AND Festival – Films

mary-and-maxThe main focus of the Abandon Normal Devices Festival is film. It is, after all, the festival of New Cinema and Digital Culture.

We don’t often go to the Cinema, even struggling to use up our free ticket allocation that FACT membership entitles us to.

But we did manage to see a few during the festival and Mary and Max was the highlight for me. Its a brilliant feature length stop-motion animation by Adam Elliot who won an Oscar for Harvie Krumpet. Its funny, dark humour, poignant and beautifully executed. For some reason it doesn’t seem to be on general release but if you get a chance to see it then do.

Spanning 20 years and 2 continents, MARY AND MAX tells of a pen-pal relationship between two very different people: Mary Dinkle a chubby, lonely 8-year-old living in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia; and Max Horovitz a severely obese, 44-year-old Jewish man with Asperger’s Syndrome living in the
chaos of New York City.  It takes us on a journey that explores friendship, autism, taxidermy, psychiatry, alcoholism, where babies come from, obesity, kleptomania, sexual differences, trust, copulating dogs, religious differences, agoraphobia and many more of life’s surprises.

We also saw ‘Action Diana‘. In fact, we both appeared in it briefly along with a few hundred other local non-actors so I was surprised there weren’t more of the participants at the viewing.

It was interesting as although The Centre of Attention recreated the scenes form an original film, I still have no idea what it was about. It was more a series of sketches shot in unusual ways. Sometimes the film was over-exposed or over-saturated and the part-time actors clearly unaware of the whole plot. Quite an experiment and very much abandoning normal devices.


The AND Festival finished in party atmosphere on Sunday, so appropriate then that the final event was a screening at the Philharmonic Hall of ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties‘.  Maybe if I was younger I’d go to the actual event one year but now I’m happy enough to see clips on the big screen.

All Tomorrow’s Parties is a groundbreaking music festival that has taken place in an out of season holiday camp for the past ten years, with an innovative mix of live bands, chalet camping and crazy golf. A collaboration between innovative digital filmmaker Jonathan Caouette (Tarnation) and the campers themselves, this collage film uses footage shot by fans and musicians, sewn together into an energetic paean to a festival that truly rocks. Includes performances by Belle and Sebastian, Grinderman, Portishead and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.