PES Talks Fresh Guacamole
DS: Well, it’s an interesting area of discussion because it gets to the heart of what’s a good film. How subjective that determination is. Yet, whenever you have a competition, you have some type of judgment criteria. Why is one film picked to win an Oscar over any other film? What makes a film “good” enough to win the Grand Prix in Annecy?
PES: Well, you know, having been a judge in Annecy, I kind of understand a little bit of the mechanics and psychology of judging. What goes into those discussions and how three new people each year chosen at random end up making decisions together.
DS: I’ve been on juries as well. It’s an interesting dynamic.
PES: I judged the Platform Festival in 2007 and Annecy in 2010. I was happy with where our decisions netted out. But I feel there is a real impulse, when judges get into a room, to discard the kind of films that I make, which aren’t heavy, that clearly don’t have a meaning and characters that are going through bad things. But I don’t feel that somehow the psychology of judging films means you want something more than something that just feels entertaining.
DS: I agree. I would also contend that though your films may be short, they’re not simple. There are a lot of layers to your films and it’s obvious there’s a tremendous amount of thought that goes into your films. I don’t see any wasted motion or wasted ideas in your films either.
PES: Oh, thanks. That's a great compliment.
DS: You're welcome. I think that's why your films are compelling, whether they are fifteen seconds long or a minute long. I don’t ascribe to the fact that unless a film is made according to some arbitrary recipe that it can’t be considered a good film. There are certainly much longer films that take tremendous effort at all levels. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I enjoy them more than any other film.
PES: We haven’t verified this yet, but it [Fresh Guacamole] may be the shortest film ever nominated. You know, I couldn’t be happier or prouder of the nomination. It’s a great honor to be recognized by the mainstream of film acknowledgement. It’s not bad that they [the Academy] have embraced a film like this that doesn’t have a lot of the things that we’ve always joked about Oscar films always having to have.
Dan Sarto is editor-in-chief and publisher of Animation World Network.