Computer Animation Festival Volume 1 (1996)

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The U.S.A., Canada, England, France, and Japan are represented on this compilation of computer-animated short films. Computer Animation Festival spends less time trying to impress you with the novelty of computer animation and more trying to make you laugh. "Sleepy Guy," "Fluffy," "Moaï's Dream," "Card Trick," "Voyager," "Arnie & Birnie," "The First Political Speech," "Rolling Stone," "Nightwalk," "Still Life," "How to Make a Decision," "Word Play," and "The End" all try to tickle your funny bone, in styles ranging from Looney Tune-inspired slapstick to dialogue-driven gags. That's not to say there are no attempts at spectacle. 601FX's trippy "Liberation" and "Let There Be Light" music videos for the Pet Shop Boys and Mike Oldfield use compositing, computer-coloring, and animated particles to create sprawling fantasies of light and color, among some of the most impressive that year. The "Mercury" spot for BMW and Yoichiro Kawaguchi's "Gigalopolis" are bright, metallic, and organic. Saved for last, Chris Landreth's appropriately titled "The End" has it all: impressive visuals and then-cutting edge human animation wrapped in a script that dryly mocks pretentious cyber-academic-art babble.