23 August 2009

Shadowplay (2002)

Shadowplay (2002) from Dan B. on Vimeo.


In August of 1945, in a closing chapter of the second World War, a blinding flash lit the sky over Hiroshima. The places that were shielded from that searing light became permanent shadows on the city's walls and streets, while the city itself was decimated. "Shadowplay" is the story of Akio, a shadow of a young boy, who wanders the city searching for his family, while trying to make sense of the unfathomable atrocity.

What Author says:
I am often asked what the catalyst was for me to create "Shadowplay". I first learned of the “shadow” images left from the atomic blast back in high school. Being part of a generation that is desensitized to violence, the photos of victims’ charred bodies, grotesque deformities, or other complications from radiation exposure did not strike as much of an emotional chord with me as the “shadows” of Hiroshima did.
With a blinding flash, huge slabs of concrete worked like emulsion paper, creating silhouetted photographs of that split-second of power. Shadows were left of people going about their everyday lives: a man washing a window, one casually entering a bank, another about to whip his horse. No other word more aptly describes these ghosted images in Hiroshima other than “haunting”.
These are the reflex images I think of when there is talk of nuclear threats or weapons of mass destruction. Like chalk outlines at a crime scene, the faceless poses make me realize, “This could have been anyone, anywhere.” For someone who never lived through World War II or the Atomic Age, the shadows are a timeless, unforgettable portrayal of life stopping.
As I began my career in animation, I tried to explore the medium and its boundaries in dramatic storytelling. I have been fascinated by how an audience can be moved by something so “inanimate” as animation, and wanted to see how far I could push this boundary. The shadows of Hiroshima seemed obvious subject matter to me. I knew the difficulty in trying to have an audience relate to a character with no face and no eyes, or for that matter, ones that don’t even move. But, as I learned during the basics of animation, poses are the most important aspect of character animation. No poses are more expressive and have more subtext than the shadow-people of Hiroshima.
I hope you find this film to be a touching, respectful, and heartfelt film about the horrors of war. For an American making a film about a Japanese tragedy, it seems that my film could only be aimed at a global audience, for all sides of conflicts worldwide. But I also hope than you can see the power animation can have as a means for dramatic storytelling, and that the medium still has uncharted territories to explore. I hope the images in “Shadowplay” move you the way they moved me. Thank you.
Dan Blank

Awards and Honors:
LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL
Winner: Best Animated Short
STUDENT ACADEMY AWARDS BRONZE MEDAL: ANIMATION CATEGORY

STUDENT EMMY AWARDS
FIRST PLACE: TRADITIONAL ANIMATION

HEARTLAND FILM FESTIVAL
Winner: Jimmy Stewart Crystal Heart Award
ANGELUS AWARDS
Honorable Mention: Animation Category

BIG BEAR LAKE FILM FESTIVAL
Winner: Audience Award: Best Animation

RED BANK INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Winner: Best Animation
ASIFA-EAST ANIMATION FESTIVAL Second Place: Best Student Animation
FIRST LOOK STUDENT FILM FESTIVAL
Second Place: Best Film
NYU FIRST RUN FESTIVAL -Best Achievement in Animation -Adam Balsano Award for a Film with a Social Significance -Award of Excellence for Cinematography - Award of Excellence for Art Direction - Award of Excellence for Score
PRODUCTION AWARDS AND GRANTS -THE 2001 George Heinemann Production Award-THE 2001 Russell Hexter Film Maker Award-THE 2001 Thomas-Gidro Frank Award-THE 2001 Clive Davis Award for Excellence in Music-THE 2000 Richard Protovin Memorial Award-THE 2000 Charles & Lucille King Family Foundation Award

http://www.danmation.com/home.html

Writer, Director, Animator and Produced by Dan Blank & Cynthia Allen
Cast: Jennifer Kato, Takeo Matsushita, Jun Kim, Ako.
Music: Ryan Shore


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