As with Secrecy, it's as much how the story is told as the story itself that makes the film stand out. There is as much artistry in the filmmaking as in the art it depicts. Shilo, the company that made that kick-ass Blackjack commercial, brings some of his father's drawings to life. He also shoots in 35mm and video, rendering a collage-like effect that mimics his father's mixed media work.
Zager the youngest was on hand to talk about his film, pointing out that the film took directions he never expected (much as it does the audience) and that it wasn't until Keiko Deguchi, who co-edited the film, came on board and brought the mother's perspective into sharper focus that the film really took shape.
Along with Secrecy, this is probably the best film I've seen at the fest, and I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up on the Academy short list for Best Doc.
Vexille is a futuristic anime flick I've had my eye on ever since I heard the premise: a strike force infiltrates a Japan that's been off the radar for 10 years while it develops android technology banned by the rest of the world. What they find is really cool from a story perspective, but lamely executed from a nuts-and-bolts screenplay perspective. This is the kind of movie where, when people die, their names are screamed really loud by the main character. There are a few kick-ass action sequences and some memorable visuals (e.g. giant worms made out of scrap metal whirlpools), but that's about it.
Didn't quite make the closing night film, so this will be my farewell and adieu to the 2008 Philadelphia Film Festival.