The Treatment this past week talks with Jason Schwartzman, who discusses his latest project My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea, an experimental traditionally animated film about an earthquake that causes a high school to sink into the sea. Schwartzman’s character, Dash, is the type of person who believes that he is the hero of his own story (which is something that almost every protagonist believes at some point) but with the negative connotation of being completely self-absorbed ultimately pushing his friend further away. It is the type of film that will probably get a healthy independent release given the star power behind it (Lena Dunham, Reggie Watts, Maya Rudolph, and Susan Sarandon rounding out the main cast) but will hard pressed to find a mainstream release given its animation style and handling of the material.
My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea is in the same camp of animation as that of Bill Plympton in that is it weird and irreverent, knows it and does not care about people’s opinions, which is the best definition of experimental animation that could ever exist if such a definition were to ever be imposed. More films like this should be made and brought to audiences, if only to break the cycle of animation specificity that has arisen since the Disney Renaissance and the emergence of Pixar, DreamWorks, and 3D animation in general; expanding the animation market in the US to cover topics that are unsuitable for children and the traditional family market. Considering the the United States is the only country in the world that has the animation category of films locked into children’s medium in the mainstream market, this is perhaps one instance in which we can take a page from the rest of the world and give animation the recognition it deserves.
My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea comes out later this year.