Bitter Films: Volume One was released in 2006, compiling everything Don directed from 1995-2005. For the first time, all the old films underwent an intense restoration process in high definition, working directly from the original 16mm and 35mm camera negatives. It was a delicate, labor-intensive job, personally supervised by Don: the film restoration team at times logged thousands of dirt and scratch removal "brush strokes" on an individual frame of a film, and the end results are fantastic. Not since their premieres have the films looked so vibrant:
Over a year in the making, the DVD is also loaded with hours of exclusive special features: new commentaries, deleted scenes, interviews, unseen early films, over 140 pages of archival material, and much more. The release was deemed "a work of art unto itself" by Aint it Cool News.
Everything will be OK (2006) and I am so proud of you (2008) underwent similar Don-supervised restorations to high definition tape for their debuts as DVD singles, and the chronological "Bitter Films archives" feature continues across those discs with over 250 more pages of deleted scenes, sketches, notes, etc.
Many years ago, Don's older cartoons and student films were only available scattered across out-of-print videotapes and DVDs from animation festivals
and short film compilers. With the exception of the DVD series from the Animation Show, these old collections were very poor quality: third party distributors usually just transferred the films from low quality video tape masters, with no involvement from us. The cartoons often looked like they were underwater.
By exclusively producing and releasing our own series of DVDs, we can kill two birds with one stone: we're able to present the titles in their best possible light with special features straight from the horse's mouth, and we're able to cut out all the middlemen and direct more funds straight into Don's next projects.
Are there any plans to release Don's work in Blu-Ray?
Though all the shorts are now archived in high definition, a Blu-Ray release is not currently on the radar. Don has been too busy with the newest films to revisit the older ones again. We've also found that the Volume 1 release in a standard Blu-Ray player looks surprisingly fantastic on even the largest HD screens we've seen. It really holds up great.
Are your DVDs compatible overseas?
We always produce all-region DVDs, which means unlike studio releases that can only function within a specific market (region 1, region 2, etc), our discs will play globally. They are standard NTSC format, so naturally please make sure your system is not limited to only PAL or SECAM.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR EXPLORING BITTER FILMS V.1
The DVD is very dense and there's quite a bit of exploring to do! A few pointers:
- To return straight to the select-a-film page from any individual film page, hit the left arrow key; this reveals a pop-up arrow that brings you back without having to exit through the main menu and sit through the transition video again.
- The Bitter Films Archives are exhaustive! Remember that all of them are divided by chronological film chapter but are also all linked together, so you can go both backwards and forwards. For instance, to view the last few pages in the "Rejected" archive without going through them all in order, you could go to the head of the "Meaning of Life" archive and navigate backwards.
- Don't worry, we didn't forget Don's special Animation Show cartoons - they're located in the special features area.
- If you notice any stuttering or out-of-synch sound in any of the menu's video transitions, your player is having minor trouble keeping up and we recommend trying the disc out in another one. These problems are rare and most likely to occur in non-dedicated DVD players, like laptops.