Sunday, September 22, 2013

SPECIAL FIELD REPORT: Rasch Premiere: Dogonauts - Enemy Line

Justin and Shel's opening remarks and closing Q&A were filled with wisdoms, truth, and kindnesses. No surprise there, that's their style trough and through. The nice-sized theater was filled with family, friends, and fans. Christine*! and I drove out there together and Deborah drove up from 2-hours away to attend. "Crick" (short for Christine) brought them magic homegrown tomatoes from she and Mano's garden as tribute.

The lobby was set up with spaceships, set pieces, puppets, and props from the film, crowds mingled, oogled, and awed. Christine and I stayed in town for a nice lunch together and then road tripped it on home very happy to have been there for the show.

What a wonderful Sunday event! Perfect California end-of-summer weather in sleepy, Old Town Pasadena, in a popular independent movie house, Justin and Shel Rasch screened a mini animated shorts festival. It included the World Premiere of their wonderful new release, DOGONAUTS: ENEMY LINE, as well as five other stupendous films.

Once again Justin and Shel have made their premiere about sharing the moment with supporters in thanks. It's one of the coolest things they do. The audience who could make it there in person were primed and pumped to show them how much they are loved and admired.

It wasn't about showing off a film because it's the state of their art. Often these long-term independent productions cause the makers to grow and learn so much, they no longer fully represent where they are in their film-making skills but rather, like an art piece made long ago, show where they were at the time.

Dogonauts was the most complex storytelling the Raschs had yet attempted. There were fantastic montage sequences, extended well-choreographed fight scenes, and as always with them, meaningful, important points being made through the visual tale.

All of us were glad when one of the audience members stated perfectly to Justin and Shel's faces how well they succeeded in telling their story without any dialog and within a fully realized universe they had built.

Before the main feature, the sensational shorts they screened delighted and inspired. Many of the film makers were in the hizzy as well.

FRED by Misha Klein
Wickedly killer puppet performance piece, made as a long-term independent.

Incredible directorial performance whose result compresses all the humor
and warmth ever animated into a few minutes of pure genius.

A warmly charming handmade short with excellent comedic timing.

REWARD by Mikkel Mainz Elkjaar and Kenneth Ladekjaar
An ambitious drawn animation with a magnificent message, powerfully told.

The FLINTSONES by Screen Novelties
A brilliant adaptation of Hanna-Barbera's Flintstones cartoons into handmade stop motion reality.

as well as Shel and Justin's first film, the endearing heart-string plucker, GERALD'S LAST DAY
 which should be mandatory-screening at the front desks of every animal shelter in the world. 

(*Some of you sharp readers out there may notice why I *may* have asked Christine to pose sideways to emphasize her hull being not unlike the flea ship's! YES!)


  1. Thanks for your special inside look to Justin and Shels great premiere of Dogonauts.....would have loved to be there!

  2. Awww Shelley,
    You make me blush!
    So honored to be included in the magical chronicles of Halfland!!!
    Thanks muchly for coming, and then thinking, about and THEN so beautifully and kindly writing about our big day :)


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