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By Steve Montal | August 10, 1998

THE MERMAID — GRAND PRIX ^ * * * * * ^ This beautiful work of animation painted on glass was nominated for an Oscar in 1997. An old monk tells his young apprentice about his youth when he betrayed his bride and she committed suicide. Creating dreamlike images, Aleksander Petrov takes us through the monk’s young love affair with his bride and follows into the bride’s eventual reappearance in the film to get revenge. Exemplary in technique, style and content, this is definitely a film worth catching at the next animated fest you go to. ^
THE MAYOR’S NOSE — BEST FIRST FILM PRODUCTION ^ * * * * 1/2 ^ In one of the most innovative pictures of the festival, Mikhail Lisovoj takes us on a wild goose chase of Russian Military Major Kovalev who loses his nose. In desperate attempts to find his nose, Kovalev undergoes many tragic and comedic adventures. Intelligently crafted, edited and designed, the film combines numerous animation styles including cut-outs, 2-D computer animation and mixed media. Keep an eye out for director Lisovoj since this is only his first film and it already displays a wealth of creativity and talent. ^
PINK DOLL — BEST FIRST FILM PRODUCTION ^ * * * * 1/2 ^ Director Velentin Olshvang’s first film is a traditionally animated piece made by drawings on paper. The picture tells the story of a mother, her lover and her young daughter. When the lover gives the mother’s daughter a pink doll as a present, the film erupts into a world of jealousy and suspicion. Olshvang’s direction creates a moving atmosphere filled with tension. Superb editing and artistic design make this picture another excellent choice for your must-see animation pics. ^
SIENTJE — BEST FILM IN CATEGORY A (30 seconds-6 minutes) ^ * * * * 1/2 ^ When a girl is sent to her room by her parents, she sits around and creates a fantasy world of the horrible things that her family does to her and that she could do to her family. When her parents finally let her out of her room, she becomes a sweet little girl again and forgets her horrible alter ego. A comic yet serious look into parent-child relationships, this film is horrifying and sarcastic at the same time. Animated by drawings on paper, director Christa Moesker creates one of the most powerful films of the festival. ^
THE ALBATROSS — BEST FILM IN CATEGORY B (6 min. – 15 min.) ^ * * * * ^ Director Paul Bush’s screen adaptation of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s work “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” tells the story of a ship’s voyage through rough waters where only one man survives. The picture is animated by the difficult technique of scratching directly on film. Although a few of the sequences are a bit long, the picture is beautifully animated and edited to portray the harrowing events of being lost at sea in the night with no one except yourself to rely upon. ^
FLATWORLD — BEST FILM IN CATEGORY C (15 min. – 30 min.) ^ * * * * * ^ Matt is a normal guy who lives in a boring urban wasteland called Flatworld. He has a cat and a fat, angry fish. TV is about the most exciting thing in Flatworld until one day Matt has an accident in which he gets electrocuted. The electric surge blasts through Flatword’s television cables and for some bizarre reason causes a 1930’s TV star from a cops & robbers show to pop out of the TV and enter Flatworld. Wasting no time, this TV robber begins to cause havoc which only Matt, his cat and his fat fish can stop. The picture is animated using cell drawings. Director Daniel Greaves’ use of editing, sound effects and music further enhances this comic urban nightmare. ^
ONE EYE — BEST STUDENT FILM ^ * * * 1/2 ^ A surreal portrait of a poor peasant couple who sacrifices everything they have to try to provide for their one-eyed child. Director Liana Dognini crafts the film at a slow pace to portray the bleak world in which the couple lives in. Animated using drawings on cells and paper, the film is almost documentary in nature as it takes you through the hardships of peasant life. ^

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