Two Transcendental Animations

Preview a standout from the NW Animation Festival, plus a Portland-made masterpiece to see next week.

This BAFTA-winning, thought-provoking short is a flagship of the 2013 NW Animation Festival's great curation.

This BAFTA-winning, thought-provoking short is a flagship for the 2013 NW Animation Festival’s 300-some amazing picks.

Aha! An insect…
is a metaphor for a man,
who is a microcosm of the universe,
which metes out measures of time that can only be perceived subjectively,
depending upon the current length of one’s life and the richness of one’s memory!
Oh, the enlightenment! Oh, the bright white clarity!

What am I raving about, you ask? I’ve just had my mind blown by a nine-minute animated short from the Northwest Animation Festival‘s preview reel.

The greatness of Michael Please’s “The Eagleman Stag” is hardly breaking news; it won a 2011 BAFTA Award–but the fact that I hadn’t seen it, and the odds that you haven’t,  prove that world-class animation often slips under the radar. That’s why the Northwest Animation Festival compresses 300-some titles into a three-day fest: so that you and I don’t blink and miss some the finest films that human hands can make. Til then, here’s “The Eagleman Stag”, a preview of the weekend’s wonderment:

Love it? Hate it? What are your favorite touches? To me, it expresses stunning profundity in a few minutes, and depicts amazing vibrancy despite the all-white. Flashes of imagery tap straight into the mainframe of the mind, flooding the viewer with the character’s whole catalogue of formative life experiences and emotions in a matter of seconds.

Should you wander out of the Hollywood Theatre this Sunday night eager for another eye-full of animated magic, just wait: On the 24th, Billygoat—-a two-man band who animate, compose and score their own stop-mo films from their St Johns home–will present a film screening synced with a live music performance at Mississippi Studios in support of dynamic local jazz act The Blue Cranes’ album release. Nick Wooley and David Klein (aka Klein & Woolley) photograph their friends “acting” frame by frame, then print and install the 2-D images one at a time into dynamic handcrafted 3-D landscapes. Since their 2009 move from LA to Portland, Klein & Woolley have methodically transformed a bevvy of local bohemian friends into gods, goddesses, gnomes and sprites, romping in an ever-expanding fantasy tableau. The films are worth viewing for their artistry alone, but they double as a bizarro yearbook for the legendary if short-lived music venue The Woods, where Woolley bartended. Klein & Woolley showcased their talents at TedXConcordiaU just over a year ago, but their films could still bear broader discovery. Full disclosure: I volunteer-assisted Billygoat on the film “Sophia”, but my high opinion of their work predated my participation. Check out an excerpt and judge for yourself:

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