Amongst many festival that Los Angeles hosts, RESFEST is probably one of the few that is not so much about the party, but the one that presentation of the actual technology and skill speaks. Every year, kicking off in San Francisco, digital film festival RESFEST greets the world with new language. Festival taps L.A.’s shoulder and whispers into the ear “..and you know what it’s all about, don’t you?” Directed by Jonathan Wells, this festival counted its 5th birthday this year.

RESFEST, where pioneers of the digital world show off their craftsmanship, has been gaining the popularity year by year. Many attendants are either film makers, animators, and/or graphic designers. After each showcase, most of the conversation includes names of the softwares like FLASH, MAYA , AFTER EFFECTS etc. Some came for inspiration, and some came to see what the utensils they’re learning can possibly do. By focusing on the film that are made digital in one way or another, its clarity in theme and especially with this year’s defined programming, RESFEST 2001 was indeed beautifully curated. Each year, RESFEST would not fail to come up with an eye-candy and surprise the audience in a new way. Much part of digital film making is yet left to discover. That makes the annual extravaganza a much anticipated one, show casing well selected fresh out-of-the-ovens.

Film length varies from 1 minute to 40 minutes. Reflecting the rising numbers of submissions, 5 themes divided the shorts program. #1: Altered States, #2: Human Nature, #3: High Risk, #4: By Design, and #5: Directors Club. The most popular program Cinema Electronica (music videos) returned with applaud and new entry “The State of The Art Film Titles: Openers 01” produced by DesignFilms ( provided the insight to the little-understood, under-appreciated field of film making; title design. Festival program explains that title designing “…has long been cherished by designers and film buffs for its ability to fuse graphic art, sound and music and motion.” RESFEST is definitely growing and would only keep defining itself in many more years to come.

Followings are the few of too many that have entertained me during the festival.

Avenue Amy “Outfriended”
Director: Joan Raspo, Writer: Amy Sohn

Bizarre nature of human being invites you to the wonderland of dark humor. What if your worst date ended up hitting it off with your best guy friend? And what if your time with him has been sacrificed because of this new buddy? And to finish it off by random old girl friend that you ran into buddied up with these two in less than a second? Amy’s self esteem tanks way down. Digitally painted figures with the dark color palette adds the reality to the storyline, and will only make you chuckle harder.

Delusions in Modern Primitivism
Director/Writer/Editor:Daniel Loflin

Have you ever imagined that the ultimate form of body art after tattooing and body piercing will go this far? For first 16 minutes, I thought I was witnessing the history. The suburb-ness and the actor’s self centered monologue was too convincing. The most rich storyline amongst other entries. Viva Jerome.

No Words
Director:same as the cast

Circulating camera, the play with language and subtitle, right when the repeated scene started to imprint in your brain, it evolves into some mundane reality. Appreciate the beauty of old Italian mafia naming a esthetics.

19-2000: GORILLAZ
Director: Jamie Hewlett, Peter Candeland

Famous animation band Gorillaz that has a voice of Damon Albarn (Blur)’s and Miho Hatori (Chibo Matto)’s needs not explanation. Much talked about animation figures are nothing but the band itself. Since the human body does not exist for this band, music video serves as the major marketing tool. Decency of visual presentation and smooth cruise of the figures pushed Gorillaz on RES‘s cover. Film is promised for a extra applaud in Japan for the use of Japanese characters.

Ya Mama: Fatboy Slim
Director: TRAKTOR

Audience Award winner of Los Angeles show amongst 17 entries in Cinema Electronica. Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim’s charm has fully been reflected onto the big screen. The command “push the tempo!” turns this little Caribbean island upside down, and police is no exception either. (No wonder MTV refuses to air the clip.) The king of Ibiza has done it all. Created by the Swiss duo TRAKTOR, whose hands created over 300 commercial in the past, this film premiered in USA as their first but banned music video.

Guest: Mike Mills (Graphic Designer, Film Maker) – Los Angeles

This program features the young creator representing each city and Mike Mills stood for Los Angeles. Since his contribution in 1997’s entry “Deformer” (the intimate portraiture of pro skater Ed Templeton), Mills successfully became the favorite of RESFEST/RES. Creator like him, having his feet in various fields, successor as both graphic designer and film maker, is the figure that dreamed to be in this 21st century. Yet the very one is sitting back in the chair. Talking about the fascination towards Saskwach/wookie of his generation (fellow Directors Bureau member Geoff McFetridge has Saskwatch design too, when come to think of it), and explaining the beauty of ‘leakiness’ of the teenagers, the presentation kept his tone from beginning to the end. Audience was introduced to his music video works and advertising works, which all succeeds in simple but intelligent camera work. Mills did not forget to express his love and appreciation to colleagues, and that portrays him as era’s darling director. Mills’ “Paper Boys”, project film with Jack Spade, premiered in shorts #5 DIRECTORS CLUB.

This years festival is traveling to more cities. Starting off in San Francisco, RESFEST visits Seattle (postponed due to 9.11.01 tragedy), Chicago, London, New York, Los Angeles, Soul, Bristol, Cape Town, Tokyo, Osaka, Rio De Janeiro, and Sao Paulo. Especially destination South Africa and Brazil was much talked about by the organizers showing their excitements. The show must not be missed.

RESFEST official web site:
Text: Aya Muto from New Image Art Gallery

All Images: Courtesy of Resfest

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