The Animation Show of Shows

Rated: Not Rated

        Anyone who spends any amount of time on my website will quickly realize what a fan of animation I am. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s hand drawn, computer done, puppets, stop motion or any other form, I feel that animation as a story telling medium often gets a bad rap, and is highly underrated.
        Given all that, when I got an email giving me the chance to preview the 19
th annual Animation Show of Shows I answered as quickly as possible. I had never heard of the Animation Show of Shows before, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I’d get to preview 16 of the most amazing shorts from around the world.
        The group of shorts chosen for this year’s event includes films from France, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, and Germany, to name a few. And their subjects range from the silly, to jazzy, to downright chilling and everything in between.
        Of the program, Ron Diamond, the show’s founder and curator said, “Because animation is such a natural medium for dealing with abstract ideas and existential concerns, the Animation Show of Shows has always included a number of thoughtful and engaging films. However, more than in previous years, I believe that this year’s program really offers contemporary animation that expresses deeply felt issues in our own country and around the world.”
        I must say that I agree with him. While one or two of the shorts seem to be merely entertainment, with nothing much deeper to think about, many of them touch on a variety of issues, such as loneliness, complacency, dreaming of a better life, and the interconnectedness of the universe, among many more. Some of the messages are obvious from the start, some are more abstract, others you must think about as you watch, but all of them explore these topics in the most creative ways imaginable.

        Of all of the shorts included in this year’s lineup, the one that most touched me, and was most thought provoking was
Hangman. The film was made in 1964, and used to be shown in classrooms around the country. This film, even at a mere ten minutes long, packs a punch you’ll not soon forget, and is perhaps more relevant today than it was when it was made. Hangman was lovingly restored specifically for The Animation Show of Shows with a grant from ASIFA-Hollywood and The National Film Preservation Foundation. I’m not sure how Ron Diamond found the film to include it, but I’m so happy he did.

        While it’s impossible to please everyone, and not everyone will like all of the films included, the Animation Show of Shows truly does have something for everyone. It’s an hour and a half program that will have you happy you took the time to watch it, and one that will bring new appreciation for the remarkable storytelling that animation is capable of.

        The 19
th annual Animation Show of Shows opens December 29th at the Quad Cinema in New York City, and will be on a nationwide tour thereafter. More information about screenings and the films included can be found here:

  • The Animation Show of Shows Website
  • The Animation Show of Shows Trailer