With all the hoopla surrounding CMJ and Fashion Week, it felt like this year’s resfest got lost in the shuffle. This was the traveling festival’s ninth year of celebrating the cool and innovative talents in advertising, music video, design and technology. There were a lot promising events and screenings and I attended three. The first program was called Triple Threat and featured short films, music videos and other works from Jonnie Ross, Nagi Noda and Francois Vogel.
American Jonnie Ross does a lot of high-tech effects with lo-res formats — some of his stuff looks like it was shot camcorders from 1985 — which makes what you’re watching all the more impressive somehow. For examples of this, check out his funny and clever short "Internal Conflict," (pictured left) and the music video for Blood of Abraham’s "Dangerous Diseases."
From Japan (though she spent much of her youth in the US), Nagi Noda‘s work is very cute yet sometimes disturbing… like David Cronenberg directing a Hello Kitty movie. Of the shorts they showed, the best was the very sweet "Small Love Stories," and "Mariko Takahashi’s FITNESS VIDEO for being appraised as an ‘EX-FAT GIRL‘" (pictured right) which is an aerobics video with poodles. It’s floated around the internet, you may have seen it.
Last was Francois Vogel, the director responsible for those amazing HP Digital’s "You" campaign that use The Kinks’ "Picture Book" and the Cure’s "Pictures of You." (In fact, that’s Vogel himself putting the white picture frames around his neck.) I was looking forward to his section, as I hoped he was going to be the next Michel Gondry. Alas, no. He seems to be stuck on this one idea — the cutout technique he’d later perfect for the commercials — and the short films shown were just variations of the same idea. It’s a good idea, mind you, brilliant even, but he could become stuck like Chris Cunningham if he’s not careful.
of, Cunningham’s mildly funny, mildly disturbing short film, "Rubber
Johnny," was shown as part of the RES Shorts Three program. You can
watch it online here.
This is what Cunningham has been working on for two years? The effects,
if you think about what’s going on with the manipulation of body parts,
are astounding… but to what end? Somewhat better, scarier, though
equally pointless was British filmmaker Dominic Hailstone’s "The Eel", but it became much more impressive when I found out it was made for only £300.
Many of the shorts were dark — too dark for me — though "Keep
Right" by Tim Godsall (featuring Lance Henricksen and Ewan Bremner) was
a welcome dose of humor.
I also liked "Little Pony" by Stylewar (they did the video for Franz Ferdinand’s "This Fire" among other things, check out their Snickers commercial too). What is it with these Scandinavian filmmaking collectives? Between them and Traktor, I’m not sure anyone else really needs to make commercials.