The North Bend Film Festival runs through July 18. Online ticketing is available, but is geo-locked to residents of Washington, Oregon or Idaho. In the future, these movies may be available through alternate venues—stay tuned to this website for updates.
Cryptozoo (dir. Dash Shaw) – Of all the films available for online access at North Bend, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea spreads his wings here with an equally absurd and fantastical, but decidedly more R-rated, take on “cryptids” (which in this case means mythological characters like gorgons, unicorns and Pegasuses more than modern legends like Bigfoot and Nessie). Set in the late 1960s, the premise is that these mutations really exist and are traded on the black market, with poorer collectors settling for alkonost feathers, while the ultra-rich enslave the critters themselves. Lauren is an agent who rescues cyptids from their captors and brings them to live at a special zoo/sanctuary run by her wealthy patron Joan. Meanwhile, the U.S. army is also in the cryptid-capturing biz, hoping to weaponize the creatures—especially the dream-eating baku (a creature also referenced Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer), an entity with whom Lauren has a special connection.‘s Cryptozoo was the one that most caught my attention as a connoisseur of weird cinema. The animator/writer/director of
I hinted that Cryptozoo is more “adult” than High School, a fact that’s immediately apparent from the pre-title sequence, which includes both full-frontal nudity and unexpected unicorn violence. Human and cryptid players alike will spend much of the third act covered in blood. Shaw’s handmade, hand-animated style is like a series of graphic novel panels strung together, making for a choppy viewing experience that may alienate those accustomed to slick, big-budget Hollywood animation. But the compositions are eminently artistic: a sky full of new constellations, a golden-hued grazing unicorn, a naked woman standing in front of a will-o’-the-wisp light show. There isn’t one big psychedelic sequence like High School‘s drowning, but miniature hallucinations are scattered throughout, like a pink fetal head flopping out of a purple and green egg . There’s even a throwaway dream of storming the capital (only this time, the rioters are hippies bringing in an egalitarian utopia). The well-researched creature designs are fascinating, and you can expect to see most of your favorites (especially if you’re into Greek mythology), as well as many unfamiliar ones. Cryptozoo also features a top-notch collection of voiceover talent (Lake Bell,, , —but it’s the artwork that dazzles here. Cryptozoo already has a distributor and should be released to theaters later this year—if you’re a fan of trippy animation, you should check it out.
Code Name: Nagasaki (dir. Fredrik Hana, by Fredrik Hana and Marius Continue reading NORTH BEND FILM FESTIVAL 2021 FEATURES PART 2: FOUR MORE