Bob's Birthday was co-written and directed by David Fine and Alison Snowden, it is an amusing look at modern life (as relevant today as it was then) and how the best laid plans can go horribly wrong. It is dentist Bob's 40th birthday and his wife has organised a surprise party. Unfortunately, the depressed Bob loses his pants as soon as he comes in and continues to say the wrong things while his party-guests are hiding and waiting to shout 'surprise'.
Joan Gratz is an artist and animator who pioneered the technique of claypainting - working with bits of clay she blends colors and etches fine lines to create a seamless flow of images. Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase is a dazzling example as famous paintings from history blend into each other in a seemless journey through art. It must have taken a lot of time and skill to create this masterpiece! Gratz still animates and often sits on the judging panels for animation festivals.
Those old enough will remember that Nick Park, the British animator who brought us Wallace & Gromit, first brought us his stop-motion clay animations in the form of Creature Comforts, which won the Best Short Animation Oscar in 1991 (it seems it took the Academy a year or two watch it). Creature Comforts is an often very amusing and thought-provoking take on zoos and what animals might say if they could talk and were given the opportunity to comment.
One of those great short films that explore human nature, Balance is a classic Oscar winning animation from brothers Cristoph and Wolfgang Lauenstein. Five men are on a pivoting platform that requires they move in unison to remain in balance. However, when one of them brings up a chest from the unseen mist below it becomes apparent that, should they wish to, any one of them can slide the chest towards them and force the others to move.