'When Herzog Rescued Phoenix' plays in SFIAF's Online Screening Room as well as in the festival itself.

New to SFIAF: Online Screening Room

Andrew Provost November 13, 2010

A heroic yet completely placid Werner Herzog, an out-of-control mobile of farm animals and an eccentric rap duo en route to the biggest concert of their lives all make memorable appearances at the San Francisco International Animation Festival this weekend at Landmark’s Embarcadero Center Cinema. But there's also an opportunity to whet your appetite for the SFIAF as a whole by watching these films online at the SFIAF's Online Screening Room, a new feature to the festival this year.

When Herzog Rescued Phoenix
(Sascha Ciezata, USA 2010, 3 min)
Sascha Ciezata’s three-minute film stars two cinema legends in one amusing and absurd little animation. Based on the true story of when Joaquin Phoenix rolled his car in 2006 and was dragged to safety by none other than German film director Werner Herzog, this bare bones stop-motion animation features Herzog’s unmistakable audio as he recalls the incident in his trademark diction and unflappable tone. Who else “confiscates” a cigarette from someone in a car dripping gasoline? (And who else attempts to light one while upside down after a near fatal accident?) Ciezata marries the timbre of Herzog’s voice with simple, yet oddly enchanting images in this work that is as strange and wonderful as the actual event it recounts.

StoryCorps: Q&A
(Mike Rauch, Tim Rauch, USA 2009, 4 min)
“Did I turn out to be the son you wanted when I was born?” This is just one of the many difficult questions that Joshua, a young boy with Asberger’s syndrome, asks his mother in Mike and Tim Rauch’s touching film. All of Mom’s responses are emotional, honest and resilient. Sprinkled with moments of heartache and humor, this short piece is a concise portrait of a deep relationship that, like all, requires patience and love to overcome the potentially overwhelming.

Mobile (Verena Fels, Germany 2010, 7 min)
A mobile suspended in the sky is home to a cast of cute characters in search of, or rather in need of, physical harmony, literally. When a lonely cow on one side of the dangling structure tries to get closer to her friends, she sends them all on a wild and crazy ride as they twist and twirl completely out of control. The details and nuances of the CGI are beyond impressive; note the countless physical subtleties when the mobile starts to lose its balance. Even as the action develops from balletic to ballistic, this family friendly short won’t result in dizziness as much as it will delight.  

Das Racist: Who’s That? Brooown! (Thomas de Napoli, USA 2010, 4 min)
When Jay-Z and Justin Bieber’s shared stretch limo gets hit by a meteor, the big leagues make the call to Brooklyn based rap group Das Racist to fill in for the show of a lifetime. Join the duo on their videogame inspired adventures across New York as they battle yuppies on the 7 platform, avoid getting hit by golf balls in Murray Hill and attempt to cross the East River to escape a republican convention, all in search of their hypeman, Dap, who was last seen by a taco truck in Williamsburg.

Seeking To Destroy Families and Faith (Katie Bush, USA 2010, 5 min)
Artist Katie Bush animates her digital prints in this five-minute piece featuring floating babies, missiles, minivans and rainbows (lots of them). Reminiscent of the work featured in the Cartune Xprez collections, Seeking To Destroy Families and Faith also features equally trance-inducing music to complete the out-of-this-world experience.