Intergalactic Who's Who: The El Huge-O Maximus

Calgary, 2010, 1:30, Dir: Kevin D.A. Kurytnik & Carol Beecher

Canadians of a certain age fondly (or not) remember the informative Hinterland Who’s Who TV commercials that are the inspiration for the ongoing outer space parody that is Kevin D.A. Kurytnik and Carol Beecher’s consistently entertaining and well-made Intergalactic Who’s Who series. A fixture of Prairie Tales programs for the past four years, the IGWW focuses on the flora and fauna of another planet, distant and harsh, known as Zig 5 - a world that’s populated by fantastical creatures who are generally either very, very fierce or very, very frightened. It’s always tempting to see Kurytnik and Beecher’s creations as allegorical in some way and The El Huge-O Maximus is no different, but as usual the piece is just as much fun taken straight up without interpretation.

Kevin D.A. Kurytnik & Carol Beecher

Kevin D.A. Kurytnik has been creating eccentric worlds in his head since he was a youngster trying to alleviate boredom while driving a combine on the family farm. When he entered the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD), the inhabitants of those worlds spilled out onto paper and then, in a steadfast migration that has so far lasted twenty years, spread to animated film and video. Unsure if she was going to become a theatre technician or an animator, Carol Beecher figured either way she’d have to be an artist. So she too went to ACAD, where she and Kurytnik met, and since then Beecher’s been wrangling most of his creatures with her pencil. In 2004 they released Mr. Reaper’s Really Bad Morning, an epic, animated short film they made together. Currently the brain and the pencil are exploding with creatures from the planet Zig 5 for their Intergalactic Who’s Who series. Beecher and Kurytnik also teach Animation in the Visual Communications and Design department at ACAD. Their animation studio is called Fifteen Pound Pink Productions because that’s how much their cat weighed.