Last Thursday, I attended 'An Evening with Don Hertzfeldt' at the LACMA as part of their Film Independent series. I've been a huge fan and admirer of his work for years, including donating to one of his recent projects on Kickstarter, so needless to say, the chance to see him speak in person was quite exciting!
The program included an early screening of his latest short: "World of Tomorrow Episode Two: The Burden of Other People's Thoughts" - a sequel of sorts to his Oscar-nominated "World of Tomorrow." Hertzfeldt has been a legendary name in the independent animation scene for over two decades, inspiring a whole generation of animators - so it's no surprise that his latest work does not disappoint!
In addition to Hertzfeldt, the conversation / panel also included animator Julia Pott, who narrated the film, and film critic Elvis Mitchell who served as moderator. It was a very enlightening and funny exploration into the world of his films and his philosophies.
Seeing the evolution of his aesthetic choices, from his simple 'stick-figures-on-paper' style, to the digitally created sci-fi set pieces of World of Tomorrow 1 & 2, I'm constantly impressed at how he is able to build upon the fundamental worlds he creates, and allow the viewer to explore so many layers of subtext. His drawings are charmingly simple, and yet there is always so much story to tell, and such an emotional weight to his characters. Everything is all at once bleak, innocent, melancholy, and hilarious.
It's set to release at the end of this month, but in the meantime, there's a trailer here! And it wouldn't hurt to check out the first part, which I believe is available on Netflix. Both the original short and its sequel are a mind-bending look into the future, with themes of love, life, death, society, clones, and just about everything else in between. To summarize the plot myself would be a great disservice to what each unique viewer will take away from it on their own - so check it out and see for yourself!