Sundance animated (and doc) shorts

KKUM (Kang-min Kim)

Our narrator says he doesn’t dream, but talks with his mom and experiences her dreams vicariously. This is brought to life with styrofoam-textured animation, all transforming objects, stop-motion-handmade-looking but from the lighting, dancing around and within the models, I assume it’s software… oh wow, no that was real styrofoam. Anyway, it’s an earnest appreciation of the filmmaker’s mom.

The Fire Next Time (Renaldho Pelle)

2D-looking, mostly wide shots without legible dialogue, city scenes following some young guys at a distance while a blackness slowly encroaches. During the night’s police riots the blackness catches up and they fall into sunken place. If it’s meant to be a James Baldwin adaptation, it’s not credited as such.

Ghost Dogs (Joe Cappa)

In 2D squigglevision, a roomba does a poor job cleaning after a party. Dog is locked in the laundry room while weirdly human-handed ghost dogs which look influenced by Chris (Simpsons artist) take over the house, levitating tennis balls, stealing food and masturbating to a dog food commercial on TV. This is the second short in a row to enter the sunken place. After a psych freakout the lone dog escapes, discovers satanic horrors in the basement, destroys the dog skeleton bone throne, I guess freeing the ghosts and himself as the malfunctioning roomba sets the house on fire.

Misery Loves Company (Sasha Lee)

Very short… fun flower-headed dance animation set to an autotuned track about being too cowardly for suicide and wishing a meteorite would destroy the planet.

GNT (Sara Hirner & Rosemary Vasquez-Brown)

Extremely Adult-Swimmie vagina-humor instagram girls, argh.

The Fourfold (Alisi Telengut)

If I’d made this sand-art visualization of shamanic spiritual rituals, I’d be pretty steamed to be programmed after the vaginal fungal infection thing instead of say, Ghost Dogs or the earnest one about maternal dreams. Pretty hypnotic.

Trepanation (Nick Flaherty)

A sunken-place hole opens inside a GTA apartment… holey creature rises, doing that 1999 horror movie twitch. I guess the human becomes the twitchy thing and vice versa, then they both jump into the hole.

Souvenir Souvenir (Bastien Dubois)

The filmmaker’s scratch-textured family-memoir thing contains another animated film in a different style, an Earthworm Jim exaggerated-cartoony war thing. He’s researching the Algerian war for a film project, trying to get his grandpa to talk about his own war experiences. But our guy doesn’t know how to make a film about war, and is bad at research. An imaginatively designed movie about the failure to make a movie.

Little Miss Fate (Joder von Rotz)

When the tiger-riding hand-deity controlling the fate of a doomed dude takes a pornography break, its cleaning bird attempts to provide the guy a happier ending, but pushes the love button too many times leading to an uncontrolled devouring orgy-mass descending on the fate tower. The humor and animation are both extremely Superjail, therefore I enjoyed it.

I started to watch Doc Program 2, but after the first four shorts my next feature was starting, and I never made it back for the Jay Rosenblatt, which was the one I wanted to see in the first place.

A Concerto is a Conversation (Ben Proudfoot & Kris Bowers)

Concerto composer talks with his grandpa about his work… closeup interviews about racism in grandpa’s life growing up. Composer is playing the Disney symphony hall, and as the music he wrote rises inspirationally over the triumph-of-adversity stories, I got the feeling that all this was a Disney ad. The random shot of the great moment(?) when Green Book won best picture clinched it (ah nope, NY Times funded this).

My Own Landscapes (Antoine Chapon)

Monotone narrator talks about designing plant life for simulations… she writes scripts in Alma for military battle sims, focusing on lush trees and landscapes as self-therapy after war experiences. Lot of slow pans up army men, alternating with game footage (incl the map editor)

To Know Her (Natalie Chao)

Family home movies, wondering about a late mother.

The Field Trip (O’Hara & Attie & Ojeda-Beck)

“I need my CFOs to stand up.” Children run a business town for a day. Pretending to do finance, being sent away from the bank for not having the proper documentation, entering deposits into a crashing computer app, is whatever’s the opposite of cute. Very pre-pandemic: these kids touch their noses a lot.