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Fantastic Fest 2014: Day 4

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Previous recaps:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Day 4: Sunday 9/21

As much as I wanted to go to MondoCon first thing and line up for Laurent Durieux’s Back to the Future Part III poster, I didn’t want to miss Drawn and Quartered 2014, the animated short film program at Fantastic Fest. I’m glad I made it a priority, the program was filled with entertaining and beautifully animated shorts, including Canadian gems The Chaperone and Day 40. The Chaperone was my favorite of the bunch, and I was happy to see it win the Fantastic Award for best animated short.

Chaperone

Anonymous on IMDB perfectly sums it up:

The Chaperone tells the true, previously untold story of a lone school teacher who fought off an entire motorcycle gang while chaperoning a middle school dance in a church basement in 1970s Montreal, Canada. Told from the first person unscripted perspective of the school teacher and DJ who were there that night, The Chaperone recreates the whole scene using hand drawn animation, miniature sets, puppets, live action Kung Fu and explosions all done in stereoscopic 3D. With over 10,000 hand drawings (many of which were colored in crayon by hand), an original blaxploitation score and featuring a cast of over 200 people, The Chaperone is an unconventional approach to documentary shorts.

Day 40

Day 40 was a deserving runner-up with a hilarious take on the Noah’s ark story. It’s surprisingly (but not overly) profane. Director Sol Friedman previously won the Fantastic Shorts category for his film Beasts in the Real World and he joined Fraser Munden, director of The Chaperone, for a Q&A after the screening.

The Present was another favorite with it’s beautiful black, white, and red animation and cool music. Directed by Joe Hsieh, the short is from China with English subtitles. It is based on an ancient folktale.

The Age of Curious is from the UK and is directed by Luca Toth. It sports bright, bold colors and has a painted, watercolor look.  It’s a coming of age film that I found difficult to follow at times, but it was pretty to look at.

The Age of Curious

Unicorn Blood

Unicorn Blood (Sangre De Unicornio) is a Spanish short from director Alberto Vazquez. The main character (above) looks mean, is hella cynical, harshly honest, and super funny. Crowd-pleaser.

Beast (La Bete) has impressive line work and black-and-white animation. From France, Vladimir Mavounia-Kouka delivers the tale of a woman with a wolf growing out of her.

La Bete

365

365- One Year, One Film, One Second A Day is just what it sounds like; a fun string of 365 one-second clips that are random and unrelated. It works as a one-time watch and example of directors Greg and Myles McLeod’s animation skills, but the lack of plot or story gives it limited replay value.

Ritual of Cathode Ray Tube was originally a multi-screen gallery installation. It has dark, creepy music and the film version divides the screen into sections featuring monochromatic drawings that play like a live news feed of a black magic ritual. Directed by Mores Zhan, it is an odd little film that I found interesting and ominous.

Ritual of Cathode Ray Tube

Lucky and Finnegan

Lucky and Finnegan is the colorful, super trippy, psychedelic rock video for Toronto band Ronley Tepler and the Lipliners. I can dig it. From Canada, directed by Davide Di Saro.

Storm Hits Jacket (Tempête sur anorak), from France, directed by Paul Cabon, is a charming sci-fi comedy that mixes espionage and semi-crude animation. Not bad.

Storm Hits Jacket

The Obvious Child

The Obvious Child has an interesting look. I’m not exactly sure how they achieved it, but the unique look is suitable for the dark and twisted story that features odd voice over narration and characters with black, lifeless eyes. From the UK, directed by Stephen Irwin.

Metamorfoza uses stop motion animation and found footage, combined with dolls, butterflies, and a kaleidoscopic effect in this experimental short that was originally commissioned by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Directed by renowned collage/animation artist Martha Colburn.

Metamorfoza

Broken Face

Broken Face (Sale Gueule) was the closing film of the program. It impressively uses marionettes to tell the sad story of an old man and the sea. From Canada, directed by Alain Fournier.

Overall, I was impressed with Drawn and Quartered 2014. It’s a nice collection of short films by artists of several different countries featuring a variety of entertaining and artful entries with beautiful animation.

Producer Michael Glasz, director Fraser Munden (The Chaperone), and director Sol Friedman (Day 40) were in attendance for a Q&A after the screening.

Animated Shorts Q&A

After the Q&A, I jumped in the car and tore ass across town to catch the art-direction panel at MondoCon.MondoConMondo Talk: Art Direct A Poster Live!

The three-headed Mondo monster of Justin Ishmael, Mitch Putnam, and a buzzin’ Rob Jones discussed the process of taking a poster from it’s initial concept through it’s design phase and studio-approval. They showed images of several unreleased posters and alternate versions of posters that had never been shown publicly, and gave insight into past projects and the obstacles they encountered.

Poster for Ted. Not released because Seth Macfarlane didn't like it.

Unreleased poster for Ted. Seth Macfarlane didn’t like it.

It was an honest discussion and a great chance for collectors and fans to peak behind the curtain. It was also an opportunity for the Mondo team to elaborate on the process and dispel some of the myths and beliefs collectors might have. Judging by some of the crazy comments on Facebook, some fans could learn a thing or two from the panel.

Aside from being informative, it was entertaining and Rob Jones kept us laughing with his cutting humor and off-the-cuff commentary. It was fun listening to the guys talk posters and seeing the many iterations certain projects went through before finally being approved or getting the axe.

Near the end of the panel, Just Erickson of Phantom City Creative revealed three designs he did for the Joker’s Favor episode of Batman: The Animated Series. The audience voted (via applause) for their favorite of the three and the most popular (b) will be printed and sold.

Joker's Favor

Unreleased Prometheus poster by Craig Drake

After the panel I checked out the artist booths I didn’t make it to on Saturday. The crowds were smaller and the vibe was chill. I had a good time catching up with friends/collectors that flew in from all over the country. Through online forums such as Expresso Beans and social networking sites like Facebook, many groups and clubs have popped up over the last few years and the hobby just keeps getting more popular. With all the familiar faces, for many, Mondo events have a feeling similar to family reunions. The first MondoCon was a success and everybody seemed to have a good time.

As the convention came to an end and the artists took down their booths, I made it over to the Marchesa Theatre for a screening of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre with live accompaniment. Composers Anton Maoif and Umberto created a completely new score for the film and debuted it at MondoCon. The original dialogue and sound effects were left in tact, and the haunting new score was played live, really elevating the experience. The music during the climax of the movie was especially intense. Attendees left with a copy of the score on vinyl, titled The Hook and Pull Gang, and released on Death Waltz Originals.

After the screening, I stopped by a party some of my friends were having before heading back to Via 313 for some more Detroit-style pizza. My collector buddies from MondoCon were zonked and getting ready to travel home, but my fun in Austin had only just begun.

4 days down, 4 to go. Day 5 coming soon…

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Salty Winters once said, "Everything I learned I learned from the movies." He was quoting Audrey Hepburn.