First, a little side note. There are two animated shorts that I will use to see what people are really like.

The first is readily available on YouTube. Here Comes... Dr. Tran!. It's a brilliant, no where near safe for work, little animated bit of awesome. But it isn't exactly for the weak of mind. While the rest of Breehn Burns' work is equally great, this one is a good start (despite being his third major work).

The second isn't as available. Don Hertzfeldt's Rejected. Now, yes, you can find it on YouTube pretty easily, but they aren't approved copies. Don says it best in his FAQ, which I'll quote below:

{{3. I've seen bootleg copies of these films all over the internet. Why aren't they here? Am I not click hard enough?

All the videos you've found on YouTube were uploaded by fans and third parties. That's important to remember as these are often re-edited, retitled, and extremely poor quality. You're likely not seeing them in their original form. As Don often says, he shoots on film for a reason and prefers people to discover his work as nature intended, in a proper theater, TV, or on a well-made DVD: "there are many ways to see movies these days. unfortunately they're not all good ideas. there is not a single film student anywhere in the world right now dreaming of making her first movie and premiering it on a cell phone. if you've only seen a movie on the internet or on a strange miniature device, in many ways you haven't really seen it yet. you're missing so much. youtube is great for home videos of your cat falling off the roof but it is not really the proper setting for "cinema." watching a compressed video in a miniature window while checking your mailbox and visiting three other websites at work sort of downgrades it into a novelty. movies are meant to be seen in the dark, hopefully with an audience, and with your undivided attention. that last one is non-negotiable. of course we understand the demand for seeing the films online, and we're not interested in harassing fans... i just people they understand that what they're downloading is often the equivalent of drinking a glass of nice wine after it's been filtered through a weird sewer. it's not really the same wine after that."

Please always remember to share responsibly: upload in as high quality as possible, provide a link to us, and never bootleg a brand new release or we'll invade your home with copyright stormtroopers and beat the living hell out of you.

It's our responsibility to provide an alternative, and our ongoing DVD series of Don's work serves to get his stuff out there looking and sounding as good as possible outside of a movie theater, with every special feature we could possibly cram in. Being 100% independent, these DVDs are also the primary funding for all of Don's next projects: each movie literally pays for the next one.}}

So, all that said, if one of y'all are friends and local, come on over, we can watch Rejected (as well as his other stuff. Otherwise, either watch one of the bootlegs, hit Scarecrow Video, or just buy the DVD sight unseen.

Now, all that said. When I went looking at Don Hertzfeldt's site to see what was going on with his current trilogy of films, I saw that, in his spare time, he decided to create a new short called Wisdom Teeth. And lo and behold, it was playing at SIFF this year. Perfect! So, off we, or I at least, must go...

Thirteen films in the Animation for Adults showcase. Some good, some ... not so good. Over all, I think I gave a single 2, a couple 3s, but the rest were 4s and 5s. If you're not familiar with SIFF voting, you rate movies on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 sucks, 5 rocks. No half scores.

So, there you go.

Let's look at what's in the festival.

0 (Zero) (SIFF,Creator's Blog with Full Video of 0|]) A martial arts flick pretty standard in structure, but what shined with this was the artwork. Fully animated in Sumi-E ink style. It looked fantastic, and I was blown away by it.

The Astronomer's Sun (SIFF, Official Site, Production Blog) Not a bad short, but not exactly the best short in the bunch. Slightly steampunky, slightly futuristic. The ending was sweet, but, at the same time, felt a little... too much.

The Bellows March (SIFF, Official Site with Video) An experimental film that, admittedly, was incredibly beautiful. On the wide screen, I was extremely mesmerized by the motions. Looking back, I'm thinking I should have rated it higher.

Dried Up (SIFF, Official Site with Video) A stop-action piece based in some land where a drought has ravaged the land, focusing on one man who scavenges piles of discarded goods for.. well... no one knows (ok, no one knows until the end, where it all comes together.

Free (SIFF) Free is a spoken word poetry piece, where the words are transferred into animated images on the screen. Nothing to give away here, it is what it is.

Kings (SIFF) UW produced featurette that takes the card game of War as a allegory to War itself, and I'm not talking about the kick ass band.

The Little Dragon (SIFF,Trailer) The spirit of an ancient Japanese Dragon is reincarnated as a collectible Bruce Lee figure who proceeds to kung fu his way around his owners room. Definitely one of my favorites of this group. Had a great sense of humor.

Man and Cat (SIFF) I'm a cat guy now (still a dog guy too), and I completely got this film, but, still wasn't my favorite. Basically, a man exchanges places with his cat for a day. 'nuff said.

Nanu (SIFF) Two animals fight over a meal. Pretty, but it didn't quite grab me quite as well as it could have. It really felt like a scene from Ice Age. Which isn't a bad thing per se. But just not... yeah.

Santa, the Fascist Years (SIFF,Official Site) Bill Plympton, creator of such pieces as Horn Dog, Guide Dog, Hair High, has a new piece talking about the little known secret of Santa during the World War II years.

Wings and Oars (SIFF,Official Site) I could quote the description of the movie from the SIFF page, but, well... I didn't much care for it and lets leave it at that.

Wisdom Teeth (SIFF) 'I just got my wisdom teeth out' 'Awesome, can I pull out one of the stitches?'

So begins a descent into madness that really defies description. No, not true. It doesn't defy description. It defies polite description.

The Wonder Hospital (SIFF,Official Site) Wisdom Teeth defies polite description. Wonder Hospital was a surreal trip. Beautifully fun, creating more questions in my head than an episode of Lost... The universe surrounding that hospital, around that entire film... I just want to explore it.

Now, all that said... even though this is just 74 minutes worth of video, the entire time is made worth it by The Wonder Hospital, Wisdom Teeth, Santa the Fascist Years, The Little Dragon and 0. Hell, that's 5 gold stars out of 13 tries.

Why you should go see it... Really, just for Wisdom Teeth. Second short shown, but stay for The Little Dragon, the last one shown.

You'll laugh. A lot. And you'll probably be bored now and then too.

When can you go see it... Neptune Theatre June 6, 2010 9:30 PM

The first show was sold out, so, if you want to go... get your tickets soon.