Thursday, May 7, 2009

Maryland Film Festival 2009 - Animated Shorts Program

Golden Week(end) starts for film afficionados in Baltimore as the Maryland Film Festival opens Thursday night. The MFF continues its commitment to supporting short films with an excellent lineup of animated shorts. This year’s slate runs 79 minutes and will be shown at the Charles Theater on May 8 at 11:30 AM and May 9 at 10:00 PM.

"Animated American" - James Baker, USA, 15 minutes
"The Cave: An adaptation of Plato's Allegory in Clay" - Michael Ramsey, USA, 4 minutes
"Dandelion Will Make You Wise" - Jack Ofield, USA, 5 minutes
"Forestry" – Woodpecker, Japan, 4 minutes
"Fruitless Efforts - Fruit of the Womb" - Andrew Chesworth and Aaron Quist, USA, 5 minutes
"Horn Dog" – Bill Plympton, USA, 6 minutes
"I Am So Proud Of You" – Don Hertzfeldt, USA, 22 minutes
"Mexican Standoff" – Bill Plympton, USA, 4 minutes
"The Realm of Possibility" - Gerald Guthrie, USA, 7 minutes
"Santa: The Fascist Years" – Bill Plympton, USA, 3.5 minutes
"The View from Cleopatra's Knee" - Jack Ofield, USA, 4 minutes

Of the 11 shorts selected for the festival, there are several highlights. Here are my picks:

Former Disney animators James Baker (Mulan, Tarzan) and Joe Haidar (Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast) collaborated to create "Animated American", a mixed live-action/animated tale of a traditionally animated rabbit put out of work by digital animation and a studio executive

"The Cave: An adaptation of Plato’s Allegory in Clay", is a gorgeous, candle lit, stop motion film depicting the “Allegory of the Cave” commentary from Plato’s Republic using John Grigsby’s clay sculptures.

One of three films in the MFF lineup from Bill Plympton, "Horn Dog" is the fourth installation in his guard dog series, and as one would expect, it comes with a healthy dose of dark and twisted raunch.

"I Am So Proud Of You", from one of my favorite animators, Don Hertzfeldt, is the second part of his award winning short "Everything Will Be OK". All of the animators featured in this year’s festival are dedicated artists who are intimately involved with their craft, but Hertzfeldt is a true auteur whose stick figure characters are a reminder of the heart and artistry that can be achieved with pencil, paper and an appreciation for the basic tools and methods of the animator.

For more info:, (410) 752-8083

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