The Austin Chronicle

Welcome Back, Cobra Commander

By Ashley Moreno, April 7, 2009, 11:02am, Picture in Picture

The Alamo Ritz will screen selections tomorrow from the second annual G.I. Joe Fest, a stop-motion animation festival staring G.I Joes and other similarly sized action figures. In last year’s touring selections, Snake Eyes broke his life of silence and regaled partygoers at an impromptu dance party, while in another short a hodge-podge of super heroes and Joes found new uses for their coveted kung fu grip. The films screening tomorrow are special selections and award-winning submissions from the 2008 animation festival, originally founded by Gio Toninelo of the online series Pond Patrol. The screening will also include a collection of international shorts and a special preview of Austin-based animators Paul Hanley and Kieran Healy’s upcoming feature-length animated film.

Gio Toninelo started the animation festival as a way to commemorate the conclusion of his online drama, Pond Patrol — a series of blogs, letters, and photographs cataloging the adventures of Corporal John U. Harris and his reconnaissance team, Pond Patrol Third Force Recon, as they surveyed the dangerously mutated Mulberry Ridge Pond (also known as the small turtle pond in Toninelo’s backyard.) Festival organizers are now accepting submissions in three categories (Stop-motion 3¾” Action Figures, Stop-motion 8” Action Figures, and Stop-motion 12” Action Figures) for the 3rd annual festival, the winners of which will tour in 2010. Deadline is July 20, 2009.

For those making it out to Wednesday-night screening: costumes are encouraged. And I wouldn’t worry about anyone judging you for owning an adult-sized Cobra Commander costume. You’ll be among friends.

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