The Mill Valley Film Festival is underway. Here’s some animation screenings you might want to check out. Their website is here: http://www.mvff.com
“Looking out my window, I see my world has changed. The sun won’t rise this morning.” Whether you desire dark, introspective, or tubed-meat undertones, this year’s stop-motion and hand-drawn animation shorts program will take you on locomotive rides both comedic and surreal. Kicking off the journey is Tamara Hahn’s Gnosis (US, 5 min), featuring a monster’s desire to steal a baby, followed by Santiago “Bou” Grasso’s Father (Argentina, 12 min), in which a woman ponders over her dear wartime leader. José Miguel Ribeiro takes us on a gorgeously illustrated Journey to Cabo Verde (Portugal, 17 min). Then Eric Cheng’s Higher Sky (US, 6 min) slaps a kung-fu lesson to a monkey and swallow. Brats and chicken sizzle alive at the beach in Carlo Vogele’s Wurst (US, 6 min). The animation train screams to a stop with visual effects master Phil Tippett’s first installment of Mad God (US, 11 min), where characters writhe in macabre, nightmarish splendor.
Nonverbal or in English. “So this bird’s got to fly…I’m tellin’ you, honey, this bird’s got to fly.” This program of animated shorts from around the world is sure to delight children of all ages. The Argentinian Llama Drama gets us off to a hilarious start. The French LaMi (in three segments) tells the story of the notes of the scale as they make friends. Miriam’s Kite from Estonia follows the adventures of Miriam and her duck. Nunavut, Canada brings us the Inuit The Orphan and the Polar Bear. The evolution of the New World is a bright, bouncy short short from the UK’s Oliver Sin, followed by a bright and bouncy 13 from Marin’s own Cynthia Pepper. The Australian The Gallant Captain is a boy on a mission. Through sand drawing, the classic hoop is transformed and erased and transformed again in Tess Martin’s Hula Hoop A blend of 2D and 3D, Rabbit and Deer, our centerpiece from Hungary, will amaze and tickle you. Russia’s Tin Can bounces down some funny roads. The poignant, child-produced The Man Who Loved to Whistle is more of a heart-wrencher; it was produced in Croatia by our cultural partner, SAF Cakovec. All ages.
FOCUS ¡VIVA EL CINE! Nonverbal Handdrawn animation and music from luminaries in Brazil’s contemporary music scene enhance this wordless tale of a boy’s travels to find his father, who no longer can earn a living from the land. Traveling from his rainforest playground through the cotton harvests and factories where people like his father find work, to the anonymous city littered with a confusion of signs, billboards, and flyers that tout the values of a commercialized society, the boy keeps looking for his father. He sees his birds, trees, and song replaced by endless lines of trucks, piles of trash, and displaced people and knows only that he wants to restore his happy family and life of color and wonder. But the new world has chosen progress—armored monsters razing forests and people turned into identical, anonymous commodities—over traditional ways of life, cultural heritage, and natural diversity. Awash with color, motion, music, and wonder, The Boy and the World is an experience meant for the big screen, even as it precisely captures the viewpoint of one so small. Ages 6+
IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE LATINO COUNCIL AND HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
FREE OUTDOOR SCREENING The City of Mill Valley, Mill Valley Recreation, the Chamber of Commerce, and MVFF invite you to a free outdoor screening of a croony, swoony animation classic that’ll delight the young—and the young at heart! Bugville, a bustling insect community, sits at the edge of a city garden that’s threatened by foot traffic and construction. Good-hearted grasshopper Hoppity returns to Bugville to find Mr. Bumble and Honey, his lovely daughter—and Hoppity’s bee-loved—fearing for their community’s safety from big-shoed humans. They should worry more about C. Bagley Beetle and his droning henchmen, Swat the Fly and Smack the Mosquito. Beetle wants Honey for himself—and he doesn’t care who he has to squash to get her. Hoppity thinks he’s found a way to give the bugs a safe and beautiful home, but it’ll require trusting some “human ones” and foiling Beetle’s schemes. The whole family will enjoy the rich colors, buzzy animation, and swinging songs by Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser.
Preceeded by Mill Valley Redux, Tiffany Shlain and Devon McAllister’s homage to Rita Abrams’s 1970 hometown hit.
Movie screening is free with general admission seating. Please bring your own blanket or low beach chair. Snacks may be purchased with proceeds to benefit community programs. For more information contact Mill Valley Recreation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nonverbal. A real forest landscape is the backdrop for a 3D animated story about the tiny, scuttering creatures that live there, including our petite protagonist: a recently hatched ladybug who is minus one wing and one family after an encounter with a gang of flies. Finding refuge in a tin full of sugar cubes–part of a picnic abandoned by two humans driving, of all things, a VW Beetle–the ladybug is carried off by a pillaging troop of black ants hungry for the sweet loot. But a red ant wants to take the booty back to his own queen, and right in the middle of the epic battle for the sugar is the plucky little ladybug. Despite being on location in Provence, les insectes of Minuscule don’t speak a word of French, or a word of anything, in this buzzed-about film. There is no rapid-fire dialogue but lots of Tati-esque sound effects and a wordless immersion in the wondrous–and sometimes menacing–natural world. All ages.
WITH SUPPORT FROM THE CONSULATE GENERAL OF FRANCE IN SAN FRANCISCO AND THE FRENCH AMERICAN CULTURAL SOCIETY
Sponsored by Bellam Self Storage
Conversations with filmmakers from films that are part of awards season, these discussions are designed to illuminate the creative filmmaking process. Edited versions of the discussions will be available at variety.com
Steve Chagollan – Senior Features Editor, Variety, will lead the discussion on The Lego Movie.
Invited guests: Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Sponsored by Variety
The revered Studio Ghibli retells one of the oldest of Japanese legends. An elderly bamboo cutter discovers a tiny child growing out of a shining bamboo shoot. He carries her home, even as she begins to magically grow in his hand, and, along with his wife, adopts her. When another bamboo shoot starts gushing with gold and silks, the woodsman becomes convinced their beautiful “Princess” daughter is destined for a grander existence and uproots the family to an opulent life in the city. But her background is more magical than even the princess herself suspects. In a stunning style that is at once evocative of the woodblock prints of Hokusai and Hiroshige and the broad brushstrokes of animators John and Faith Hubley, director Isao Takahata–in his last film before retirement–paints a perfectly elliptical ending of love and loss.
Sponsored by Community Media Center of Marin
Thrill to these depth-defying shorts, all in 3D! Watch a ribbiting rogues gallery in Robert Bloomberg’s Frogs & Friends (US, 7 min). Jason Jameson and James Hall’s One Night in Hell (UK, 7 min) depicts a skeleton’s underworld journey. Did Georges Méliès create the world’s first 3D film? See for yourself in The Infernal Cauldron (France, 3 min). Commissioned by his granddaughter, Suzanne Lloyd, this iconic sequence, from Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last, originally shot in 2D, wasmagically transformed by the 3D conversion wizards at Legend3D (US, 4 min excerpt). A train journey goes surreally off track in Santiago Caicedo’s Moving Still (Colombia, 3 min), while Jeff Boller’s A Geek Like Me (US, 4 min) is a tribute to shared interests. Joséphine Derobe’s Diary of a Fridge (France, 9 min) chronicles 30 years in a family’s life. All Is Not Lost (US, 4 min) is a kaleidoscopic view of human connection via OK Go, Pilobolus, and Trish Sie. Bob Venezia’s Pieces of the Fair (US, 3 min) reveals the secret life of carnival rides. David Silverman’s The Longest Daycare (US, 5 min) pits Maggie Simpson against the Ayn Rand School for Tots. Trish Sie’s White Knuckles (US, 3 min) combines 12 pups and a rock band. In Lauren MacMullan’s Get a Horse! (US, 6 min), Mickey Mouse takes a special wagon ride. And finally, Patrick Osborne’s Feast (US, 6 min) shows one man’s love life from his dog’s perspective. Ages 6+