Thursday, November 09, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

Apologies for not posting more! More drawings will be up here some day, I promise :)

For the next month or so hopefully I'll be working a lot on a new short.

One reason for no posts lately was my helping Joe Peery put together International Animation Day for ASIFA-Atlanta. It was a blast!

Here's what I wrote about it:

International Animation Day, October 30th, Atlanta

For me, it started with an email asking for volunteers to help ASIFA-Atlanta with International Animation Day. This was something I very much wanted to do, for so many reasons: I love ASIFA, I was hoping to get to hang out with Joe, I would get to see animation from around the world... I'd remembered Joe speaking at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival about how amazing international animation is and how we should really
show some in Atlanta.

Joe was smart and told me what to do: I got to send emails to a bunch of different countries. This itself was interesting; for instance, we got a reply from Iran. Sadley, they couldn't send us anything, as it would take too long to get through the filters. You hear about this kind of thing on the news but this was so real- here is a fellow animation fan across the world, and he can't send us a DVD. It left a bit of an imperssion on me.

What was also noticeable about this was every country was so friendly and helpful! They were so kind to us and sent us a number of DVDs. At first we were worried about lack of material, but as more and more DVDs arrived, soon we had plenty! We got DVDs from Hungary, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Israel, and France

The next step was to go through it all and pick out the cream of the crop. This was a lot of fun too, actually! I got to visit Joe, and we ate pizza and watched animation together, which was a lot of fun. Some DVDs (Israel and Japan, and the one from France that would arrive later) blew us away. At one point Joe remarked after a couple of particular marvelous films, "Ah, this is why we do this."

The next step was for me to figure out exactly which films to put to DVD to show. It was difficult to narrow down just the best ones, and I still think I could have decided better, but I made the program and spent the weekend making the DVDs- it was a learning experience. Here's the program:

1. beton 6 min (israel)
2. laughing moon 6 min (japan)
3. found country 2 min (portugal)
4. leo 5 min (israel)
5. float 4 min (israel)
6. pieces 2 min (japan)
7. hogyan repuljunk 2 min (hungary)
8. ski jumping pairs 6 min (japan)
9. wind's embrace 3 min (portugal)


1. never say devil 8 min (israel)
2. circles 8 min (israel)
3. syncopation 6 min (israel)
4. home alone 4 min (japan)
5. ktse hoot 3 min (israel)
6. well 3 min (hungary)
7. elevonal 6 min (hungary)

So Monday morning arrives, and I put the second DVD in and happened to have a look at "Circles". "Oh no," I think as I watch it, "it's way too compressed!" The bitrate was too low, and compressing it twice didn't help either.

No problem, though: I simply re-encoded all the films to my laptop and didn't recompress them to make a DVD. It took some time, but I couldn't stand the quality being low. My thinking was we could play directly from the computer, or even from the original DVDs. We actually ended up playing from the laptop, but I'll get to that soon!

So I leave work early (feels good!) and head to Relapse Theatre to meet up with Joe and Bob Wood, who runs Relapse and was very generous to let us use the space. Karl Sigler (of which had its first meeting just the other night) arrives as well, heroically bringing his projector and white sheet as a backup (thanks so much, Karl!).

We all started to set up, and were testing out the sheets we had, when Ward arrived, to the rescue!! Ward kindly went to a lot of trouble to get us a goregous screen that his brother-in-law uses in his performances with his group Mars Ill (exellent hip hop, I recommend it). The projection looked fantastic.

People began to actually arrive, and I saw many familiar faces- the dedicated Westwood students who always show up to drawing on Thursday nights at Westwood College, a bunch of people I'd seen at previous events, such as Charles Judson. I run into him at every animation or film event I go to, it seems like, and it's always a pleasure. He writes for CinemATL. Several of my friends were kind enough to come by (Alex, Martin, Robert, Tak, Tim, and Margaret for instance). I can't name everyone I remember seeing, but it was a good turnout! I talked to Adam, who's always at ASIFA stuff, and he and his friend actually skipped class to come!

Everything seemed to be going pretty smoothly, but when we tried to get sound out of the laptop, we had a problem! After tinkering with it for a while, a sound engineer friend of Joe happens to arrive, and he saves the day. This man is my hero, seriously. I know how to pronounce his name ("see-la" I think) but have no idea how to spell it. Anyway, I gave him a big hug!

Because of the sound problem, we got started a little late, but once things got going, it seemed like the crowd really enjoyed it. Even though we'd seen all the films before (and some of them several times... I've watched "Pieces" and "Laughing Moon" lots of times), Joe and I both felt that seeing them on this great screen with Relapse's big speakers was just marvelous.

The audience applauded after every short, which I thought was really nice! One film that people seemed to particularly enjoy was "Ski-Jumping Pairs". It got the loudest laughs I think! Joe said we had to put that one in, and he was completely right- it is really funny.

We had an intermission, during which people mingled and snacked on the free snacks ASIFA provided (come to drawing class and you not only get to practice drawing but you're contributing money toward events like this!) and drank the drinks Relapse was selling (we like Relapse, they were very good to us).

We watched the second half of the program, took another short break, and we ended the night we several shorts from the French DVD. These were simply incredible, and I was glad that people stuck around.

IAD was a blast, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. A HUGE thanks to Karl for the projector and set up help, Ward for the beautifully gorgeous screen and backup projector, Bob for being so welcoming with Relapse, Joe's absolutely heroic sound engineer friend, and our friendly and generous ASIFA contacts in other countries for sending us the DVDs, without which there wouldn't have been a program here at all. And Joe for letting me help with this, and Vella too!