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Since showing his debut feature We Are The Strange at Sundance last January, M dot Strange has become the poster boy for DIY filmmaking as he’s warded off all main stream avenues for theatrical distribution, concentrating instead on festival screenings, grassroots programs like MobMov (mobile movie drive-ins) and now a comprehensive 2-disc DVD package that is a must have for low-budget animators and filmmakers alike.

It’s hard to describe the film other than to say it’s really experimental. (surprised?) All I know is the two main characters really want ice cream. But what makes this film great is that it is so out there. I like how Variety reviewer John Anderson puts it:

We Are The Strange… is a Freudian/spiritual/psycho-dramatic and high-tech catalog of visual imagery through the ages, as well as a plummet into the bramble patch of Strange’s soul.”

Only half way through do you really grasp the plot, but from start to finish the stunning images (a mixture of stop-motion animation and 8-bit graphics), video game qualities and score, created by 8bitpeoples, is what keeps you sucked in.

Accompanying the film is a plethora of features that helps us better understand the Str8nime world (Strange+8 bit+Anime). Along with a commentary by M dot and producer/illustrator Sean Boyles, there’s deleted scenes, alternative soundtracks to the film and a director’s cut all on disc one. Then the second disc is where the fun starts. There’s a making of section that gives away all the “secrets” to how the film was made: how M dot created the characters (some of the stories he tells are hilarious), a tour of the stop motion studio (aka, his bedroom), and what I found most interesting, a tour of his desktop, where he shows how he rendered the animation, storyboards, editing and a lot more. Disc two also includes a recap of his festival tour and some of M dot’s animated works pre-WATS.

This is obviously a way for M dot to expand his talents to a wider audience (and make a buck), but he also takes the time to create a useful tool for other artists to learn from.

Released through Ryko and filmbaby.com, the SRP is $19.99.


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