Jacob Wyatt’s animation film, ‘Metro’ is a gorgeous short about a little girl and a fox and the adventures they have. What starts off as a simple tale of a young girl nervously gettting a ticket for the Metro turns into a tale of the imagination. Wyatt’s style is all about form, colour and wonderful movement. He also has a real eye for telling a story.
Jake Fried‘s beautiful hand drawn animation, ‘Sick Leave’, is a wonderful stream of consciousness that’s rendered in simple ink and white – out and oozes with talent. It’s distinctive, full of indigenous tribal imagery juxtaposed with images of contemporary life – very fast, there’s no stopping him, watch it and be amazed.
‘Constellation’ by Patrick Doan is a short film that plays tribute to Classical pianist Janina Fialkowska, recipient of the Canadian 2012 Governor General’s Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award.
The film is made up of animated sequences and set to a fusion of music from Shervin Shaeri’s ‘Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog’ and Fialkowska’s interpretation of Frédéric Chopin‘s Etude No.12 in C minor, Opus 10.
‘Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood’ aka ‘Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision’ is a BBC documentary from 1978 that has Hunter S.Thompson and the wonderful illustrator Ralph Steadman taking a road trip to Hollywood via Death Valley and Barstow from Las Vegas.
The film includes an interesting scene of John Dean chatting with Hunter about his Watergate testimony, the birth of the ‘Re-Elect Nixon Campaign’ (with a cameo appearance by Bill Murray) and a really strange moment in which HST and Steadman plan the good doctors final monument and his ashes being shot into the air. Something that actiually transpired many years later.
‘Places Other People Have Lived’ by Laura Yilmaz is a wonderful short film that uses mixed media to explore the relationship between memory and place. This is clearly an autobiographical film as Yilmaz uses old photographs, family interviews and a variety of animation techniques such as stop motion, hand drawn, pixelation and rotoscoping to deconstruct the relationships which play out in the various rooms of the house her family called home for over 25 years.
Although it begins as a personal journey it very quickly broadens out into questions about our own histories and what happens to our stories when we leave those places behind.
It’s poignant, warm, thoughtful and makes one reminise and think about our own past.
Exhale is a short film directed by Daniel Williams in which he tries to capture the final journey between life and death. Each of the four chapters in the film symbolise a separate moment of that process; a movement towards the light, the last physical kicks, an outpouring of love, a release of fear and a final acceptance.
In five minutes of abstract visual imagery Williams manages to create a cinematic epic as he experiments with the spiritual and natural forces of wind, dust and human beings. The result – a poetic mix of sci – fi and fantasy.
Dan Williams explains:
I wanted to take a big idea and try and distill it down into a series of simple and arresting images. My main aim was to create something beautiful and resonant, imagery that will linger in the mind. It’s purposefully abstract so that the audience can take what they want from it, drawing their own conclusions and interpretations. Things in life aren’t generally spelled out, and I don’t think they should be in art either. To me it’s the subjective nature of the film that is it’s real strength. When I came up with EXHALE, I was looking at Tumblr sites a lot and was struck by how much dark imagery people were putting into their blogs. Death seemed to be far from the taboo subject matter I initially felt it was, and this gave me the confidence to follow through my vision.
British animator Julia Pott‘s ‘Belly’ is a wonderful award winning animation film. It has done the festival rounds having been to Sundance, SXSW and over 50 other festivals around the World and has won awards at many of them. The film itself tells the sad, coming of age story of Oscar who experiences the necessary evil of leaving something behind but continues to carry it, feel it in the pit of his stomach.
The animation is surreal, beautifully rendered and full of yearning and melancholy. It really is quite special, unique and is a style of animation you rarely come across .
Olympic Vermin by Beakus, a London based animation studio, is a great anti – propoganda animation that pokes fun at the ‘inclusivity’ dogma that surrounds the London games. Its very funny, smart, seems to have been made on the hoof and tells the tale of vermin on the backstreets of London who get inspired to take part in Games.
‘Mountain’ is an animation film by David Prosser who made it as a response to his time in Seoul, South Korea earlier this year. The animation is based on sketchbook drawings of his observations of city life and tells the story of a day in the life of three different characters – a businessman, a cook and a gaming addict – who live in Seoul. All of whom are watched over by the ever present Mountains which ring the city.
‘VANISH’ is an experimental short film made by musician Davide Cairo and media artist Daniel Schwarz – a short journey through a surreal landscape. Unlike most films both the music and video were created in parallel with each other - the main direction of the production being defined by the artists choice of objects (they picked whatever was lying around) and the sounds they made.
Their decision to use mundane objects led them to using ice, porcelain, wood, metal and balsamic vinegar. This limitation developed into a film that fused artificial and natural landscapes, spaces that act as both the projection surface for the visuals as well as the sound material. As the musician on the project Cairo wrote a score that worked in perfect harmony with the visual aspect of the film created by Schwarz whose images were based on the visual language of the objects.
Here’s what the artists had to say about the work:
Through real-time sound analysis and a vast variety of algorithms, each sound finds its embodiment in different geometrical representations, depending on volume, pitch, note, and characteristic.
Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic film didn’t have as easy a path to success as one might expect. For a start Paramount Pictures didn’t like the film and so denied the Director a proper budget. Hitchcock had to produce the film himself which he did through his television company Shamley Productions. The budget was tight, less than $1,000,000, and costs were firmly controlled. This is why the film was shot in black and white.
When Psycho hit the cinema Hitchcock controlled the promotion. Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh didn’t partake in the usual media circus and critics weren’t given private screenings. Hitchcock also exerted control over the viewing experience of the audience. Showings of the film began on a tightly-controlled schedule in cinemas in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia and there was a strict ‘no late admission’ policy put in place. You either saw the film from the very beginning,or you didn’t see it all. Signs appeared in front of cinemas reading:
We won’t allow you to cheat yourself. You must see PSYCHO from the very beginning. Therefore, do not expect to be admitted into the theatre after the start of each performance of the picture. We say no one — and we mean no one — not even the manager’s brother, the President of the United States, or the Queen of England (God bless her)!
‘Making A Clockwork Orange’ is a documentary that goes behind the scenes of Stanley Kubrick’s classic film ’A Clockwork Orange’ which is now over 40 years old. It tells the story of what the director and his many collaborators had to do to make a classic film concerning ‘the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are rape, ultra-violence and Beethoven’. The answer lay in their attention to detail.
‘La Queue de la Souris’ by Benjamin Renner is a beautiful graphic animation film based on Aesop’s fable of The Lion and the Mouse. However, in this version Renner gives the story a bit of a twist imagining how the story might have ended had the mouse been a little more cunning, machiavelian.
I thought ‘Les Pasayges’, an animation film by Jerónimo Rocha, would be the perfect summer post seeing as everyone I know is either on holiday, planning on going on holiday or has just been on holiday. It tells the story of a group of friends who head off on holiday in a caravan of vintage vehicles. The destination? Rocha’s office. It’s light, well made and just the thing for summer.
I’ve also included the ‘making of’ video if you’re interested.
‘Happy life’ is a gorgeous animation film by Xin Sun and Yun Li who are currently based in Berlin. It tells the tale of a boy called ‘EGG’ who lays an egg from which a monster is born. The boy, terrified, throws the monster into the forest. However, the incident repeats every night which leads EGG to feels like a monster himself.
our next DIY arts festival, the Trash Culture Revue, will take place in May 2013. So if you want to create, produce, get involved, play, experiment, try stuff out, have fun, design, administrate, organise, volunteer or just come along then let me know
we provide free creative and production skills for your arts projects and events through our skills exchange so you can experiment, fail, make and play no matter who you are, where you are, what you do or when you do it