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Competition 5 - When Abstract Meets Reality We Call It Experimental

Whatever you call it, abstract/experimental ruled the day in Competition 5. Here are some highlights.

By Sharon Katz.

Whatever you call it, abstract/experimental ruled the day in Competition 5.  Here are some highlights.

Abstract Cut-Outs, a collaborative effort by 52 high school animation students from the CSSSA Animation Department, was a very nice surprise. It's a symphony of cut paper, patterns, paint, pieces and bits, rich texture, etc. set to a great beat.

From Sweden we had Tord och Tord by Niki Lindroth von Bahr. Rich with metaphor, this film's central characters - a rabbit and a wolf - are well designed and believable stand-ins for everyman. While the motion of these stuffed animals was limited, the visuals perfectly suited the story - a complex and bittersweet tale of missed signals and confused messages. 

Abstract met reality most clearly in Sea Fever, an undergraduate animation by Tom Massey and Daisy Gibbs. The dramatic, painterly images were a perfect match for the elderly, gruff and confused voice-over struggling to recall a poem. Words, images fell into place then quickly disappeared under the next bewildered impression. 

From the NFB came La Formation des Nuages by Marie-Helene Turcotte. The film is hand drawn, for the most part black line on white background (and occasionally the reverse). Ghosts of lines and images appear on screen above the character and behind the image, similar to the vague ways in which we recall memory. These original and inventive visuals combine to tell the story of a young girl's developing sexuality. 

Uri and Michal Kranot partially obscure live action video footage with marks and slashes of paint in White Tape. The synopsis describes the real world origins of the video footage, but this film is more intriguing visually than as a bearer of political messages.

The synopsis for The Smaller Room reads: "In a room there is a box. In the box there is a forest. In the forest there is a lost child. Living beings … appear and vanish…" Cristobal Leon and Nina Wehrie animate figurative characters and objects created from paper in a convincing and moving way. 

Sorry Film Not Ready by Janet Perlman.

Sorry Film Not Ready by Janet Perlman is built from a melange of animated media including animated objects, cut-outs, puppets and 2D computer imagery. A humorous and playful film, it doesn't set out to deliver deep dark secrets or messages loaded with meaning. Half completed figures display Janet's original and intriguing use of invisible animation. Terrific unfinished soundtrack by Judith Gruber-Stitzer.

Sharon Katz is a visual artist working in still and animated imagery. Her award winning animations screen at art and film festivals around the world, and her drawings and paintings are held in art collections in Canada and abroad. You can visit her website at and reach her by email at