I got to play with Coraline! I also got Bill Plympton's autograph and quick sketch of a dog. I am so glad I happened to find out about the animation festival. We'd been meaning to go see something at the Hollywood Theater and I just happened to see this on their calendar a few weeks ago. We bought the 2-day passes, which were cheap at only $20 in advance. Laika, the Portland-based studio that worked on Coraline, gave a presentation the first night that ended in a crowd of us on stage patiently waiting for our turn to look at the puppets, some of the replacement faces, and an armature. I think the number of puppets used in the film was 29, but the studio used rapid prototyping to generate tens of thousands of replacement faces, switched out for each frame of animation.
We got to see almost 60 animated shorts. The selection was incredibly diverse, global, and interesting. There weren't any among the selections that I disliked, but I had some favorites. Of course I loved this one about a woman looking for her lost cat, Pushkin. We've been saying the name since we saw it, and I realized that I already called Lucy "puss-kin" from time to time. Now I'm thinking that's going to be an even more common nickname for her:
Another favorite was Bottle by Kirsten Lepore, a stop-motion animation on a beach. It's also a love story. Impressive, cute, pretty, and clever:
A few other favorites included the Academy Award winning short, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. It's available for download from itunes for $1.99. It's set in New Orleans, with Oz-like references to Hurricane Katrina. The very first film, The Maker, impressed me, and the dark but very pretty Birdboy was another favorite. And that's just my short list of favorites. I'm already looking forward to next year!