Thanks to all involved for making our Design Week short film program a memorable and raving success. Such an undertaking was the combined effort of quite a few people, so let the shout outs begin!
First and foremost, thanks to my fellow “curators” in bringing the program together. Zak Margolis and Rose Bond sent over PNCA’s best, and Meredith James, Stephen Lee, and Linda Di Trapani did the same on behalf of their department at PSU. Sophya Vidal and Jamal Qutub dug deep into the archives and pulled the best from years of their Homebrew and AEPDX events, respectively.
Tim Williams at Oregon Film helped link us to a couple of key pieces we otherwise wouldn’t have turned up. I’d also like to recognize Melony Beaird at OMSI for her efforts organizing the films (and wrangling the sold out crowd!) and for being a sounding board for every element of the show, as we hijacked a “Reel Science” night for the cause.
On that note, I said it during the show and I’ll say it again – OMSI is such a staunch supporter of Portland animation, and I want to recognize the venue’s role in these events. That screen! With a sold out crowd, it can’t be beat, and reminds us how powerful a story shared at that scale can be. In the days where so much content is absorbed on phones or tablet screens, nights like these have an increased potentcy. I shared a story about how an eye opening animation event at OMSI in 2006 – a similar shorts program + screening of LAIKA’s Moongirl – during my first visit to Portland showed me what the animation community here was made of, and highlighted some of the independent work going on within the city that might otherwise go unsung. I hope that when we look back, this night of shorts holds a place as a landmark event.
I’d like to thank all of the filmmakers for coming out and supporting their films, and each other. At one point, a show of hands revealed about half of the audience were animators or involved in animation. It was great to see a wide spectrum of work, from studio efforts like Armor del Amor from HouseSpecial, and the gorgeous Two Balloons, to completely solo efforts that really offered a look into the auteur’s soul.
Zak Margolis put it so eloquently when he introduced A Rat’s Life, and spoke about it being a personal achievement where the intersection of technology and accessibility have resulted in a time where a single artist/animator can achieve their short film vision as never before possible. The technical hurdles and other excuses are melting away and no longer a limiting factor. A Rat’s Life stands as a sketch and snapshot of Zak’s mental state and artistic skills as he made that film.
Across all of the films screened, the other common denominator was Portland. Rose Bond spoke about the effect that Portland has on the students that walk through her door, and how it shapes the stories they tell. I think that applies universally to all of us at all levels, where there’s some sort of wave physics at play here; we all (subconsciously) push each other to create at such a high level. These forces + the filmmaking support available here merges together in an additive way.
Lastly (but not leastly), a big thanks to YOU for spending your night with us and enduring a long program of shorts, in the name of animation! I will definitely work to keep future programs down to a more digestible max of 1.5-2 hours or less, and I think doing it up big this year clears the backlog and paves the way for a tighter lineup going forward. On that note – what more can I say but “keep it up, Portland!” We hope to wind it up again and make the Portland Animated Shorts (!) Showcase a yearly event. Hit me up if you have something to show, as next year starts now. Until then!