Chris' Final MIAF Wrap Up: Days Six & Seven


Sorry for the delay folks, here's the final entry in my MIAF wrap up for 2009. Saturday & Sunday had a lot more great films, and also involved meeting and hanging out with some great people too. On Saturday I attended the Australian Panorama & the Australian Forum, as well as International Program #4 and the Late Night Bizarre. On Sunday I caught International Program #5, International Program #7, and then Chris Landreth's Screening & Q&A session. Here's my favourites from these sessions:

The Employment
Santiago 'Bou' Grasso (Argentina, 2008, 6'15)

As I understand it this was in close contention for the Best of the Fest (which went to Chris Landreth's "The Spine"). For me it was a bit of a one trick pony, but it was very effective in its simplicity. Great looking, a message we can all relate to, and some excellent comedic timing.

Great Ambition
Malcolm Sutherland (Canada, 2008, 3'00)

Good clean fun. Cute animation with a cute song.

Naturebreak: Roommates
Mike Hollingsworth (USA, 2008, 2'00)

Another simple, but fun animation. A bit predictable, but still funny.

Rabbit Punch
Kristian Andrews (UK, 2008, 5'30)

I really enjoyed Kristian's previous film "Bald Dad" a year or two ago so I was delighted when I recognised his distinctive style on the screen. Very simple, but strking visuals. I'm a big fan of the way this film looks. I don't think I enjoyed the story quite as much as Bald Dad, but this one had a much darker edge to it which could account for that.

Anton Setola (Belgium, 2007, 6'45)

Another great combination of visuals & music. I guess I'm a bit of a softy for the combination of jazz & animation, but I really enjoyed this one.

Peter Parlegreco (USA, 2008, 8'15)

This film shows a bizarre world full of strange creatures. It isn't really clear what's going on, and as this one was in the late night bizarre screening I just embraced the weirdness and sat back to enjoy. That was all I was expecting to get out of the film,so I was shocked as about half way through a simple story began to develop and I was quite moved by the surprise ending. I'm not sure how a casual viewer would find this film given how strange it is, but it was one of my favourites from the Late Night Bizarre session.

Looking back over the festival there were a few films I really enjoyed that I haven't yet mentioned, so here's a little retrospective:

The Black Dog's Progress
Stephen Irwin (UK, 2008, 6'00)

This is quite a disturbing film where a dog is repetitively abused. That might turn you off, but I assure you it looks and sounds incredible. The film is hand animated using flip books and is drawn in a style that reminds me of the old rubber hose cartoons. The sound track is incredibly chilling. Very well put together, and it was very affecting on the big screen. A real technical & artistic achievement.

Black Tea
Serge Elissade (France, 2008, 5’00)

Black tea features a funny, paranoid character and some very nice animation. The story is funny, but the thing I really enjoyed about this film is the way the character is animated differently as their mood changes. Great stuff.

The final session I attended at MIAF 2009 was Chris Landreth's Q&A session. Chris won an Academy Award for his film "Ryan" and was nominated for one of his earlier films. You can appreciate and enjoy his films, watching them now, but it was really interesting to hear Andrew Hagan's introduction where he explained just what a huge impact Chris Landreth has had on CG animation when his films were first released.

This session was a real highlight for me. It was really great to hear about Chris' approach to animation and some of the technical developments that went into creating his films.

His latest film "The Spine" won Best of the Fest, and it was great to get a chance to see that (playing for only the third time at a festival).

Well I guess that's it for another year folks. I'm too tired to write any more! Sorry for the short and somewhat inconsequential breakdowns of each film, but it's quite hard to get your head around so many films in such a short time.

I want to send out a huge thank you to Malcolm, Helen & everyone else for once again putting on an astounding festival. And thanks must also go to all the filmmakers who submitted their work. It was a real pleasure to see so much wonderful work.

Chris Pahlow

Chris Pahlow is an independent writer/director currently in post-production on his debut feature film PLAY IT SAFE. Chris has been fascinated with storytelling since he first earned his pen license and he’s spent the last ten years bringing stories to life through music videos, documentaries, and short films.