Experiments in Animation - Thur. Feb. 20 - 8PM

Oddball Films and curator Kat Shuchter present Experiments in Animation, a dazzling, psychedelic and innovative night of groundbreaking animation from around the world.  Not your average cartoon show, this varied program features direct animation, optical printing, pixilation, early computer graphics, and absurd and surreal cell animation from innovative masters like Norman McLaren, Jan Lenica, Vince Collins, John Whitney, John Hubley, Peter Foldes, Tex Avery and more. Shorts include Rhinoceros (1965), Jan Lenica's cut-out adaptation of Ionesco's absurdist masterpiece; 200 (1975) Vince Collins' psychedelic bicentennial celebration; Arabesque (1975) John Whitney's early computer-generated poem of mathematical artistry. Robert Swarthe's Oscar-nominated Kick Me (1975)- painted directly onto the film - cleverly takes its meta-post-modernism to new dimensions; Canadian animator Norman McLaren experimented with animation in as many ways as his brilliant mind could conceive of, including direct cinema as with his hand-painted marvel Fiddle-De-Dee (1947), and even animating actors in his grim pixilation parable Neighbors (1958).  The hypnotic Tanka (1976) utilizes optical printing to bring the intricate and ominous images of the Tibetan Book of the Dead to life.  Peter Foldes' Hunger (La Faim, 1973) another early computer animated masterpiece and metamorphic nightmare brings new meaning to eating the rich.  Bruno Bozzetto's brilliant Ego (1970) animates the surreal Freudian dreamworld of the average Joe, full of naked women and fascism.  Oscar winning animator Eliot Noyes Jr. experiments with animating sand in the dreamy Sandman (1970).  Tex Avery and Daffy Duck hit the editing deck and create an avant-garde collage film in Daffy Duck in Hollywood (1938).  John and Faith Hubley's Adventures of an * (1956) broke all the rules and gave way to a new, more abstract style in studio animation. Plus more animated surprises in store, you'll never think about cartoons the same way again! 

Date: Thursday, February 20th, 2014 at 8:00pm
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to RSVP@oddballfilm.com or (415) 558-8117


Rhinoceros (Color, 1965, Jan Lenica)
Filmmaker and multitalented artist Jan Lenica's checkered career has encompassed excursions into music, architecture, poster-making, costume design, children's book illustration, and all aspects of filmmaking. It is, however, for his animation that he is best known, particularly his collage and "cutout" films, which have their roots in the art of Max Ernst and John Heartfield. The films have influenced the work of Jan ┼ávankmajer and Terry GilliamIn this film, Polish master Lenica utilizes cutouts creating an animated adaptation of Eugene Ionesco’s brilliant play about the oppressive and manipulative power of conformity.

200 (Color, 1975, Vince Collins)
Vince Collin’s supremely psychedelic animated celebration of our nation’s bicentennial, sponsored by the United States Information Agency.  They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.  But then again, not as many LSD-inspired animators make it through the grant process.

Arabesque (Color, 1975, John Whitney)

Early abstract computer-generated film by pioneer John Whitney- shimmering lines and waves of oscillating color dance to the music of Eastern rhythms and evolve from randomness to patterns inspired by 8th century Persian designs. Inspired by his 1974 visit to the city of Isfahan in Iran, Whitney found a relation between the formal and visual tradition of Islamic art and architecture and his own computer graphic study. Whitney famously collaborated with Saul Bass on the title sequence to Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

Kick Me (Color, 1975, Robert Swarthe)
An Oscar-nominated meta-cinema gem gets a lot of mileage (or should we say footage?) out of a mysterious pair of animated legs, an adventure within the frames of celluloid and ultimately its deconstruction of the medium itself. Drawn directly on 35mm film, Kick Me is a stunning example of the “direct animation” technique popularized by Norman McLaren and Stan Brakhage.

Two By Norman McLaren!
Fiddle-de-dee (Color, 1947, Norman McLaren) 
A film fantasy of dancing music and dancing color set to "Listen to the Mocking Bird" played by an old-time fiddler. I this hypnotic animation, brilliant patterns ripple, flow, flicker and blend. Norman McLaren, painting on film, translates sound into sight.

Neighbors (Color, 1952, Norman McLaren)
Utilizing the new technique of animating live actors (fellow NFB animators Paul Ladouceur and Grant Munro), the Oscar-winning Neighbors is McLaren’s most famous and important film. A parable of aggression and war, two men sit peacefully in lawn chairs when a flower appears on the boundary of their properties. In the quarrel that ensues the flower is destroyed, and the men turn to demons, destroying everything, including themselves.

Tanka (Color, 1976, David LeBrun)
"An extraordinary film."-Melinda Wortz, Art News
Tanka means, literally, a thing rolled up. David Lebrun’s Tanka is brilliantly powered by the insight that Tibetan religious paintings are intended to be perceived not in repose, but in constant movement. The film, photographed from Tibetan scroll paintings of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, is a cyclical vision of ancient gods and demons, an animated journey through the image world of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Hunger (Color, 1973, Peter Foldes)
At an extremely rapid pace, images dissolve, move, morph and/or reappear into things or objects that become more and more exaggerated and absurd in this witty and disturbing cartoon by Hungarian director Peter Foldes. One of the first computer-generated films, this Jury Prize winner at the Cannes Film Festival and Academy Award Nominee is a satire focusing on the self-indulgence that plagues our ‘hungry’ world, and depicts a man as he continues to eat, and eat, and eat!

Ego (Color, 1970, Bruno Bozzetto)
Brilliant animation by Italy’s Bruno Bozzetto (of the cult favorite Mr. Rossi series)- starts with traditional comic-style animation until the factory-working family man goes to sleep and unleashes his subconscious thoughts sending him into a psychedelic battleground of chaos and erotic desire.  Utilizes a number of animation styles including optical printing and pop art imagery. Wild soundtrack by the ultra-lounge master Franco Godi!

Sandman (Color, 1970, Eliot Noyes Jr.)
A sand animation film. The sandman goes to bed and drifts off to dreamland. Feel the bear fingers playing in the sand in this film by Academy Award winner and Sesame Street animator Eliot Noyes.

Daffy Duck in Hollywood (Color, 1938, Tex Avery) 

Watch Daffy Duck wreak havoc on a movie set by cutting and splicing together various clips into finished product of a movie contains nothing but newsreel titles and clips surrealist style. An anarchistic and avant garde masterpiece!

Adventures of an * (Color, 1956, John and Faith Hubley) 
The first film John and Faith Hubley produced together commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum, with music by jazz great Benny Carter. “They violated all the rules”, remembered once animator William Littlejohn, “They threw dust on the cels, and they worked with grease so the paint would run. It came out beautifully: everybody was awestruck that such a thing would work”.
We decided to do a film with music and no dialogue and to deal with abstract characters. We wanted to get a graphic look that had never been seen before. So we played with the wax-resist technique: drawing with wax and splashing it with watercolor to produce a resisted texture. We ended up waxing all the drawings and spraying them and double-exposing them. We did the backgrounds the same way. It photographed with a very rich waxy texture, which was a fresh look” – John Hubley 

About Oddball Films
Oddball films is the film component of Oddball Film+Video, a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like The Summer of Love, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.
Our films are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.