This review was originally published last October when the movie screened at the New York Film Festival. It opens today in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto; it will expand to additional cities over the coming weeks. For more information on the film’s expansion schedule, please see Dash Shaw’s tumblr.
Over the past several years, Dash Shaw has earned widespread acclaim through writing and illustrating of graphic novels such as 2014’s Doctors. This year he unveiled a new type of project: his first feature length film, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea. Shaw’s animated movie premiered last month at the Toronto Film Festival before appearing this week at the New York Film Festival. My Entire High School is a thrilling, poignant movie, which demonstrates that Shaw’s skills stretches beyond the printed page.
Film by its nature is a collaborative process. When a movie is successful, it is the result of a variety of talented individuals blending their skills into a final product. At the same time, some filmmakers leave behind more prominent fingerprints than others. Most fans would be hard pressed to distinguish the characteristics of an Andrew Stanton directed Pixar film from a Peter Docter one. This is not a slight on the quality of their movies, which is quite high, but an observation about style. Meanwhile, other recent animated films such as Frankenweenie and Anomalisa are instantly recognizable as the products of Tim Burton and Charlie Kaufman’s idiosyncratic imaginations. Shaw’s My Entire High School fits into this second category. As with Frankenweenie or Anomalisa, My Entire High School is a visually striking, emotionally resonant experience. To watch it is to become fully immersed in the distinct vision of its creator.
Just when it seemed comic creator Dash Shaw’s debut film might disappear into cinematic limbo, Gkids comes to the rescue. Shaw’s animated film, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea, made the rounds of the fall film festival circuit earlier this year, garnering plenty of rave reviews along the way (read Cosmo’s from the New York Film Festival here). However, while other acclaimed films got snapped up, Shaw’s remained unclaimed. Just this past week, the movie site Indiewire included it on their list of best films of 2016 without distribution. Thanks to Gkids, at least one entry can be scratched off that list.
Gkids is a company that specializes in releasing both independent and foreign animated films. Past releases include such stellar features as Sita Sings the Blues, Chico & Rita, Ernest & Celestine, and Up from Poppy Hill. Several of their movies have been nominated for Oscars. They also own the rights to Studio Ghibli’s back catalogue. So, My Entire High School is in very good company.
Gkids is planning a spring 2017 release. For more info see Deadline.
Acclaimed comics author/artist Dash Shaw (Doctors, Bottomless Belly Button & New School) has now made an animated feature film. The wonderfully titled My Entire High School Sinks into the Sea will receive its US Premiere at the prestigious New York Film Festival. In addition, instead of being relegated to a sidebar, it will screen as part of the Main Slate, alongside new films from the likes of Jim Jarmusch, Pedro Almodovar, Ava DuVernay & Kelly Reichardt.
The official Film Festival synopsis follows: