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<i>Window Pains</i> and the blue screen of death

PAUL ALLEN Tillery’s animated short only lasts five minutes, but anyone who’s dealt with major computer problems knows even five minutes can feel like a lifetime.

Window Pains uses cartoonish exaggeration to detail the absurdity involved in even the most pedestrian attempt to get help with your ailing PC. It screens Mon. Oct. 27 at 11:30 a.m. at the Lucas Theatre and Fri. Oct. 31 at 9:30 a.m. at the Trustees Theatre.

We spoke to Paul last week.

Tell us about Window Pains.

Paul Allen Tillery: A balding old short man is working on his computer, it breaks, and the film is just him trying to fix it – trying on his own, trying customer service, and getting frustrated every step of the way.

So is it a comedy or a tragedy?

Paul Allen Tillery: A little bit of both (laughs). It doesn’t work out well for him, but the audience is supposed to laugh.

What about this lends itself to animation in particular?

Paul Allen Tillery: It could work for live action, but there are some things with animation that wouldn’t be possible with live action. I had complete control over how character looks — he’s very cartoony and not realistic in proportion at all. Also the film is dialogue driven but it’s not really English, it’s kind of gibberish – I wanted conceptual contrast where you can’t understand the words the characters are saying, but it’s relatable and you know exactly what’s going on at all points. That works better with animation than with actors.

Is this your first festival?

Paul Allen Tillery: It’s the first festival I heard back from that I’ve been accepted to, so in my mind it’s still the first. But I’ve actually heard back from other festivals since then that accepted my film. One was at the end of September and another was just a couple of days ago. But they’re really too far away for me to visit, and the Savannah one will be the first I come in for.

Where do you take things from here?

Paul Allen Tillery: Part of me thinks the character could work well in advertising. He lends himself to getting frustrated with the competitors’ products. I’m not really sure – of course I don’t want to be a sellout – but I really just want to have fun with the character.

Eventually I want to be a teacher at an institution like SCAD, in computer animation because I enjoy it so much. Right now I just need some industry experience and I’m not trying to be too specific about what exactly I’ll be doing to get that experience. cs