When I was in high school, my boyfriend showed me a film he had shot with his dad’s Super 8. It featured a pair of golf clubs escaping from the garage and hustling down the driveway. I was bedazzled by his technique, and amazed that that’s how he spent his weekends before he met me.
I thought of those films the other day on a tour of Cal Arts with a prospective student. As part of orientation, our group was shown “Bottle,” an award-winning stop motion short created when writer-director Kirsten Lepore was a grad student in the experimental animation program.
In the minute or so it took our guide to remember how to turn the sound on, I was actually dreading it. I like narrative. Funny. Madeline Sharafian’s flat animation “Omelette,” which we were shown before “Bottle” as representative of the sort of work going on in the famed Character Animation department, delivered on both counts.
Experimental, though? I pictured a Dali-esque computer generated landscaped starring an anonymous ball, and longed for Scott’s dad’s golf clubs. They had so much personality.
I am delighted to report that those clubs couldn’t hold a candle to the cast you will meet above. I don’t want to spoil any surprises. Suffice it to say that the finished product involves sand, snow, the ocean, flotsam, jetsam, a bottle, many miles, and many, many hours of labor. If that, combined with an utterly charming storyline, adds up to experimental, then I am all for experimentation. My kid was ready to change her major after seeing it, but maybe I am the one who needs to attend.
Watch the making of video below to get a feel for the sort of wringer Lepore put herself and her crew through. Obviously not a weekend project.