Friday, April 04, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Yellow Sticky Notes: Canadian Anijam (2013) ***½

NR, 8 min.
Directors: Marv Newland, Alison Snowden, David Fine, Cordell Barker, Janet Perlman, Chris Hinton, Paul Driessen, Jeff Chiba Stearns, Jonathan Ng, Malcolm Sutherland, and others

“Yellow Sticky Notes” brings together 15 of Canada’s finest animators, including several Academy Award Winners and Nominees, in a neat little animation challenge. The animators were invited to “self reflect on one day of their lives using only a ‘to do’ list and animated meditation.” The shorts films are presented as if doodled on… what else? yellow sticky notes.

The collection of films is a true testament to the final point in the challenge, “animated meditation”. One of the shorts actually depicts a form of transcendental meditation allowing us to witness a character in a classic yoga stance as his body morphs into numerous substances and states. Other takes also go the literal route with Jonathan Ng depicting an appointment that leaves him feeling broke.

What really surprised me, however, was how few of the films took any sort of literal line to the day in their life notion. Jeff Chiba Stearns, responsible for heralding this particular challenge, seems to have been inspired by songs like “Puff the Magic Dragon” and finds a world of magical and cute creatures. Cordell Barker’s is perhaps the briefest installment with a ‘to do’ list that ends with going out drinking with his pals and depicts baby’s birth right in the middle of his list. Although, maybe this one is more literal than it might at first appear. Did Barker become a father recently?

Frankly, I couldn’t really tell you the meaning behind any of these films—except maybe Ng’s, which mostly makes sense—but they are delightful to witness. This is the type of project that will inspire me to seek out some of the more substantial work by these particular artists. Their compositions are fun and good spirited, and make me think that animation may not be entering the period of mediocrity I fear the major Hollywood feature sequel machine seems determined to drive it toward. 

Watch the short below.

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