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ART & Animation at UCLA, quality counts here

by Sidestepper Monday, Jun. 09, 2008 at 1:03 AM

UCLA is showing short films & animation films from students that are far superior to anything on TV or paid movies even. See http://www.tft.ucla.edu/ and then ask the dept. to get political too with this talent.

As a spectator to dedicated students and their professional professors at the UCLA Schoool of Film, Theater and Television, I just witnessed Gen X's talent.

And their short films & animations.

The quality of most of these short films was superb. Maybe they now need more public exposure and venues, to be appreciated and re-seen by other than their teachers and families. Hopefully they will take their films and sell themselves to big shops and do bigger jobs or maybe even independent work !

As a 'viewer' with no attachments to anyone there, I was impressed with the cleverness and professional quality of these films. Most of us love movies. But the pay-per-re-hashed-movies in our fine commercial city are nothing when compared to these 4 to 10 min solos. In just a short moment, an eloquent story is told as a desire is fulfilled or defeated.

That's all it takes - just like fewer words succinctly tell more than rambling-ons [like mine]. I congratulate these students whom I dont know, and I wish they had a broader audience than their close family and friends as seen tonight. I hope they have plenty of viewers - a large variety of folks - who ordinarily will just miss these gems because they dont appear anywhere except at special festivals, or graduation screenings.

Ok. I am impressed...but I am also concerned.

I noticed that the themes of both the short acted films and animation films had NO POLITICAL CONTENT and no references to social issues. They were focusing mostly on relationships [both heterosexual and homosexual ones], on sex acts and reactions to them, on funny moments with a lot of human-to-human contacts. Animated animals cleverly played their cute roles at times, a brief moral point was told, a sad moment recounted, a musical symphony animated, and such. Good moments. But apparently not concerned with the serious social issues in our daily lives, that which makes lives so scary and dangerous for us all.

Yet no student dared or chose to describe war, violence, cruelty, corruption, economics, inflation, crises, education, socialization, any of the 'isms' [race, ethnicity, age, gender/sex, and other prejudices notable everywhere, not just in USA either]. Not even in humorous forms. For all the precociousness, the technical expertise available here, theclever story lines, al the artistic talent exposed, et al ..... there seemed to be no work put in to exposing or exploring the important issues of Our Every Days, and lives together. Not here or elsewhere, in this USA or globally or other locality.

Why are these topics avoided ? It must have cost both the students, their families, their grantor-funders, and the university lots of good clean cash to produce these delightful pieces. When I asked a professor if it was directed from above that such topics be avoided, I was informed that it was solely the student's choice, not the teachers or the university's. Surprised, I wondered why ? and I can only guess, surmise, question what is lacking here ?

Is the focus on close sexual, mating relationships and these bodily interactions what is important to those young people who spend so much time on technology, electronics, cellphones, iPods, TV sets, and even the technology of producing their own films ?

Is the hot topics that fill the news of these days not sellable to someone who may want to buy or hire their services after they graduate? so they fill their portfolios with good but fluffy examples, instead of thought-provoking issues ?

One animated film entitled "Sebastian's Voodoo" by Joaquin Baldwin had some serious content in it and was expertly produced and emotionally resonate, dealt with the issue of cruelty

[see www.pixelnitrate.com...but know that I dont know the fellow or his site, and list it here as a compliment to what I viewed tonight at the "UCLA Prom 2008" - exposure of animation films here.]

So I am delighted at the quality of work and glad that we will be seeing talent manifest further from these graduating student. And I am questionning where they are going or coming from and what they will do to make this world more relevant, not just make fancier films for entertainment, not just make money for themselves, not just comply with our general corporate world motto:

"don't worry about anything, just keep shopping, watching flimsy entertainment, keep buying, dont complain, dont ask us to do anything other than produce more of the same stuff...and let us [big corporation holders and owners who also run this government and other ones too] decide what is important. ... we dont need anyone questioning our [corporate domination ] world...just enjoy the show."

I did enjoy the shows. But then I thought one step further. What will it take to have some, not all, more serious subjects exposed & developed by these good film makers? Let us only hope they are working on other topics than what they have done for now...for their sake...for their own futures and their children too.

We questioners may be gone and not as equipped to produce, write, draw, and do all it takes to make such films. But these graduates will re-draw the worlds in their own images and I hope they convert the 'fun stuff' into 'real' good work too.

from just another viewer ... asking my questions....always hoping for a better world coming...

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