Like the backwards dancing midgets on checkerboard tiles say: “Eeet ees happening a-ga-i-in.” Resfest is back in town, with another pixel-punching program of screen melt & cinematic surprise. Pick of the bunch may be the Shynola animation rarities, though Jonathan Glazer’s collection might be worth it for his surfing horses alone ( finding even a pic of it online might sell you ). Unsurprisingly, there’s a stack of the best music-videos around, a lot of short films, and an emphasis on tweaked digital design. The Australian shorts section is very strong, but from a diverse and stellar looking bunch – the mesmerising ‘We Have Decided Not To Die’ stands tall, just for it’s sheer ambition. Responsible for this is Daniel Askill of the Collider design & film group in Sydney. Speak, Daniel-son:
What surprised about overseas reaction to ‘We Have Decided Not To Die’ ?
After it moving quite slowly in Aus. the initial overseas reaction (particularly at Clemont Ferrand where it won it’s first major prize) was very exciting. I guess in particular the fact that people seemed to really understand and appreciate the project. After that first bit of recognition in France the film really just seemed to take on a life of it’s own and has since screened at countless festivals. It has been quite overwhelming. The guys at Res have been particularly supportive – our first screening with them in LA in particular was a real success and secured a lot of the relationships with the production companies I am now working with in Europe and the States.
Which element of the film was the biggest thorn to execute?
Sending your little brother through a 3 metre high sheet of sugar glass in his underpants after he has just recovered from a stroke is never going to be easy I guess, not to mention dropping your girlfriend on her back from suspension wires into a swimming pool for 2 days straight.
What film-tools ( both high and low budget ) excite you?
I can’t seem to let go of high frame rate slow motion (usually using photosonics cameras…I just finished work on an UNKLE video where we shot a huge fire ball at 1000 frames per second…it can be very beautiful)…but lately I seem to have been doing a lot with re-animated digital stills.. which is basically free as long as you have a digital camera…we just finished a mini epic for France TeIecom with the technique, I guess both of these are about seeing time in a way we can’t with our own eyes… but they are just techniques at the end of the day.
What do you think are some emerging ‘short film aesthetics’ best avoided?
Anything goes I guess. I would never try and dictate what someone else may or may not want to make. I think any approach/aesthetic etc is legitimate as long as there is an integrity in it.
What did you dislike about the Cremaster Cycle series?
Well maybe I’m the wrong person to ask because I really like it. Whether you like it or not, it is great that this kind of work is starting to make it’s way into the public consciousness.. it just really begins opening up the possibilities for what a film can be… and what the general public’s expectations of a filmed experience is.
As graphic design & film-making continue to merge, we should expect a more visually lateral cinema. Where is it?
Well it’s in the Cremaster Cycle, it’s in Res Fest, it’s in the movies of all the music vid directors who are making features now: Gondry, Jonze, Glazer…I mean it’s in the bloody Matrix, Moulin Rouge, the short films my little brother Lorin is making at COFA …to be honest it is everywhere at the moment and I think it still has a long way to go, I think it is just going to get stronger.
Try some Collider film clips on for size : www.collider.com.au
RESFEST 2004 dates: Dec 3-7 ACMI, Melb, Dec 9-12 ( Dendy Opera Quays & Syd Opera House )
Timetable Info & pix : www.acmi.net.au/resfest2004.jsp