Friday, February 8, 2013

Toon Time: Spike and Mike Festival of Animation returns to La Jolla ...

By Ashley Mackin

A still from ?The Big Snit,? written and directed by Richard Condie. Courtesy

The Spike and Mike Festival of Animation is back for its 30th year, running Feb. 9 to March 30, at its home in Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 700 Prospect St.

Not to be confused with the ?Sick and Twisted? event, the Festival of Animation will include 11 days of film screenings from animators nationwide ? all suitable for ages 10 and older. (For dates, times and tickets, see the ?If you go? box.)

Its creator, Craig ?Spike? Decker, said the Festival of Animation ?tends to be more Oscar-winning and more artistic ? more of a highbrow show, if you will. There is a heavy emphasis on humor, art and entertainment, just fun films with a lot of award-winning film styles and techniques.?

The films screening at the festival have earned accolades worldwide, including Academy Award nominations and wins, Comic-Con International awards, as well as awards from international film festivals.

A still from the Academy Award-winning ?Bunny? by Chris Wedge, who also directed the feature film ?Ice Age.?

The Academy Award winners being shown include ?Bunny? by Chris Wedge (who also made ?Ice Age?) with music by Tom Waits; ?Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase? by Joan Gratz; ?For the Birds? by Ralph Eggleston of Pixar Animation Studios; and ?Creature Comforts? by Nick Park of ?Wallace and Gromit? fame.

There are also festival surprises that will be kept secret until the day of their screening. Decker said one of which, (an Oscar winner) is the best film in the festival.

Being an anniversary year, Decker said?there will be a variety of animation styles featured to reflect the evolution of animation ? including traditional hand-drawn cell animation, clay model 3-D animation, puppet animation and computer- generated animation.

Some of the films Decker said he?s most excited to screen include ?Paths of Hate? from Poland, and ?Loom? from Germany, because they feature ?extraordinary technique in animation like nothing I?ve ever seen before.?

Also garnering some excitement is ?Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase,? which Decker called ?an absolute stunning, beautiful, masterpiece of work.? It features clay on glass.

A still from ?creature comforts? by Nick Park of ?Wallace & Gromit? fame.

Pointing out their ?impeccable track record? for bringing in good films, Decker said it was at past Festivals of Animation that viewers first saw the works of Andrew Stanton, the director of ?Finding Nemo;? John Lasseter, director of the ?Toy Story? franchise and early pioneer of computer-generated animation; and early works by Tim Burton.

This year, two celebrity directors will make an appearance, complete with question-and-answer session?and autograph opportunities. Those attending the festival on Feb. 9 and 10 will have the chance to meet David Silverman, director and producer of ?The Simpsons? and ?The Simpsons Movie.?

Silverman, who admits being fine with the fanaticism he?s often met with, said he was happy and honored to be attending. ?I hope to bring (to the?festival) enthusiasm for the Simpsons, some laughs, answer burning questions, evade burning questions and perhaps offer further insight as to how we make the show.?

Another animation innovator, Rich Moore, director of the Oscar- nominated ?Wreck-It Ralph,? will attend on March 1 and 2.

A still from the Oscar-winning Pixar short, ?For the Birds,? by Ralph Eggleston.

If you go

? What: Spike & Mike Festival of Animation, screening 20-22 animated shorts

? Schedule: Feb. 9 at 7 and 9:15 p.m., Feb. 10 at 5 and 7 p.m., Feb. 14 at 7:15 p.m., Feb. 15 at 7 and 9:15 p.m., Feb. 22 at 7:15 p.m., Feb. 23 at 7 and 9:15 p.m., March 1 at 7:15 p.m., March 2 at 7 and 9:15 p.m., March 8 at 7:15 p.m., March 15 at 7:15 p.m., March 22 at 7:15 p.m. and March 30 at 7 and 9:15 p.m. with screenings of all films each day

? Where: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, 700 Prospect St., La Jolla

? Tickets: Available at up until an hour and a half before each show. General admission $15; groups/seniors $12; museum members $13; celebrity days $20

? Perk: Festival attendees can receive 15 percent off their meals at Herringbone, 7837 Herschel Ave., by showing their festival receipts. Additional sponsors include Puesto, 1026 Wall St. and Burger Lounge, 1101 Wall St.

Related posts:

  1. Jewish Film Fest to offer La Jolla filmgoers a celebration of New York, diversity
  2. AMC La Jolla upgrades seating, concessions for New Year
  3. Two films about autism to screen in La Jolla on Jan. 19 at Sherwood Auditorium
  4. ArcLight Cinemas opens 14-screen theater at Westfield UTC mall
  5. San Diego art museums open joint exhibition of American works, first in La Jolla

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