Rubberfish at Flash Attack
Berlin Beta 3.0 Festival held on 31 Aug - 3rd Sept 2000
Roving Rubberfish reporter Ellen Mc. comments:
FlashAttack was organised and sponsored by Bitfilm an internet station for digital film based in Hamburg, who's objective was to showcase a selection of new and innovative work by designers and animators using Macromedia's Flash software. A competition was run simultaneously, with a prize awarded by Adobe Systems to the best overall animation.
There were 26 animations nominated to be put forward for the competition and shown at the two screenings. The content and standard of entries varied considerably from the Flash starters, experimenting with shape tweening and library pictures set to music, to the story teller/animators exploring the constructs of narrative with creative visualisation.
Rubberfish leapt at the invitation to present Ms Swat on the big screen, so we packed our little rubber attache cases and scuttled off to Berlin for a couple of days to see if the translation from web browser to "cinema" would be successful. We had been asked to enter Inflation, Moving Target and a reworked version of our Swat-box feature Swat's Up, and all 3 were shown. We now know that fine lines do not enlarge well, causing some screen flicker... and so too does that intense red, but the animation and overall style came across very well. What was most interesting was the timing. On the internet with an audience of one on one (OK perhaps plus one, over the shoulder) these little stories have an instant effect, a fast paced sketch, chased by a speedy punchline (although you'll have seen they are getting longer, the new episode is, wait for it - over 2 minutes!). On a larger scale everything happened too quickly, and the effect of our dastardly denouments was lost because the audience was still getting a handle on what was going on. I realised an audience needs, even wants to wait for the inevitable. We seem to be getting into a Hitchcockian theory of suspense here, but I think even for a small animation the same truths apply, and certainly for our work, the action needs to be more measured and the pace slowed down.
As for Rubberfish's pick of the bunch: most notable for their sense of fun and off-beat presentation were the joint winners "Inspector Bresitoffe" by Katrin Rothe and "Braingirl Fishing" by Marina Zurkow. The "Inspector" having a very strong visual energy, complemented by snappy soundtrack cut ups, and an "uber grosse" rat. We were also taken by the story behind "Moonlight Chaser" by Motomura Kenta, whose metaphysical drift into the word of Anime used a mirror image ritual battle to question what is real and what is virtual. We were also heartily amused by Patrik Agemalm's "Kasestangen in Hamburg", an animation in honour of the Cheese Stick (Kasestangen) on sale in most gas stations in Germany and Holland (basically a finger of gouda cheese, on a stick, we did get to sample one on our way, still can't quite understand what the very small stick was there for.) Patrik, from Sweden, explained that Kasestange translates to something quite different in Swedish... no I shall not go into details, just you get your German-Swedish dictionaries out.
As the result of our discoveries in Berlin, and that now we have been bitten by the bug, we are currently reworking some of our themes for the consideration of other animation Festivals, and although this is going to be time consuming we do hope to continue to bring you more animtion stories on a regular basis. We'll let you know of upcoming events and keep you posted on our achievements and work in progress.