Tuesday, August 28, 2012

2012 Films: Choreography for Plastic Army Men

Choreography for Plastic Army Men by David Fain
Pasadena, CA (Milwaukee Premiere)

Running Time: 5 Minutes
Screening Time: Saturday, Nov 10th. 3:15pm
Tickets $10.00

A Stop-motion animated piece starring a variety of plastic army men strutting their stuff to the instrumental track 'Ohayoo Ohio' by the band 'Pink Martini'. Shot in the film maker's garage during various bouts of unemployment.

View Trailer

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Director Statement
Having spent my childhood during the 1960's rising early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons and build elaborate scenarios comprised of Lincoln Logs and plastic Cowboys and Indians (only to obliterate them shortly thereafter with a volley of marbles) it should be no surprise to anyone that I ended up with a career in animation.

While my working life has evolved from Stop-Motion student films to Flash oriented web cartoons to currently editing animatics for an animated cable series, one of the few constants has been the influence of toys on all of the above. While it is generally NOT the type of animation I do to pay the bills (although it has been) it is the thing I always seem to return to, and find the most natural.

Having just passed the half century mark I possess more toys now than at any other time of my life. And I'm not talking a pristine selection of ultra rare mint in the blister pack collection of memories from my childhood. These toys have been played hard, often times chewed by pets and missing limbs, gleaned mainly from swap meets, garage sales and thrift stores. Selected for either their sheer weirdness or the fact they can potentially be drafted into service as actors in my next production they fill my garage and hypnotize my friend's children.

I remember reading somewhere Czech animator Jan Švankmajer claimed the objects he used in his films "spoke" to him; that they told him how they should be moved. It's the same way between me and the toys.

Production Notes
"Why Army Men?"
I have a lot of toys (see Director's Statement) and one day while looking at a batch of classic green army men I noticed if you took the time to arrange them in the proper order they formed sequences that described dance moves. Simultaneously a favorite band, Pink Martini, was offering up a number of tracks from their latest album to their fan base in a contest to create music videos. One contest rule stood out in my mind, "No violent imagery, please". Somehow it just seemed the right thing to do, to give these warriors a new lease on life where they didn't have to fight anymore. Being inspired (and unemployed) I took to the garage and started sequencing plastic dancers. And filming them.

Then I got a job. So the time in the garage became less and less and the contest deadline came and went. But even so, the dance went on. In August 2011 I finally finished. Although I also possess Cowboys, Indians, Cops, Firemen, Spacemen and Aliens, the army men worked the best.

Generally speaking the only alteration made to these figures is the removal of their weapons. They range in size from 5 inches to 2 millimeters.

Black Maria Film Festival - Director's Choice Award February 2012
Los Angeles Animation Festival - Music Video Finalist March 2012
Indie Spirit Film Festival - April 2012
Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival - Schull, Ireland May 2012
Pineapple Underground Film Festival - Hong Kong June 2012
Anima Mundi Animation Festival - Rio de Janeiro/Sao Paulo, Brazil July 2012

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