Curtain Critic: Animation show to highlight a humble art form


The Animation Show of Shows at Third Street Theater will highlight films from six different countries. (John Spevacek/DD)

The 19th Annual Animation Show of Shows (ASOS) is hoping to bring short films back into the attention of the public eye. The showing will occur Wednesday, Nov. 1 at the 3rd Street Theater at Phoenix Center for the Arts. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The films come from Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, and each short offers a unique perspective. Everything comes together for a wonderful hour and a half showing of some of the best talent the animation world has to offer.

The animations range from beautiful stop motion animation by Niki Lindroth von Bahr in “The Burden” to pencil sketches brought to life by the spectacular Glen Keane in “Dear Basketball.” The movies, while short, delve into complex and introversive subjects.

Steve Weiss is the founder of No Festival Required, which brings the Animation Show of Shows to Phoenix.

“You’re going to see things you’ve never seen, you’re going to have emotions you wouldn’t think could be dug up by a pencil and a piece of paper,” Weiss said. “Sometimes the story can be told more profoundly by a drawing than by a human actor.”

Weiss is renowned in the Phoenix film scene with his penchant for digging up old films and giving them new life. This is his second year working with the Animation Show of Shows.

“It was one of the most successful screenings I’ve had in 15 years,” he said.

ASOS was founded and curated by Ron Diamond, a movie producer, in 1998 and is funded through Kickstarter. This year’s ASOS raised $62,473.

Viewers will laugh together, cry together and stare in wonder through the 16 films.

“You get to see something on a big screen, and that’s really a huge thing,” Weiss said. “Too much of animation and cartoons is being watched on our phones and TVs. It’s just not the same as a room full of people.”

Each film differs in production value, giving viewers a quiet insight into the people who worked on it. And yet, they all force viewers to confront thought-provoking topics about what it means to be human. Shorts such as “Tiny Big” and its simple drawings and animation styles stand toe-to-toe with highly advanced 3D renderings such as in “Our Wonderful Nature-The Common Chameleon” to create a truly unique viewing experience.

The show is sponsored by the American Institute of Graphic Arts Arizona, General Dentistry of Dr. David Weiss and Carly’s Bistro. Tickets are available online for $10 and at the box office for $12 ($11 for students with an ID). Third Street Theater is located at 1202 N. 3rd St. and is a part of the Phoenix Center for the Arts.

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