WE CAN ALL AGREE that animation done right is a pink unicorn snuggling a fluffy pile of floppy, sloppy puppies. In other words, straight-up magic. The fourth annual Northwest Animation Festival—specifically the best-of program, which screens Friday at the Hollywood with 14 short films—upholds animation's vaunted apex of pixie dust and pixels.
There are obvious audience favorites culled from 2014's full Northwest Animation Festival, which took place in May. There's Péter Vácz's Rabbit and Deer, for example, about best friends whose bond is strained by Deer's fascination with discovering the secrets of the third dimension. (It's kinda like the episode of The Simpsons where Homer gets the third-dimension treatment, only 1,137 times more adorable.) Or French entry Premier Automne, a fairy tale about a child of winter who meets his summer counterpart. It's creepy and beautiful in equal measure.
But my favorite selections are the goofball entries from Australia, because the silliest (and best) things are always from Australia. There was Chris Edser's music video The Beards: Got Me a Beard about the chaos that will ensue if men are forced to curtail their hair farming (hint: dogs and cats living together). And Love the Way You Move stars a move-busting, nuclear sneaker-powered Vladimir Putin.
On the more serious tip, Thomas Stellmach and Maja Oschmann's Virtuos Virtuell is an exquisite short that features abstract ink drawings zooming and careening around the screen to classical music, and it's akin to watching a very dramatic re-creation of oil hitting water while fireworks crack in the distance. While the George Takei-narrated The Missing Scarf is a (very cute) take on world annihilation—like a children's show mashed up with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
While not every film selected for the Best of 2014's Northwest Animation Fest will knock your socks off, you'll be surprised by just how many will. Maybe bring extra socks.