Animation Now 2009

Director: Various
Year: 2008
Running time: 80 mins
R16 violence, sexual references, offensive language
It has been an astonishingly rich year for animated film. We received more than 2,300 entries for this programme and seldom has it been more difficult to confine it to within the 90-minute limit we set ourselves. We have long-anticipated new releases from several of our favourite masters of the form, such as Georges Schwizgebel and the Academy Award-winning creator of Ryan, Chris Landreth. Hand-crafted work vies with CGI on this year's programme. Sumptuous Russian animation competes for your attention with an absolutely world class digital New Zealand work that we are certain will go far. — MT

Blu/Italy 2008/7 mins/paint direct to street surfaces
A larger-than-life graffiti mural springs to life, rapidly consuming every paintable surface in its path.

The Brothers McLeod/UK 2008/4 mins/2D hand drawn
A fascinating multi-frame layout accommodates classic cartoon strip styling.

Take It Easy
No corras tanto, César Díaz Meléndez/Spain 2008/5 mins/sand animation
A thoroughly entertaining compendium of images crafted from coloured sands.

Rabbit Punch
Kristian Andrews/UK 2008/5 mins/ink on paper
A disturbing story about two young boys with too much time on their hands.

Ryu Kato/Japan 2007/3 mins/pen and pencil on paper
A chain of dizzying images lavishly illustrates a day in an imaginary town as seen through the wide eyes of a boy who steps into it.

The Employment
El empleo, Santiago ‘Bou' Grasso/Argentina 2008/6 mins/2D hand drawn
Where would you fit into this world in which the role of every household item and every piece of urban machinery is dutifully performed by a human?

E. Kajdan, N. Maurice, J. Lasbleiz, R. Devouassoud/France 2008/5 mins/3D computer animation
A digitised dystopia is re-formed from the shards of a rapidly shattering city taken over by wild animals.

The Black Dog's Progress
Stephen Irwin/UK 2008/3 mins/hand-drawn flipbooks, stopmotion
The unwanted Black Dog patrols a confounding neighbourhood depicted as a seething mass of flickering, rough-hewn images.

Toy Angel
Zalina Bideeva/Russia 2008/15 mins/paint on glass, hand-drawn
A visually stunning, quintessentially Russian-style animation tracing the path a small wax angel carves into the troubled soul of a small boy.

Georges Schwizgebel/Switzerland 2008/5 mins/paint on board
A master of gloriously hand-painted, perception-bending visual acrobatics, Schwizgebel swoops and soars through the fleeting fragments of everyday journeys.

James Cunningham/New Zealand 2009/11 mins/computer animation
A superbly depicted battlefield dilemma. In the horrors of the trenches, two
New Zealand soldiers take responsibility for the smallest of lives.

The Spine
Chris Landreth/Canada 2009/11 mins/computer animation
The latest film from the Academy Award-winning maker of Ryan. The brittle, complex collection of personalities within a counselling group critique the lopsided loads of gifts and sacrifices shared by an unusual couple.