I took a trip down to London’s Southbank on Sunday evening to see wow+flutter, a showcase of short, digitally-themed animations that are part of onedotzero, an annual festival and tour celebrating “adventures in moving image”. I’ve been several times before when it was based at the ICA (it’s now moved to the BFI National Film Theatre), and I always find it really inspiring. Normally, I can never remember the details of the films I’ve seen - it’s pretty intense; with over an hour of back-to-back shorts each lasting only 1-3 minutes - but this year they provided a list of the films details, so I can report on some of my highlights and provide links to some of the films.
The wow+flutter programme concentrates on “progressive motion graphics”, which can include pretty much anything, while other parts of the festival are more specific: wavelength for music videos, j-star for japanese shorts etc. You can check out the entire list of w+f films are here, but these are my favourites:
Ubik: voxel I’m a fan of the augmented reality style when it’s done well; and it certainly is here. Striking abstract graphics combine with a haunting location.
Bruno Dicolla: Return as an Animal This featured a striking high-contrast rotoscoped style that looked great on the big screen. Unfortunately the shimmering starfield effect is a little lost in the on-line version. I could almost hear art directors reaching for their iPhones to jot down “must copy this at next available opportunity”.
Christian Schlaeffer: Agent Orange Ready A dark, disturbing animation in a comic style.
Ironically I found the most obviously “digital” films the most disappointing. There was a little too much in the Chris Cunningham inspired glitchy, razor-cut, super-shiny organic/mechanic vernacular. And there was also one film - which I won’t name - that looked shockingly like a Tia Maria commercial. Still, in general the signal to noise ratio was very good.
Some of the most memorable films are those with a punchline; the short film format is a great way of getting a laugh with a simple, funny idea. There’s no risk of stretching it too thin.
Mato Atom: Docking A laugh-out-loud concept executed nicely and succintly, and it even goes out with an anti-war punchline.
So there you are; just 5 of the 30+ shorts that were shown. If you’re into animation or cutting-edge digital film-making, I’d recommend catching a onedotzero screening wherever you can, either in London or on one of the tour locations.