of animation and a plucky tune that gets your feet tapping, everything starts out fine in this cute skit. From the corpulent tram driver, to the passengers and even the street lamps, everything on screen is in tune with the music. But the cute doesn’t last very long as things start to get slyly and increasingly “suggestive” until it soon becomes a phallic fueled train ride which echoes tentacle anime (only without being totally gross). It’s oddly humorous watching it slowly spin out of control to an upbeat melody but it’s not one to watch with the family…then again, what is at Fantastic Fest? 3/4

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

Bendito Machine IV – One half a wonderfully simple artistic exercise (black silhouette figures set against a colored back ground), one half a political/environmental statement the brilliance of Bendito comes from its simplicity as it communicates its message free of dialog. Using the computer graphics to help with the really incricate animation frames it is a beautiful but huge artistic slap in the face to both industrialism and the oil industry. Just a solid short, one with a pretty impressive ending whose message transcends its 2 dimensional limitations. 3/4

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

PostHuman – This widely appealing American action anime is an absolute gem that will impress anime fans who love popular and seminal properties like Cowboy Bebop, Akira and Aeon FluxPostHuman is a stylish 6 minute sci-fi rescue mission that is just WOW up, down and sideways. Fast-paced is an understatement as PostHuman picks up speed and never looks back. Rest assured, though short this is incredibly solid and well crafted. When this jaw-droppingly cool short is over you will be dying to see more of this story, its world and characters…and that’s before the hard-edged and driving Tron: Legacy Reconfigured themed music which turns this home run into a grad slam. Please, someone make this into a series! 4/4

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

Paperman – A Disney film at Fantastic Fest (read: largest genre film fest in the US)? Frankenweenie made sense (being both a Burton and pre-Halloween feature) but this was hands down the short that felt most out of place amid all the other weird, wild and WTF at the Alamo Draft House. But man was it good! A Disney short by animator John Kahrs, it’s not meant to win over zombie fans but instead a way of showcasing a new and revolutionary type of hybrid animation technology (CG model with a 2D hand drawn layover). Well no matter where it screens Paperman won’t have a problem finding an audience as it’s everything you’d expect from Disney and more with a double dose of fun, humor and sweet sweet nostalgia. It’s vintage Disney with a new school twist and will make any film fan feel like a kid again. Wow, so much fun! 4/4

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

You can check out the full line up of what other shorts were in the line up (along with a synopsis) here.

UPDATE: The results of the Fantastic Fest Awards are in and 2 of the above mentioned shorts have taken the audience by storm. Benditio Machine were  IV (Jossie Malis, Spain) walks away with the winner of the animated shorts competition while Tram (Michaela Pavlátová, Czech Republic) takes Runner-Up. Congrats to everyone for even making it into the Fest.