I’ve been a fan of onedotzero - the forward-looking moving-image festival - for many years. I always try and make it to at least one of the screenings, normally wow+flutter, but with a couple of kids it’s been getting a bit difficult to find the time recently. The content could be pretty “dark”, so it’s definitely not a good idea to bring them along, in fact you have to be 16 years old to get into the screenings.
But this year, much to my surprise and delight, they introduced a special, Sunday-afternoon screening especially for kids, called “Sprites”; excellent! Now I had an excuse to bring the whole family along too! Was it a co-incidence that Shane Walter, curator of the festival, and his lady wife have had a baby this year…? Maybe… To be honest, I was a bit worried; my daughters are not the most, err, robust cinema-goers. The youngest spent a good deal of the latter part of Toy Story 3 screaming in terror. Still, I was determined (and intrigued) to see what had been programmed, and thought that if it came to it I’d just have to shuffle embarrassingly out of the cinema with a tearful child.
It was brilliant. I can safely say that all 4 of us (me, my wife and a 3 and 5 year old) really enjoyed the show. It was programmed really well, with a mix of 10+ minute long animated shorts, and shorter, sharper sequences. It kept everyone’s attention very effectively. The longest film was one originally intended as a pilot for a series, an unlikely sounding Argentinian creation called Gluko and Lennon, a quirky, contemporary combination of plucky pink and purple protagonists and a depressed superhero. The amorphous pink Lennon (or was it Gluko) was the youngest one’s favourite character of the show.
Like some of the other films, it had quite an edgy feel, but I think kids nowadays are quite used to it; they’ve been bought up on the Yo Gabba Gabba slightly knowing, ironic style.
There was some very high-quality (I hesitate to say it, but, Pixar-quality) animation on display; and by that I mean both beautifully animated and also very well observed and amusing, even for adults. Lucas Martell’s Pigeon: Impossible was laugh-out-loud funny, and Hi-Sim’s Jun and the Hidden Skies was charming and polished.
There was also more traditional animation on display, which can often feel more disturbing somehow, but which were very unthreatening in this setting. The South Korean Cherry on the Cake was in this style, and featured an interesting angle on family life which was especially relevant to “little people”, though maybe a bit bigger than 2cm.
The psychedelic style was also well represented, from the lullaby style of Chico Jofilsan’s My Little Angel to LookListenFeel, which invoked feelings of a long, lazy summers afternoon. Andy Martin was on hand to introduce his weird and wonderfully-scored Dry Fish in person.
The last short was a minute’s worth of scat kitten. Believe it or not this my 5 year old’s favourite. Ah well, there’s no accounting for taste…
So, it was a huge success. I got to see some fantastic animation on the big screen, the kids got to see things they found funny and fascinating, and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. If you’ve got any interest in animation or film, and a child or two to accompany you, head down down here next year and enjoy it too.