Animated Short Films: Family Treats, Puppet Animation Festival, SSTC, Review

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Puppet Animation Scotland
Miki Cash & Tom Gasek- USA (Ain’t no Fish), Pétér Vácz - Hungary (Rabbit and Deer), Ant Blades- UK (A Christmas Wish), Vera Lalyko - Germany (Frenemy), Ben Smith - UK (The Lost World), Augusto Bicalho Roque – Brazil ( Cartoon Away), Brooke Wagstaffe - USA (Missing U)
Running time

A delightful hour of custom made films for children.

For the first time, Puppet Animation Festival brings an international programme of short films made especially for children to this season. Each of the films is recently created and last from a mere 1 minute to an epic 17 minutes and are made by artists from Hungary, Brazil, Germany, the US, the UK and Australia.

The schedule on the Puppet Animation Festival (PAF) site has been slightly altered and includes some films not on the programme. One of these is Brooke Wagstaffe’s multi award winning Missing U a gorgeous, clever and moving short animation that takes us in rhyme from a metropolitan background to a world of deep imagination where letters are anthropomorphised. From cartoon to stop motion, it concludes with the beautiful message that I to U = We. Utterly magical!

Surprising among the animations and additions is a short film acted by people called Ravi & Jane from Australian writer and director Stuart O'Rourke. Set in Australia, it is a touching tale on the effects of immigration on a young Sri Lankan boy who is living in a detention centre and with whom a young Australian girl develops a friendship. This award winning bespoke children’s film is only 14 minutes long and has the feel of an afternoon movie but covers important current and very human issues.

The other addition that has no credit is a brilliantly funny black & white cartoon about a man in a car park dealing with a very angry dug. A hoot and real gem!

From the opening stop motion maritime delight Ain’t no fish by Miki Cash and Tom Gasek, that features a whacky trio of Arctic seals singing the Hoagy Carmichael song of the same name while managing to get a message from Jacques Cousteau that we are “all in same boat in just 4 minutes, to a modern subverted take on Tom and Jerry with Frenemy from Vera Lalyko and Ant Blades’ short stylised and darkly surprising A Christmas Wish, this programme is packed with delights.

Not least of these is the multi award winning mixed-media film Rabbit and Deer from Pétér Vácz. This incredible little love story centres round the changing dynamics between friends Rabbit and Deer as one steps from being a minimalist stick figure to inhabiting a 3 D world. Their tender route to accommodating each other is a joy to watch.

In what could be seen as a salute to Will Anderson’s The Making of Longbird, Augusto Bicalho Roque brings the surreal Cartoon Away where an animator’s drawing board character finds a life of its own beyond the power of its creator.

Most disappointing is the inclusion in the programme is Ben Smith’s CG animation The Lost World that is the story of a stressed executive who wants to get away from it all on a deserted island only to find it is inhabited by dinosaurs. While the effects produced by this method of animation are nothing short of amazing, their whizz bang incredulity are very much part of mainstream animated movie making and lack the surprise, innocent delight and invention of the stop motion, mixed media or traditional drawing board cartoons. It even has what now seems to be a ubiquitous Scottish voice over!

Over the piece, this is an hour very well spent.

Friday 10th April
Time: 16:30
Final date Isle of Mull , Comar 14th April