RESFEST, the annual film festival and multimedia event which hops, skips and jumps around the globe, is about the start its 2005 tour and we’ve been given a preview of what to expect. For its ninth year RESFEST has sourced the finest music videos, shorts and experimental films, distilled down from 1,750 submissions. In addition, RESFEST will present two retrospectives: one considering the creative output of Swedish collective Traktor and the other looking at video collaborations with musician and artist Beck. There’ll also be a chance to see Just for Kicks, a documentary on the rise of sneaker culture and a new programme called Triple Threat looking at three filmmakers—Nagi Noda from Japan, Jonnie Ross from the US and François Vogel from France—who’ll be hitting the big time at any time. You heard it here first.

Nagi Noda, for example, is represented by his bizarre and funny Fitness Video (for being appraised as an Ex-Fat Girl) in which a previously obese fitness instructor takes her team of poodles through their paces. Also in the just-plain-odd category comes Rehearsal by Gabriel Malaprade, in which an off-camera director asks his actors to hang in mid-air.

The latest digital techniques and typography are explored in Hee Bok Lee’s Tread Softly which is based on a love letter written by WB Yeats. Beautiful and stylish, the piece uses abstract computer animation to add an extra dimension to the poem. Another CG piece, Overtime (Oury and Thomas) was made as a graduation film by a team of young French animators and is a homage to the late Jim Henson. In the short, a house full of puppets are not quite sure how to react when their owner suddenly dies. It’s a stunningly original piece, dark and slightly melancholic, but is sure to be one of the biggest hits from this year’s show.

At the opposite end of the scale is the quirky stop-motion masterpiece, Le Grand Sommeil from Belgium’s Pic Pic André. Zipping through its five minute length at breakneck speed, it tells of the unlikely events that befall a trio of friends and had me laughing out loud. In contrast to slick visuals seen elsewhere in RESFEST, this is low-tech stuff but is as close to genius as anything else I’ve seen!

Another highlight to keep an eye out for is Adam Smith’s What Goes Up Must Come Down, an extended music video about the various passengers picked up by a taxi driver in late-night London. All the characters rap in a cockney style, like an urban Rex Harrison updated for the 21st century.

Watch out for another strange gem: Little Pony by Sweden’s Stylewar about a retro American home at Christmas being blasted to bits by a mini aerial battle between World War II aircraft taking place above the Christmas tree.

It’s always good to see Traktor‘s work and RESFEST visitors will be treated to Traktor classics such as Face of the Future for Siemens Xelibri and the Fox Sports ads featuring bizarre sports from around the world.

I didn’t personally care very much for Johan Kramer’s nine minute short 11:59which is shot in one uninterrupted camera take, technically interesting though that is; but with a rich, creamy mix as eclectic as RESFEST’s there’s bound to be stuff you like and stuff you like a little less. RESFEST is like an adrenaline shot of moving image zeitgeist. To not check it out is to not be in the loop.

Resfest 2005
New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, London, Glasgow, Dublin, Belfast, Bristol, Sheffield, Nottingham, Tokyo, Seoul, Sao Paulo, Cape Town, Sydney, Bercelona, Zurich, Amsterdam, Istanbul and more
(From September 2005)

Pixelsurgeon Verdict

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