The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows (2018)

Opens at Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles on December 14th, and at the Quad Cinema in New York City on December 28th. Learn More Here.

Since 1998, “The Animation Show of Shows” has been a small program line up that selects the best in animated short films from all around the world. It’s presented new and innovative short films to animation aficionados at animation studios and schools, as well as theaters in the US and around the world since 2015. 38 shorts since, went on to become Oscar contenders with 11 winning the Oscar. This year, “The Animation Show of Shows” is not bereft of diversity and bold new voices, and it’s all in all a riveting experience, with eyes on personal statements and meaningful ideas.

Among some of my favorites were “The Green Bird” by Maximilien Bougeois, Quentin Dubois, Marine Goalard, Irina Nguyen, and Pierre Perveyrie. It’s a funny but sweet short about a green bird anxiously trying to find a fly to eat, who gets in to more trouble than it bargained for. “One Small Step” by Andrew Chesworth, and Bobby Pontillas is a heartbreaking short about a young girl named Luna who dreams of becoming an astronaut. With the help of her loving dad who aids her by mending her footwear, she experiences troubles and turmoils in the pursuit of her dreams. It’s a marvelous short tale with an amazing message. “Barry” from Anchi Shen is a hilarious short about a sheep that longs to be a doctor, and desperately tries to be taken seriously by his human colleagues. “Flower Found!” from Jorn Leeuwerink is a morbid but interesting tale of mistaken identity among animals when a mouse’s flower goes missing.

It ultimately results in anarchy and a beheading. “Carlotta’s Face” is a gripping short by Valentin Riedl, and Frédéric Schuld exploring the life of a young woman who suffers from Prosopagnosia, a neurological disorder where she can’t recognize faces, including her own. “Age of Sail” by John Kahrs is a sweet old fashioned sea tale about an old sailor (voiced by Ian McShane) who saves a girl stranded at sea. When she tries to go back home, the sailor finds a new purpose and possibly a new life thanks to her. “Polaris” by Hikari Toriumi is a sweet tale about letting go of your children and letting them pursue their own frontiers. Last but not least, Trevor Jimenez’s “Weekends” is a sad but interesting silent short about a young boy’s changing world through his parent’s divorce, and the cycles of their new relationships that begin and fade away before he can realize it.

This twentieth annual show of shows presents audiences with fifteen short films (many varying from four minutes to fifteen minutes), all amounting to ninety minutes. The most prevalent theme this year is family and the power of a family’s love, and the shorts are never in short supply. I can’t say that all of the short animated movies were a complete success for me, but as an animation buff for years, I loved watching the new visions artists were offering fans of the medium. Through and through, “The Animation Show of Shows” is an entertaining and engrossing experience, proving that animation is a very versatile medium fit for any story.