Events

SXSW 2013 Spotlight: Animated Shorts

Dorothy Burk Vasquez
Cicada Princess

The animated short is the perfect vehicle for filmmakers who want to reach audiences in a fascinating, often whimsical way while making substantial technical and artistic advancements. This year's SXSW animated shorts selections don't disappoint on either counts.

SXSW Shorts Program: Animated Shorts

City: Austin, TX
Venue: Rollins Theater at The Long Center
Date: 2013-03-09

Animated Shorts, Often Underrated, Are a Highlight of This Year's SXSW Film

The animated short provides rich opportunities for filmmakers who want to tell short-form stories that can be just as philosophical as they are whimsical. This year's SXSW animated shorts selection is proof of just how diverse this form of storytelling can be. The animated shorts program premiered on 3/9 and will run again on Tues. 3/12 at 4:15 PM at the Stateside Theatre and Weds. 3/13 at 9:30 PM at the Vimeo Theater.

The 10 shorts featured in this year's program run the gamut from fun to heart-breaking to mind-bending. My personal favorite was The Event, which combines visual and sonic poetry into a story about a severed foot at the end of the world. And that's not the only short to rave about. Sci-Fly is a visual trip that uses setting-as-story while The Places Where We Lived tells us a story about many settings.

Several of the shorts get heavy, in particular Kishi Bashi, 'I Am the Antichrist to You, a sonically gorgeous study in loss and grief and The Gold Sparrow, a sweeping portrait of the colors of creative lives. Perhaps the most intriguing of all is the very short Old Man, which uses recorded phone calls between Charles Manson and author Marlin Marynick to reveal the deep paranoia of one of America's most infamous serial killers.

Of course, the shorts program also offered plenty of levity. The Blue Umbrella is a new Pixar short with a predictable-but-cute storyline. Marcel, King of Tervuren (Greek tragedy enacted by roosters) and Shelved (robots being phased out by humans at work) both deal in timeless themes in new, amusing ways. Oh Willy… comes complete with stop-motion nudists in a funny and surprisingly warm short about finding one's place in the world. Perhaps the strongest of the whimsical shorts is Cicada Princess, a clever take on how those melodious bugs spend their short lives.

If you're at SXSW Film, take the time to check out these shorts. If you're not in Austin, look for them online and at festivals throughout this year. I'm even giving Cicada Princess and Shelved a good chance at taking home an Academy Award next year.

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less
3

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
5
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image