Eric Warner Staff Writer
On Nov. 7, 2018, Eastern Connecticut State University’s department of Art & Art History hosted the 19th Annual Animation Show of Shows in the Student Center Theatre. The Animation Show of Shows is a traveling selection of the year’s best animated short films, some of which are student made. The tradition began back in 1998 when Acme Filmworks founder, Ron Diamond, sought to bring the best animated shorts of the year from film festivals around the world to industry professionals who otherwise would have not seen these stupendous films. Over the last 19 years, the animated short films featured in the show have had screenings at major animation studios such as DreamWorks, Disney, and Pixar. In addition, 38 of the films have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations, with eleven winning Oscars in total.
The 19th showing presents 16 animated shorts displaying compelling ideas about humanity, our place in society, and how we fit in to represent our state of modernity and global interconnectivity. Perhaps no other short conveyed these ideas better than Niki Lindroth von Bahr’s Annecy Grand Prix-winning “The Burden,” a stop-motion animated film about depressed employees of various soul-crushing jobs, such as telemarketers and janitors, who deal with anxiety and the notion of existentialism through musical dances. “The Burden” is a truly interesting film providing much thought for our own introspective natures.
Kobe Bryant, of the NBA Los Angeles Lakers, created an autobiographical animated film “Dear Basketball” that was shown in the presentation as well, to tear jerking acclaim. Directed by the great Glen Keane, a former Disney animator, “Dear Basketball” also won Best Animated Short Film at the 90th Academy Awards in 2018. Another amazing film to make note of is “Gokurosama,” a series of comical mayhem based on a daughter trying to find a chiropractor for her grandmother in a mall. This is probably the funniest short in the whole presentation and is certainly a treat to behold!
From the horrors of “Hangman” to the childhood gleefulness of “Next Door,” the Animation Show of Shows has truly conveyed the immense thought-provoking nature of films and storytelling. Moreover, these achievements in creation have shown the incredible feats that animation and, in turn, imagination can perform. Eastern has yet again hosted another beautiful event and hopefully the university will continue showing students these examples of greatness.
To learn more about the other thirteen films shown at the 19th annual Animation Show of Shows as well as the previous shows and the upcoming 20th annual Animation Show of Shows, you can check out their website and support the rising artists if tomorrow.