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Ottawa Competition 1 - Keeping It Real

Every year I think Chris Robinson can't take it any higher. But every year he ramps it up a notch. This guy is the master of the post-modern introduction. You had to be there to feel the bizarre energy, to share in the intense, quizzical, weird couple of moments. Then we were back to reality.

By Sharon Katz.

Every year I think Chris Robinson can't take it any higher. But every year he ramps it up a notch.

This guy is the master of the post-modern introduction.

You had to be there to feel the bizarre energy, to share in the intense, quizzical, weird couple of moments.

Then we were back to reality.

An hour and a half of animation... From where I was sitting, these were the highlights.

H5's Logorama.

I'd heard a lot about Logorama but hadn't caught it yet. So here it was on the big screen. Mix fast and furious with a zillion real logos which in and of itself is shocking because we are so trained to freak out about copyright. Bake at high temperature.

Prayers For Peace followed. This is a beautiful, moving film by Dustin Grella about his memory of his brother who was killed in the current military conflict in Iraq. The visual style is rich and painterly. The pace is smooth and even - slow enough to let us enter the story with all our senses, fast enough to keep us absorbed. The sound track fills out the visuals without breaking from them - the track sits just slightly back of the visuals until Grella switches on the actual last recording his brother made while in Iraq. Steering very wide of sentimentality, this is an honest and heartfelt film.

Dustin Grella's Prayers for Peace.

Steven Woloshen's film Playtime was packed with energy. Full of light and line, colour and wow! what music... Steve delivers a classic Woloshen film.

Something Left, Something Taken by Ru Kawahata and Max Porter is charming. Ten minutes is a long time for a short, but these two filmmakers keep us absorbed. The festival reader lists a slew of production techniques - it's  a mixed bag of almost all of them - but that's not a problem and I never found myself wondering about continuity. Everyone who sees the film will bring something to it, and take something away.

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 www.sharonkatz.net and reach her by email at katz@sharonkatz.net.

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