Animator Don Hertzfeldt returns to Sundance

by Eric Melin on January 15, 2009

in Blogs

This weekend, I’ll be blogging for Digital Content Producer’s Sundance 2009 BlogLive. I’ll have audio podcast interviews with directors who have movies premiering at this year’s festival, and I’ll be posting profiles/reviews of films appearing in the festival’s Short Film Program. This year features a record 96 short films from 5,632 submissions, from U.S. and international filmmakers. Submissions grew by 10 percent over last year. The 2009 Sundance Film Festival runs January 15-25 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance, Utah.

Here’s a little background on one of the artists whose films I’ll be writing about. Don Hertzfeldt is back at Sundance for the fourth time with his newest film I Am So Proud of You. He’s been making award-winning shorts since 1995, and his 2000 animated short, Rejected, was nominated for an Oscar. Hertzfeld proves that animation doesn’t have to be done by computers or even have ornately rendered characters or backgrounds to be effective. This is bizarre, hilarious stuff, all hand-drawn, mostly black-on-white, and animated against a simple white background. At least until things get weird. If you haven’t ever seen his work, you need to. Check out Don Hertzfeldt’s short film Rejected below:

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Rejected may be complete fiction (I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as the Family Learning Channel), but the movie is a clear reaction to the requests for television commercials that were actually thrown at the filmmaker after the success of his 1998 short, Billy’s Balloon. A DVD collection of his shorts from 1995-2005 that includes both of the short films presented here is available at his Bitter Films website, along with lots of other cool merch you can buy to support the filmmaker. Here’s Billy’s Balloon, enjoy:

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Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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