A Short(s) Thank You


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The sold out crowd filtering in ahead of the show
Andy Cunial with the photobomb while waiting in the long line

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.

Zak Margolis and Rose Bond

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.

Jotham Porzio

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.

Two Balloons puppets

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.

Two Balloons Presentation

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!

Portland Animated Shorts! Showcase April 10 @ OMSI


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Coming soon to an Empirical Theater near you… it’s the Portland “Animated Shorts!” Showcase. By us, for us. In what we hope becomes a Design Week tradition, this meticulously curated program is so packed with local animation talent that I’m having a hard time holding back the comic book interjections. Justice is only served with a Whoosh… Pow… Surprise… BLAM!

Two Balloons (dir. Mark C. Smith – trailer) headlines this special night, screening in luscious 4k with 7.1 surround on the 40 ft Empirical screen. With presentation and Q&A to follow.

Also very excited about the Animate Everything/AEPDX Retrospective being collected by Jamal Qutub. A necessary reflection spanning 5 years of invitational animation collaboration from the best & brightest in the area.

And there is so, so much more. Straight from the artists and studios within our great city. Watch this space for the full run-of-show (below) as it develops, and get your tickets now, as this promises to sell out. Definitely the makings of a very special night of animation that you won’t want to miss.

The pertinent details:
Portland Animated Shorts! Showcase – PAS!S
Wednesday April 10, 6:30-9:30pm
The Emprical Theater at OMSI
Tickets $6. ($7 for non-members) Parking: Free
Buy tickets

All ages are admitted but please note that this is an adult/PG-13 show and not meant for young children; nudity, adult themes and light swearing.

A portion of the proceeds benefit the newly formed Portland SIGGRAPH chapter, harnessing our collective VFX, 3D, and Animation energy into events and community. More info coming soon! Sign up to the VFX/PDX newsletter for the latest updates.

Thanks to OMSI for support on several levels, and to Jamal Qutub, Sophya Vidal, Meredith James, Stephen Lee, Laura Di Trapani, Rose Bond and Zak Margolis for helping to assemble this grand cast. Don’t pass on PAS(!)S folks… it comes but once a year…


PROGRAM (Updated April 10)

Two Balloons (dir. Mark C. Smith) with presentation + Q&A following

A Rat’s Life (dir. Zak Margolis)

Armor Del Amor (dir. Kirk Kelley/HouseSpecial)

Raven & Crow (dir. Jotham Porzio)

Nowheres Wolf – teaser/preview (dir. Suzanne Moulton)

Tidal Wave (dir. Lee Hardcastle/Portugal, The Man) *music video
Featuring work from W+K / Joint Editorial

Animate Everything: An AEPDX Retrospective (curator: Jamal Qutub)
Featuring: Ben Luce, Emily Skaer, PMurphy, MacGregor Campbell, Cindy Sullivan, Jamal Qutub, Alex Miller, Brian Smith, Blain Klitzke, Carlos Enciso, Daniel Moreno, Meg Hunt, Devin Gustafson, Neil Hilken, Greg Browe, Jared Hundley, Deepsky, Kim Daley, Alex Bernard, Yahira Hernandez

The Homebrew (curator: Sophya Vidal)
Featuring: Joanna Priestley, Adam Taylor, Temris Ridge, Paul De Silva, Mike Smith, John Summerson, Andy Cunial, Julia Gross, Jill Mackesey, Emily Myers, Jin Pharn, Jason Ptaszek, Gary Hogue, Celeste Leipham, Temris Ridge, Ben Chapin, Ruby Lambie, Taylor Lane, Lee Alailima-Rose, Nick Berzl, Allyson Willsey, Danie Townsley, Sam Arneson, Madison Russell, Sophya Vidal, Alex Miller, KJ Murr, Nathan Younger, Neisje Morrell, Rob Bekuhrs, Kelly Jensvold, Josh Skull Dixon

PSU / Student Selections
Featuring: Elisa Hung, Bailey Collins, Elena Kim, Nick Boxwell, Lei Domingo, Asya Volk, Ashmon Jibben, and Michael Richardson.

PNCA / Student Selections
Featuring: Sarah Hickey, Ran Sheng

Training On Tap


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“…you dropped 150 grand on an education you coulda got for $1.50 in late charges at the public library.”

Some good news across the wire today as our own Multnomah County Public Library added Lynda.com to the list of resources we library card (or library cahd as my favorite line from Good Will Hunting put so eloquently) packing Portlanders can access for free.  This bold move puts a sizeable amount of VFX/CG/Design/Motion Graphics content at our fingertips.  Take advantage!  You, too, could become wicked smaht. Check it out here.

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