loves2k19: the films by women at animation block party

Yesterday I went to Animation Block Party, and there was a moment where my friend and I got nervous, because the first three shorts they played were of a certain… type. Now I know it’s not impossible for white male animators to produce interesting work, but if you wanted to build a case for it… I mean at least Flex Calibur was fun! And Pine High did some things! And Phantom 52… you know what I’ll stop there!

Anyway thank GOD, the program did include work by women! And they were outstanding: Under Covers by Michaela Olsen and ROSE QUARTZ/FULTON STREET by Sarah Schmidt.

Under Covers

So this will probably be frustrating to read, because a) Under Covers is a short film that you really ought to see knowing nothing beforehand, but b) I can’t find any information on how one can view Under Covers!

AFAICT it’s not available online anywhere… I hope it’s eventually uploaded somewhere? Or becomes available for purchase? Anyway. In the mean time: See if any of your local theaters are screening animated shorts from Sundance 2019? idk!

As I said, I think Under Covers is best experienced with no prior knowledge, so I’ll describe more what it does than what it is.

Often when a film has an interesting storytelling mechanism or is made through an unconventional medium, the story itself is unremarkable. Under Covers has both qualities — it’s a story told through under-the-covers/under-the-bed reveals, in stop-motion — but also manages to tell a weird and compelling story, a celebration of secrets and vulnerability and nakedness.

What’s fun about the film is that it starts out jarringly strange, then somehow by the end, without ever noticing, you’ve been sold on every very-odd part of it. Like 7 minutes later, when all the characters float up into space to orbit a smiling moon, you’re like, “ok yeah! that makes sense.”

It’s also visually v beautiful! Gorgeous colors and materials.

Try to see it somehow! If you can!

Rose Quartz/Fulton Street

On my way home from the event, I looked this one up and I learned that it’s actually a music video commissioned for and by a band called La Dispute.

I think it’s better viewed the way I viewed it, though, as a gorgeous short film with an unexpected soundtrack that just narrowly avoids overwhelming it:

This is such a hard thing to pull off!

The whole thing takes itself so seriously — it’s an intense song, with intense, 0-subtlety kind of lyrics, set to … a cartoon? How does this not become a parody of itself?

And yet it works! The chorus(?) especially is breathtaking.

(Argh this is also something that was truly stunning to see outdoors, at night, on a giant HD projector screen! But a computer screen will have to do as a proxy.)

Honorable mentions

Octane by Jeron Braxton was also extremely cool! I had to go to the bathroom so I missed part of it ? ugh should have gone during — nvm.

I’ll also enter this, which is not an animation, but is filmed by me, premiered on Instagram as a story: it was a nice day