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Sundance Gets Animated

Several animated films will be part of Sundance 2006.

Canadian production company Global Mechanic has two of its directors films screening at the prestigious event.

Global Mechanic founder and creative director Bruce Alcocks film, AT THE QUINTE HOTEL, will compete in the Short Film category. A riff on one of Al Purdys best-known poems, the film is a mixed-media tale of a poet waxing on about beer and flowers in a small-town basement tavern. The film has competed at many festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, The Hamptons Film Festival, Cork Film Festival and the Ottawa International Animation Festival (where it won best Canadian animated short). This is Alcocks second time at Sundance. For more info, go to

Global Mechanic director Dan Sousas film, FABLE, has also been selected to compete in the Short Film category as well. A cyclical fairy tale about a man and a woman who are destined to be apart forever, the short was produced using a combination of Flash, After Effects and hand-drawn art. FABLE has screened at the Anima Mundi Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Ottawa International Animation Festival and the Castelli Animati International Film Festival. For more info, go to

THE WRAITH OF COBBLE HILL, an animated coming-of-age fable set on the streets of Brooklyn, will world premiere at Sundance. Crafted over the course of six years by writer/director Adam Parrish King, the stop-motion film was originally conceived as a student film at USC. King designed and hand-crafted every character and set piece in the film from clay from the original comic books, liquor bottles and branded TV dinners that line the store shelves to the threadbare furniture of the characters' crumbling apartments. The short features original music from composer Steven Gutheinz.

WRAITH tells the story of Felix, a disaffected teenager whose deadbeat mom leaves him to fend for himself. To satisfy his basic needs, Felix pilfers candy bars and TV dinners from the corner deli, all under the seemingly unsuspecting noses of Mr. H, the kindly store owner, and his dog, Mitzie. Then, planning his holiday departure, Mr. H asks Felix to watch over the store and care for Mitzie. When Felix accepts, he faces a choice reciprocate the benevolence Mr. H has always shown him, or perpetuate the cycle of neglect he's been handed down as a family legacy.

In addition, the animated film, FUMI AND THE BAD LUCK FOOT one of the six domestic animated films selected for Sundance, was produced at San Jose State during the summer of 2005 in 55 days. David Chai, who is also a SJSU graduate, is the San Jose State Universitys animation instructor and the director of this film.

The students used Adobe software, which they received when they were selected as finalists for the 2005 Adobe Design Achievement Awards for their film NEIGHBORHOOD ROOTS. Additional licenses were provided by Frank Gladstone, a judge in the competition, who generously donated the software he received for his participation in the ADAA. Other corporate support came from DreamWorks, Electronic Arts, The Disney Foundation and Hewlett Packard.

Sundance Film Festival will also feature the world premiere of WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY, a film based on bestselling Israeli author Etgar Kerets KNELLERS HAPPY CAMPERS. The live-action film will be released as a graphic novel under the title, PIZZERIA KAMIKAZE. Illustrated by Asaf Hanuka, the comic will be on shelves February 2006 from Alternative Comics.

WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY, directed by Goran Dukic, is about a man who, after having committed suicide, finds himself in a strange afterlife way station filled with fellow suicides. Starring Patrick Fugit (WHITE OLEANDER, ALMOST FAMOUS), Shannon Sossamon (KISS KISS BANG BANG, THE RULES OF ATTRACTION), Shea Whigham (LORDS OF DOGSTOWN, ALL THE REAL GIRLS), Tom Waits (COFFEE AND CIGARETTES, SHORT CUTS) and John Hawkes (ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW, IDENTITY).

The 2006 Sundance Film Festival takes place January 19-29, 2006, in Park City, Utah. The competition categories provide audiences with a first look at compelling new dramatic and documentary films from emerging independent filmmakers. As the premier showcase for the best new work of American independent and international filmmakers, the Sundance Film Festival screens films that embody creative risk-taking, diversity, and aesthetic innovation.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
Creator of Rick's Flicks Picks