Saturday, December 30, 2006

N.F.B. Animation Hothouse 4- - Call for Submission(s)

Instead of picking away at the carcass of leftovers as your chins multiply into a gelatinous totem for small tribes to worship at, you should sweat some of that 'holiday cheer' off over at the Hothouse. The National Film Board's Hothouse that is and once again they are calling for visual artists and filmmakers of all kinds who have an interest in animation to submit a portfolio by January 15th! The Hothouse scheme is now in it's fourth incarnation and it's theme this year is: A Chance Encounter. Which is what most Korean animators hope for with Maral Mohammadian (sorry Maral, couldn't help it) who has just joined the Hothouse team from her smashup work with the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Here is the official blurb that she sent me:

NFB Animation Hothouse Call for Submissions: Deadline January 15, 2007

The National Film Board of Canada seeks submissions from emerging filmmakers (young and old), and artists intrigued by animation art, for the fourth edition of the Animation Hothouse. This year’s Hothouse runs from March 5 to May 25, 2007, at the Animation Studio in Montreal .

Six selected participants will direct a 30 second film, from creative inception all the way through final sound mix and video release in twelve intense weeks.

Submissions may come from across Canada and an artist’s fee will be paid.

The theme for this Hothouse is: A Chance Encounter

Please see full program and submission details here:

The Hothouse scheme is all we have here in Canada and even though I would like to see more time in both production and film length, it all hinges on the quality of talent that applies to it. I was going to rant here but instead I urge you to get the word out to all those artistic friends of yours to apply. There isn't that much time but at least try to get the old Caesar's thumbs up and out of the gluteus maximus and out into the gladitorial animation arena that is a Hothouse.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Ryan Larkin

Well if this isn't a perfect story for the holidays, I don't know what is! When I was in Montreal, I read this story on the front page of the newspaper. Congrats to Ryan Larkin! I hope this helps him finish his own project, Spare Change! Who would of figured Mtv (where you can watch the idents) to drop some coinage into the Larkin cup to give him the needed help that he so desparately didn't want or didn't seem to want. So with the exposure and success of Chris Landreth's film about him and his friendship with Laurie Gordon, this flamboyant street tatterdemalion of St. Laurent could be the come back story of the year in animation. Now if ya don't know about Ryan go and watch this and then go and get this!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

DVD Hardercore Part 2

This is the short (court metrage) buffet table of other DVD's I would like to mention for those who are interested. I know I am missing a lot of cool DVD's that have come out this year so please don't hesitate to send a little memo, via an orifice, to my lovely gerbil associate who is on a prolonged lunch break from the wheel. So grab your plate and head on up to the all-you-can-consume-before-your-top-button-explodes-to-kill-the-person-in-front-of-you smorgasborg.

••Igor Kovalyov-Milch (shown above)
••Gilles Cuvelier-Chahut
Franck Dion-The Phantom Inspector
••Paul Fierlinger-Drawn from Memory
Rosto-Mind the Gap Trilogy
••Virgil Widrich-4 Films of
••George Schwizgebel-The Painted Pictures of
••Signe Baumane-Ten Films Animated by
David Shrigley and Chris Shepherd-Who I am and What I Want
••Run Wrake-Rabbit

Compilation DVD's
British Animation Awards Vol.1-6 + Best of's
•Avoid Eye Contact Vol. 1 + 2
••Anxious Animation
Ars Electronica 2006
All of these DVD's can be found on the website (except for the RunWrake which can be found on his website.) Or buy them direct from their site where possible. I know this is the YouTube era of watching every known animated film out there but it is nice to have the actual film in your collection and to give back to the artist. Although, I don't know how much gets back to the artist??

Monday, December 11, 2006

DVD Hardcore

Well, instead of preaching from the pulped refinery of bittered holidays, I give you my list of dvd's to get for those hardcore animation fans. Don't be afraid to order these on-line instead of going to Walmart to buy them the Hollywood release. *Disclaimer: Just watch what Region these DVD's play on as some of them are PAL format and vice versa for those adventurous Europeans that frequent the big headed bunny hole.

11. Joanna Priestley--Fighting Gravity & Relative Orbits
I tried keeping all my picks to 2006 releases but I have been Jonesin' for Joanna lately and I have to give props to the ladies. You can order it right from her site. Region 2.

10.Phil Mulloy--Mondo Mulloy & Intolerance Trilogy
Who wouldn't want the Intolerance Trilogy burning a hole in their stocking?! There isn't anyone more apt to put the X in Xmas than Phil!! Heathen, you will convert to the passion of Phil after watching the Trinity of Intolerance!!

9.Frederic Back--The Man Who Planted Trees (4 DVD Box Set)
This is a nice tribute to this legendary Canadian animator! Give this one to the kids and show them the artistic beauty of animation. They'll also learn something too!

8.Paul Driessen--The Animated World of Paul Driessen in 20 films (Box Set)
Another fantastic collection being distributed by Chalet Films! This is a must have of the juggernaut of Dutch/Canadian animator Paul Driessen. Don't be a big blue meanie, get this for someone you love.

7.Yuri Norstein--Yuri Norstein and the Tale of Tales (supplementary to Claire Kitson's book)
See my post below about this iconic Russian master!

6.Oskar Fischinger--Oskar Fischinger 10 Films (CVM)
This one is brought to you from the good people at the Center for Visual Music! I was very excited about this one as I have been wanting to see the wax experiment (stratacut) technique.

5.Jiri Barta--Labyrinth of Darkness (Kino)
Kino on Video has done it again with this long awaited collection of Jiri Barta. I was very surprised and happy when I found this last month. Before this dvd, one could only get snippets of his stuff by buying compilation dvd's. Now he is all ours!

4.Suzie Templeton--Peter and the Wolf (Breakthru Films)
Well you have heard me rant and rave about this so many times now...what are you waiting for go and buy the thing! Unfortunately, it has only been released in Europe right now and I can only find to order it through But who cares if it arrives after the'll be that much of a bigger surprise.

3.Jan Svankmajer--The Ossuary and Other Tales (Kino)
Another dvd on the Czech master of animated meat! Only this time it features some his lesser known short films. Come's Svankmajer!!! Even Grandma will love it.

2.Norman McLaren--The Master's edition (NFB)
Well, if you already have the 4 disc box set of McLaren's work, give it to someone else. This is the quintessential 7 disc collection of his entire work! Nuff' said.

1.Brothers Quay--Collection from 1979-2003 (bfi)
Here is the motherload for me this year! Even though this is a European release, I pity those without a All Region player. You'll have to wait until April of next year. I will just say this about the collection...behind the scenes interviews!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Balint Zsako

It is nearing that wonderful holiday season, so it is time for me to strap on that metal mask of sunshine and flowers to help me get through thebrok enexchang e of shitmas. I admit that my crustiness alone flakes off to feed all the dead birds of xmas past. But fortunately, unlike Scrooge, who promotes conspicuous consumption in the end, I take solice in the Bahumbuggery of it all. Speaking of which, Balint Zsako, proverbially puts the 'dick' into Dickens for me and sheds some humanity onto this high-definition-gogogadget-plastic-plasma
thinly-venered smoke screen of ours. His work has itself darkened and matured in the fermented grounds over the last couple of years. I was able to see Balint's latest exhibition at S.P.I.N. gallery a couple of weeks ago and was hit in the gut at the refined rawness of his developing style. Sexuality, machines, ugliness and beauty all become the mythological world that has become Balint's own. The beautiful liquiforms of colour suspend and immerse symbols that recall the Myths of Creation that are then intermixed with the mechanisms of Man to be delicately affixed to the blank whiteness of the page. I don't know if the art speaks to my inner Magyar but Zsako's work is the ghost of past, present and future for me as I take in the 'miser'y of this Corporate holiday season. So, instead of getting crushed in the horde to get your 'surrogate parent' Boxx, do a 180 and take in some ART and culture (music, dance, visual or written). And please try to support the 'little' guys (preferably NOT the ones with money trees coming out of their arse). Local and/or Independent is the way to go.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Yuri Norstein

My friends (yo, M&M und Katie) and I sat around on Friday evening watching some Russian animation on YouTube. There is some great stuff to see, As Far as the Eye Can See (Das Brick ruleski), on the web that is now available for your vodka libations. With that, I can't mention Russian animation without exposing and sharing the Mastery of Yuri Norstein. You can see one of his masterpieces on YouTube, Igel im Nebel (Hedgehog in the Fog, 1975) but it would be better as a Holiday present if you got the full DVD retrospective of his work along with Claire Kitson's excellent book on him (my pick #1). Yuri is definately in my pantheon of animation gods and I am sure you will be able to tell why after viewing this film. So, gather around with friends and shots of vodka with slabs of bread, cheese and eggs to share good food, good company and best of all great animation!! This one is for my friend Margaret as it is her birthday today, С днем рождения!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Well, the proverbial dust has settled on the annual animation cage match that is the Bradford Animation Festival. And the winners are...staring straight into the camera is Beryl speaking for Joanna Quinn, "Hic!", she exclaimed, "Take that Eisenshhlein!". Joanna's Dreams and Desires-Family Ties, won the Grand Prix prize. The tag team dynamo of Shrigley and Shepherd also rained down their fists of furry surreal bits as Who I am and What I want won the 'Special' Jury prize and Run Wrake's Rabbit is still spitting out gold nuggets to take the Best Professional Film.
We have let these short films parade around this rabbit ring, so I want to spotlight the other winners seperately in the coming days. But, be sure to go to the festival website to check out the full list of winners. Congrats to all the animators that showed at this year's festival as there were so many great films to see and I am glad I wasn't the one to have had to pick the winners out of that crowd. Also, a big thumbs up to the festival programmers and organizers for putting on what reports to be a sold out gladitorial arena. I'll start saving my pennies now so I can afford to go to B.A.F. '07.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Igor Kovalyov

It's an Igor Kovalyov kinda day and I am having a fit that Global Tantrum seems to be permanently down so I can't watch his stuff!! Oh well, we can still pull a Flying Nansen and do eye calisthenics at Igor's site. If that isn't enough, you can pull a groin muscle over the work of Dima Malanitchev, who is the art production director for Igor. Take a look at Dima's concept designs for a movie called Bridge to Terabithia (Warner Bros. 2007). Brilliant stuff.
I wish I would of seen Igor's original art work when it came to the OIAF. Like I said, it is a Kovalyov kinda of day, filled with regret and loss.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Wicked Pixels

I just wanted to throw this Ident for Musica from Wicked Pixels studio (South Africa). One Bad Note (via YouTube) uses the music of Metallica, Enter the Sandman, and I thought it was a cool tie-in with Paul Barry's short film. Cheesy, yes, but I was trying to look up some stuff about Chuck Jones today and remembered his short called High Note. I would think that Craig Wessels (dir. of One Bad Note) has seen this cartoon and I thought how great that this idea could be updated into this day and age. But then, I thought how sad that in this day and age it is a commercial and every idea has to branded to a corporate logo. Too bad it wasn't a short film unto itself rather than just visual eye candy and humping F and G notes. Taken for what it is though, it rocks!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Paul Berry

At the B.A.F.(see post below) this year they are paying tribute to Paul Berry. Paul Berry was an amazing stop-motion animator that passed away at the tender age of 40 in 2001. Although, even at that young age he still had been in the animation field for almost 20 years. Personally, I never knew that I was exposed to Paul's work at such an early age but it was he who brought Mr. Toad to life in The Wind in the Willows. Paul worked on several movies for Cosgrove and Hall, that I haven't seen, but it was in 1992 when he made THE SANDMAN (shown above) with MacKinnon and Batty! Now, he not only got my attention but the whole world's attention. Ironically, it was seeing the Sandman that cured my blindness and fed my interest in animation. He has probably fed thousands of other peoples dreams in the art of stop-motion,too! You can now watch The Sandman on YouTube. The thing that amazes me about this film, besides the fluid gestures, is the head of the Sandman is solid (not malleable clay) yet Paul achieves such different looks of expression with lighting or just the tilt of the head or the angle of the camera. Classic!!

Toon In!

This is very cool! Tee Bosustow is producing a radio program, Toon the Masters of Animation! The signal will be sent every Sunday at 7:30am (adjust timezone watches accordingly) starting November 26th. KCLA fm will be the mothership that will beam down that signal to brainwash us all into animation zombies!!! Although if you miss that ship then you can always drag, lurch and decay your undead self to the Toon In website to eat at the brain trough at your own leisure. The initial broadcast will feature the chattering teeth of Tim Roth with future probing guests being Mark Kausler, David Evans, Joe Siracusa, Barri Leiva and many more. Thanx to Maureen Furniss at the Animation Journal for passing this on!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bradford Animation Festival '06

The Bradford Animation Festival starts today! I am such an idiot for not scrimpin' together enough coins to go to this. It has a nice selection of films this year, some of which have been highlighted on the bigheaded screen, but, I should of gone just for the special guests alone! I mean kicking off today is Joanna Quinn in conversation with Barry Purves. It doesn't get any better than this...well maybe if you threw in some Jell-o...but other than that! To top that off you have Dave Burgess next to Andreas Hykade, Chris Shephard and Marc Craste!! Eeejit I tell ya!! If Suzie Templeton would of showed up, one would have died and gone to some animation Limbo party!! Please for the love of some giant headed bunny gods (there's gotta be more than one of them...they're rabbits), if you are in Europe, jump in yer wee cars and drive hither and yon to get to this festival...and ah(buy me a shirt)em.

If I were in Toronto I would go to this...

Daniel Barrow will be performing his slide-show sideshow at the Toronto Animated Image Society tonight!! Daniel is a Winnipeg-based artist that uses an overhead projector to illuminate the not so transparent transparencies of his comic book format stories. His performance is in the same vein as Shary Boyle, who we exposed here. If you can't make it out for Daniel, there will be another masterclass and performance by Amy Lockhart this Monday, November 20th. Visit the TAIS website for all the info!!!

Also, I just want to mention that I noticed that one of my favorite NFB animators, Chris Hinton will be giving a masterclass at the Museum of Civilization on November 25th @ 10am. Check out the NFB news for the details. For a look at Chris's work, you can peer through the free hole in the fence to see Blackfly and Flux. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Fish Heads Fugue and Other Tales of Twilight

The french might have the wine and cheese but gimme some beer and chowder to go with my Fishheads Fugue and Other Tales of Twilight. This short animation was cooked up by Lauren Indovina and Lindsay Mayer-Beug at the Rhode Island School of Design. It was a highlight for me at the OIAF two years ago. It was in Program 1 on opening night and I found it scrawled in my notes for me to go and find more about it. Well, here it is for all to see! It is a piece that is set into motion by old lady puppet on a stage winding up our puppet theater to then witness the inner musings of a smaller internal puppet play. The mixture of various techniques gives texture and a nice disjointed quality that shifts and creeks it's way around the subconscious set. A child's dream? or a dark Gilliam-esque dreamscape that has no place for innocence? Either one, it is an impressive student film that sets the stage for other schools to step up to. (Thanx, No Fat Clips!)

Monday, November 13, 2006


Everyone should know by now that I am an admirer of the student films that come out of the French school, Supinfocom! If I could go back to school to learn computer animation it would be here, mind you that they have an age restriction so I would have to turn back the clock and grow back some hair! Zut Alors!! Anyway, while I work on that time machine the good folks at Fous D'Anim (well I presume they are good lil' devils) have put the needle into the 2006 groove of this year's short films. We have already let you float in zee alphabet soupe of AH! Now, dry yourself off and danse, En Tus Brazos (shown above), your way through Valenciennnes all the way to Arles! Your feet will burn up the discotheque floor and take until Saturday night fever to watch and learn the award winning steps of this bump and grind school! In just a short period of time Supinfocom has x-y and zed it's way onto the international stage and competes with the best of them in creativity and film sensibility. While you are getting down with your CG "partner"--'freaks'-- be sure to thank the good lil' devils at Fous D'anim!!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Tomek Baginski

What the...?! I was completely minding my own business when this one from Platige Image came crashing down around my feet. Tomek Baginski's CG-defying world of Fallen Art is doing it's Asphalt Tango on YouTube!! And if that wasn't enough you can also lie flat on your back and dance under the vaulted ribs of his first film, The Cathedral. Tomek is currently working on a cinematic for "The Witcher" video game. I also found this short piece here, Undo. So put on your Sunday best and lie in a fetal position to watch these films.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The 'SmallGantic' world of Bent Image Labs

A gigantic world opened up for me when I pulled back the tiny curtains of Bent Image Labs. Although FEED has beaten me to the autopsy there is still plenty of flesh for me to pick at. Starting with the morsel of a video, Harrowdown Hill, for Thom Yorke that uses 'SmallGantic' technology and shows off the pixelation wizardry of David Russo. You may have been fortunate enough to have seen David Russo's short film, Pan with Us, in last year's Animation Show. If not, check out this snippet of his first short, Populi (via AWN) for a glipse of his time-lapsed Midas touch (or maybe I should say Vulcan touch). If you are in the New York area, you have a chance to go see his latest film, I am Not Van Gogh @ the Black Maria Film Festival (MoMA), plus many other experimental investigations!! Keep your eye on the bird and guess which hand it is in.
Now that David has been sliced open and left exposed, let's turn our attention to the scalpels behind Bent Image Labs. First, let's show the medical wonders that have already made it onto the curiosity shelves of this bunny show: Pascal Campion and the Londons. The other lab mates include the moving image alchemy of Chel White, David Daniel, Kazuo Ohno, Paul Harrod, Jim Clark, Robin Willis and Lisa Yu. You can view a sample of each of their work under the 'Directors Specimen' or Option 2 on the Bent labs site. I especially liked Lisa Yu's "Vessel Wrestling" short film but check them all out. You can also see their latest commercial 'Lux' and one that I saw at this year's OIAF,! Also, see why they are regularly mentioned in respectable scientific journals here, here and especially here! So, shrink down for the cosmetic testing of Bent Image Labs. I'll even put the rocking chair by the fireplace for you. I can't go without mentioning our friend Toni Hafkenscheid too!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Avian Flu spreading...

Here is a cool video, The Owl, from Emmanuel Ho (who isn't Secretly Canadian) for the Austin band I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness (who are). The video is a taut eye strain that is stealthily brought upon us by intertwining the sound with the anxious image mixed into the veiled plot of the Owl. This is a well executed piece as tension and empathy is built up in such a short period of time with the soundscape. Be sure to check out Emmanuel's other visual experiments on his site.

Another bird themed piece is from PSYOP for an IDent for Mtv HD, Crow. I really like the vein-like explosions of the branches against the white background as it leads the viewer into the expansive pulse of the unveiled landscape. But the best segment is the swarming particle formations of the birds that flare and flit like locusts as it eats into the barren sky. I just thought the comparison of these two pieces were interesting in their emotional effectiveness, using Flash and 3d animation, respectively, in the heightened state of sound and image.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Friendly P.S.A.'s

Free Range Graphics are the people that brought about the beginning of the Meatrix and the Meatrix II: the Revolting. Now comes their newest adventure, Sam Spud and the Case of PVC. I saw this posted today and thought it would make a nice segway into a couple of other P.S.A.'s that I have seen recently.
Do tell...

This one can be seen circulating around about global warming, The Trees Are Dying. Click3X and MTV are the tentacles w'rap'ped around this public service announcement that doubles as a video for Dr. Octogon! Nice to see some outreach to the young'ins, although the 3 minutes was too much for my attention span.

And the best for last, Humans! This is STASH's Global Student Awards animation winner by the other multi-appendaged studio of Three Legged Legs. This little ditty short sings a song against over-consumption. One of my favorites of the year. Now go and buy it!! Kidding.

Bookfest and Harvey Pekar

Yes, that is right! Harvey Pekar and his wife Joyce Brabner are coming to our lil' Bookfest. They will be giving a talk at the A.G.W. on Saturday, November 4th, starting at 2pm! Be there or send yourself a Harv-e-card to explain why your sorry ass isn't there. I can't help but think that it is more than just chance afoot here: 1) Harvey resides in Cleveland--industrial city just like my own auto belching city, 2) Spent his life as menial filing clerk just like me on the factory line, 3) He is a curmudgeon just like moi (see post below). Maybe there is hope for me after all. Although I will have to befriend a sex-crazed artistic god like Robert Crumb to help bring into focus this craphole life of mine! I've gotta good start tho':) Just have to work on the voice. The talk will be in a small room so you will be able to feel his gravelly voice in your chest so come early as seats are limited.
Get your fill on all things happening in Windsor via the VOICE OF WINDSOR-SOR-OR-R!! That's as special as we get for special FX!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Windsor International Film Festival

I know what you're thinking...W.I.F.F.!(certainly an unfortunate anacronym)...but it is all ours! It is appropriate for the smog capital of Canada. Certainly, something smells when a handful of films that are pillaged out of the Toronto Festival are brought in under the guise of an 'International Film Festival'. Most cities would call that a weekly event at their local cinemas. Instead, our fair city, while rolling out the red shag carpet for the local celebs to trip over, throws loads of money and publicity at this well-intentioned shindig. I don't mean to be so negative about it...I am glad that I get to see Michel Gondry's Science of Sleep...but I get frustrated at the lack of vision from our city counselors about 'culture' and the slack-jawed response you get from them. Although, I do realise that things have to start somewhere and I give credit to the W.I.F.F. organizers for putting together some additional screenings during the year and for bringing these films to this backwater-film-distribution- limbo town of mine. Hopefully, next year we will see a local element and/or the inclusion of other local organizations added into the festival program.

Rant: Even though the festival has alot of corporate sponsors this year, they got alot of money from the City last year. This money could of been better spent bolstering existing programs or other art institutions, i.e. MediaCity, or setting up a more permanent film centre. Why can't the city and the private sector invest into long-term solutions rather than ramble on about a 'CuItural Capital'? Put your money where your mouth is!! This isn't the 'Cannes' of Canada. Fix the foundation first. There is no panacea for the cultural barrenness (like the urban sprawl eating up the farmland) that has grown like a spiralling parking-lot tower of bureaucratic babel. It is time for our city counsellor's to wake up and start smelling the roses that are already here rather than gamble away the cultural integrity of our city that has spread from a city block to an arena-sized landfill. A good start would be to let the peers of this artistic community (not just on paper) guide the way to a revitalized 'urban village'. Reminder there is the municipal elections happening soon (Nov. 13th)! Cast your vote accordingly. Until then, "You have left the American Sector"!!

If only it were an Electronic 'time machine' Theatre...

...then I would have gone to THIS in Montreal!! Click on the image to go to Emru and the lads @ FPSmagazine. They get all the fun!!!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

OpenEnded Group

This is a New Media inspirational Monday piece. When I went up to Toronto last week I got to run around the big city maze while collecting morsels of data and brainfuzz. But, it wasn't until this weekend that I got to sit down and cut OpenEnded Group from the pages of the newest Print Magazine. In it, the embassador of animation, John Canemaker, exposes a new chapter in the evolution of the persistance of vision as the form becomes self-aware. The OpenEnded Group is a collaberative between artists Paul Kaiser, Shelley Eshkar and Marc Downie. Kaiser and Eshkar have been creating "hand-drawn" 3D spaces for installation projects for dance, theatre, screen and public spaces for the last decade. While Downie came into the fold in 2001 to add artificial intelligence and real-time interfacing to the groups creative arsenal of hi-tech tools. Their works of art bring animation not only into 3D but into the Fourth dimension of Time. Take for example their piece, Biped, it is a visual discourse between dancers and motion captured 3D images, beautifully rendered as gesture drawing come to life, that float and partake in the performance like an echo. In the similar life-giving vein, Ghostcatching (shown above), which removes the physicality of the dancers but captures their afterimage and now brings it fully into and onto the virtual stage.
Enlightenment ,though, not only marks the groups advancement into 'sentient' animation but it is the title of their commisioned piece for the Lincoln's Center, Mostly Mozart Festival. This public installation uses A.I. and real-time graphics to celebrate the genius of Mozart, specifically in his Jupiter coda. Basically, the program analyzes the musical score while trying to recontruct the composition using the rules of counterpoint. Starting off one note at a time the program compares and adds or subtracts notes as it attempts to piece the composition together. As it completes each theme of the composition a visual image is generated on-screen building in complexity with the music. Here is a nice artical and interview about the piece and for the nuts and bolts go here. This 'sentient' animation logically gives birth to a whole new way of interactivity to the image. In their latest work, Playground, virtual children interact according to the viewers actions. Not only can the 'thinking' image, as John Canemaker puts it, interact with the physical presence but with it's own surrounding environment: texture, light, patterns (both physical and abstract) and most importantly time! This sets into motion a new dynamic responsive world for you and I to observe, participate, react to and affect. What we are witnessing is the virtual "Lucy" in an Open-Ended progress of becoming an active viewer instead of a passive observer.

Hold onto yer seats kiddies because the Emperor is standing in front of a green screen and has no clothes. There is substance to this illusion.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sonic Sunday: Creaking Tree String Quartet

If the 'Creativity' Blues has ya stuck down in a county dirt road rut! Like moi (if ya can't tell from the repetitive writing)...then clear some headspace and down that shot glass for a hit of some spirited sounds from the Creaking Tree String Quartet. The Toronto foursome brought their bluegrass, jazz, folk, classical and roots fusion music to a very small crowd at MacKenzie Hall last night. The ever changing tempos and time signatures slowly and quickly changed the mood from a quiet soberness to knockdown inebriation. Their influences are a mixed concoction of sounds but the style and taste is distinct and all their own. They are not 'Down' with the Mountain but excavating it and giving us a new precipice to look off of. From the opening song of Spacehead to the closing number, these guys didn't let the small turn out (lack of promotion) spoil the pot. Instead, the sound fermented as we got punch-drunk on tunes from their soon to be released third album. This is live music at it's best for me. Too bad there weren't more people there to share the experience with. I know these guys will eventually be back, so be sure to be looking through the smog as this was one gasp of fresh air that left me reeling and an improvisational cure-all for my 'creativity' blues.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Electroshock therapy: Satrapi, WFAC and AH!

Quick hits worth jolting up and saying "Ack, sputter and putang!",

Sneak peek of Marjane Satrapi's award-winning graphic novel, Persepolis, ala feature animation now. The film is to be released in N.A. in the Fall of 2007 and distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. There is a production blog by Satrapi here.
(thanx Cartoonbrew!)

The next jolt comes by way of this years Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema. Go and see the list of films offered up for your viewing comsumption. There is some great stuff this year as always. The full listings will be posted, as well as the time schedule (I presume) on Nov. 1! Mark it on your calendar and be sure to book a place to stay in advance (if you're planning to go) as I was unable to get a room close by last year at the spur of the moment.
Fimfárum 2--gotta go see it!
Michel Ocelot--modern master!

And lastly, a nice short film I saw on Motionographer last week but haven't had the time to post about it. So, here is AH!, another cool CG short from our virtual pals at Supinfocom. In this instance, nos amis sont
Simon Moreau, Joris Bacquet and Bastien Dubois. Voir le film et bon appetite! Just don't choke on the letters as they come out.
Official website.

John Keane

I can't go mentioning Pascal Campion without giving a loud furball choking soundout to my good mate John Keane who introduced me to his work. Now hailing out of Ottawa, John is working on his first professional comic gig, yeah! Though as I am writing this he may already have suffered a mass hemorrhaging from the mentalness of deadlines, booo! I am positive that you will eventually see John's name on the inside page of a Batman comic so it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to showcase him off before he becomes famous and I'll have to go to weird comic cons to see him. John puts the firecracker under me arse to start drawing so go and set fire to flame and uncork the bottle of Tittelly-poomp!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pascal Campion

I just got back from pulling all my hair, if I had any! Man, the city that I live in SUCKS when it comes to supporting the Arts!! Anyway, I am tired of thinking and talking about it so lets look at something FUN! One slap happy site to bring out that inner Mutley laugh is Pascal Campion. Just the 'Boss Animations' alone unravels the twisted knot of municipal rhetoric that I had to endure at tonights meeting. So unhinge that funny bone and admire the prodigious talent of Campion's site and be sure to juggle your way over to his blog. Nice Flash animation and cartoony characters all wrapped up in a nice colour sense.
Fishbait Kate will eat this up hook, line and sinker when I mention the initial TMBG. Now, your reading this! I shall watch 'Dream on' a few more times as should all of you and then take that dream to the streets or the office!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dupuy and Berberian in Toronto

If I can get up to Toronto this weekend this is where I will be...International Festival of Authors! This year has the French duo of Dupuy and Berberian in attendance who will be interviewed by our national comix treasure, SETH! Monday marked my first week of real life as I am indefinately laid off from my factory job. So, it is very apropos that I am reading Dupuy and Berberian's graphic novel, Get a Life. This book is an excellent primer into the indelible world of Monsieur Jean and the slice of life rumination of his 'big picture'. Which could easily be anyone's 'big picture', if you happen to live in Paris, have a publisher and kids n' stuff. C'est la Vie. Anyway, here is a bio on both of them--Philip Dupuy and Charles Berberian. Also, a truncated interview from the Comics Journal, ici. And finally, hoozah for Drawn and Quarterly for publishing these collaberators of almost 20 years to only just now land on our backwater shores. Santé.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Suzie Templeton

Finally, something to sink our teeth into!! And that is, Suzie Templeton's newest film, Peter and the Wolf! Also, my eyes got even bigger as to better see that the Polish studio Se-Ma-For was huffin' and puffin' with production on this project...(Remember Ichthys)!! Can you imagine seeing this film with a live full orchestra playing with the dense forest imagery of Prokofiev's story unfolding before your eyes!! Just from the trailer alone there is a sense of past, present and impending future that is imbued into the characters. What a great accomplishment by Breakthru films to fund this unique project and pull this out of the woods and onto the stage of the Royal Albert Hall. I don't know if this is the first for an animation to be commisioned for a musical venue as a stand alone entity and not part of a theatrical production?? But, it is a commercial hurdle I wish that could be jumped over more often.

Here is an nice article about this ambitious production with an interview with Suzie. The DVD is due out in November but you can see Suzie and the film at the Bradford Animation Festival (Nov.15-18th)!!

Once again, the mutated third eye of the British animation scene stares between the commercialism of the industry and focuses on the art of animation.
I would eat my way through a crowd of children to see this one.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fumbled abstract experiment

When the words "experimental/abstract" are uttered at an animation festival most people would rather hear metal nails scar a chalkboard while receiving a glass shard enema. At this years Ottawa International Animation Festival it was no different, but, for me it is an annual blood-letting that I sadistically look forward to every year. I am like some sort of medieval monk going for his daily leeching to purge himself of his short attention span deficit. This year wasn't short of donations from the audience, however, for me it was sort of a let down. Pes's, Game Over, was in the category and don't get me wrong I really like his work but wasn't there something more than this. Another short film was Gints Apsits's Ministry Mesiah (shown above). Again, this is a cool cloned-Aphex Twin audio driven Inquisition of the Latvian kind but isn't it just a music video? I know that music videos are the 'new experiemental', and for the most part that is true, and they too need to be represented. Granted Gints's film is not a commercial video and I do like some of the collage effects, i.e. the transition to the side profile of the head and the head slicing apart. So what's my problem? Maybe it is because I have seen this before on the 47th floor. But, wasn't _grau by Robert Seidel, that I really enjoyed last year, be considered just a music video too? I guess what it comes down to this year is subjectively there wasn't much that expunged the inner demon that is collecting all my spelling mistakes to make the anti-bunny blog. The stains of last years festival are still bloody fresh in my mind. It seems that this years contenders are just the B-side picks from last year, except for the Lightning Doodle Project (Pikapika) and Jeu by Georges Schwizgiblets...sorry Thanksgiving flashback...Schwizgebel. Who knows? I just can't put my finger on why it felt so hollow this year.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A sure sign of the impending Apocalypse...

Al Columbia actually has his website up and creeping. Now, no one has a reason to not get their arse in gear. Strap the feedbags onto the four horses and wake up the locust as the batsignal has been activated. Biological flakes for your Saturday morning.

Killoffer Burns

This is reason #676 for me to move to Montreal!! Patrice Killoffer and Charles Burns are showing their delectable black stained artwork at Madame Edgar's from Oct. 5th-19th. Aller!
I will move to Montreal...dammit! Even if I have to clone myself to lead a life of debauchery and make nasty with mutant teenagers. Ahhh to dream!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Aurélie Blard-Quintard

Now, something on a lighter note. Hopefully, you have noticed the plethora of new links to the side. I have started to add alot of links that I thought I lost but surprisingly found on an unmarked disk. There are still more to come but here is one that made my day yesterday...
Aurelie Blard-Quintard's
Emily & le hamsterosaurus-Rex!! I have a soft spot (particularly on the top of my head that still bears the thumb print of the Maker, who obviously is a stop motion animator) for clay animation. This is Aurelie's end of year film at what looks like for the University for the West of England. I love this simple story that is brought to life by her great character designs and well executed animation. With a professional polish, this lil' film is a gem. Now go check out Aurelie's blog. Also, I found this short by perusing another gem of a site...The Blackwing Diaries. So, thanx to Jenny for letting this gerbil run frantically on this squeeky blog wheel. String these pearls together and I'll be the purdiest bunny in the room.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mesa di Voce

Well, now that I have hacked up both of my lungs, I can clear my throat and look at the hollow interior that is left. The cavern that remains isn't so much a hole but a gap that separates art and animation. It is a blackness that artificially breathes and bristles with electrodes and sensors that will it into existence. The clicks of switches and the coloured diodes echo and light up the space in between. It is a unique creation that is an interactive hybrid that gives life to performer and machine in an intertwined cacophony with real-time expression. Mesa di Voce is one such installation performance piece that fills the lungs and reaches up through the vocal chords to vibrate the sound and give it visual representation. It is a canvas that uses technology (motion sensors) to capture the vocal noises and positions of the singers who in turn control the image with his/her own voice. In essence the sound becomes the brush, albeit, a brush that has been artfully crafted by the coders. It is this symbiotic relationship between these two disciplines that a sight specific, impermanent, organic and mechanized form of expression is created. It is this dynamic, ever-changing entity that is called 'new media' that breathes excitement back into the my bones. I have talked occasionally about this subject...Gregory Barsamian, Knowbotic Research, Amit Pitaru and Visual Music. Now, I have updated my links on the side and added a 'new media' category. Please explore. I want to thank George Griffin, Rose Bond, Jeff Scher, Munro Ferguson and Lorelei Pepi for their inspiration panel discussion about this topic. Thanx to Lorelei in particular for exposing the fresh air of Jaap Blonk and Joan La Barbara. Now if only site specific work could be seen at the OIAF. There is the OAG and SAW gallery in the same bloody building. It's like screaming at a mind. Don't forget to view the video clips of this performance.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Und zee vinners arrrrgh....

Well, I am sick sick sick so this is a quick post to direct you to the winners list of this year's Ottawa International Animation Festival!! Phil Mulloy took the Feature film category while Joanna Quinn took the grand prize for best independent short. Go to the OIAF website for the full list and stay tuned for my mucus filled thoughts on them. But, for now I have taken way to many cold pills and I am delusional with thougths of Hitler starring as the Designer Guys and what kind of film footage my mom would take on my wedding day...scary!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Robert Seidel

Achtung! Almost one year ago to the day I wrote about Robert Seidel's _grau. His film went on to win the best experimental animation at last years Ottawa Animation festival. So, I am pleased to inform you of his latest music video he did for the U.K. band Zero 7 feat. Jose Gonzalez called 'Futures'. So, even though the entries for the experimental category of this year's OIAF doesn't grab my attention...although I could be proven wrong can watch this organic morphing kaleidoscope of 'the Fall' of Eden and the decay of the Garden as it time-lapses in front of you. I am looking forward to seeing Robert's next project and it is good to see a band take on a more non-commercial project even though it is for a DVD extra. But, ya gotta start somewhere. (thanx, Motionographer)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Manu Larcenet

Let's see what's on the nightstand table this week: Ordinary Victories by Manu Larcenet! I don't know what it is...too much cheese and wine but the comic and animation scene in France is turning my lemons into lemonade. Hi Kev. Anyway, Manu rubs noses with the hip bande dessinee crowd and is part of the epic of Donjon with Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar. This book hooked me in with the humour by the second page and kept me enthralled with the character til the end. I love his cartoony style set against the slice of life storyline of secret pasts, self-doubt, creative freedom and the capturing of everyday life under the light of art and progress. It is something that I find myself gripped with right now...except the secret past thing but anything could happen. Well, I am going to go off and play some video games and ...well you have to read the book for the next part:) Also, visit his blog!! Cool doodles and notes about the seedy underbelly of the french comic world. Filled with snails but in france that is considered yummy!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Chris Shepherd and David Shrigley

Well, here we are and it isn't a Sunday! The bunnyhole is back and open for business with lots of pleasure as the genetically modified golden carrot of factory life is quickly coming to end. Now, the scary ride of real life is clammering up that fateful hill as I look down on Who I am and What I Want! Which segway's nicely into the countdown to the OIAF 06...if you are not going then the hand of Chris Robinson will pluck yer head right off (see above). Well actually no...but his scientists are working on it. Be warned!! Not only am I just a wannabe pimp but Chris beats me to the proverbial punch of showing off the best shiners of independent animation...which leads us to Chris Shepherd and David Shrigley. Here is his left hook review here. The wonder twin power of this dynamic duo is activated by muttering slurs in a dark alley. My first exposure to Chris Shepherd's work was with his film, Dad's Dead. This live-action augmented world where animation heightens the emotional tension of angst and misguided youth was like that first drag of a cigarette in the back of the portables. Pass the dark meat, please. Mix this with the raw art of David Shrigley and you get a new orifice openning up and decapitated heads (no really, see above). You may know David's work from the video he did for Blur which was animated by Shynola. Even though some may NOT like his art because of its crudeness and 'my kid could do that' mentality it nevertheless touches on some raw nerve. In comics, it would be akin to Jeffrey Brown's work. Art isn't pur-dee all the time. It is ugly and crude and sometimes not even about the picture. I talked about it here. Anyway, Who I am and What I Want is a must see for me at the festival. So, put mortar and pestle together for this crudite of animation delights. Why does it always come back to sex and food? C'est la Vie!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sonic Sunday: Bell X1

I know it seems that this has become a sonic sunday kinda habit but my computer is down yet again and I only get a chance to access this digital soapbox every week. I promise the animation will go off like a furball violently dislodging from yer throat as soon as I get my computer up and running again. But for now, I offer up a cool graphics company called SSSR who has done a bang up job on a band I have been following ever since I saw them perform at Eamonn Doran's in Temple Bar way back in the day. The band then was Juniper but now with some shedding they are Bell X1 and I am happy to say that they sound cooler than ever! Damien who? It is great to see they are getting a hip animation house to create the visuals to their sound. SSSR nicely combines different visual styles and 'Rocky took a Lover' is a good example of this. It is a great look to a song that has been stuck in me head for the last couple of weeks now. I have had the pleasure of hanging out with David Geraghty from the band and it is good to see that he is still going at it.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sonic Sunday: Teach Yourself Piano

Well, last night we were treated to the all-you-can-eat music buffet of Teach Yourself Piano. Not only can you siddle on up to the heaping portions of sweet and sour songs on there freshly minted CD Sweet Waltz, Bitter Waltz but you can listen to bite sized samples on their tasty new website. The house was full but appetites were growling for the main event that was their CD release party. They did not fail to deliver. Sarah's vocals sound better and better every time I hear her and the kick off was spiced up so hot with musical guests that it added that extra tear to that slow pot now set on boil. And even though I have been on a steady diet of T.Y.P. they served up each song with newness and mixed in some surprises. Kevin's instrumental compositions showed off his seasoned musical chops and were one of the highlights of the night for me. But the best was when everyone got on stage and played 'Fabulous' and the hall shrank down to the Atkinson's living room for one of their infamous parties. There would be so much good food and people would just jam away as everyone added in their sound. I guess that is why I associated food with their music. Boil everything down and their music is my comfort food that are good friends and good times. I know I weigh in heavy on the bias scale but it works for Cheney and Haliburton. So sit back in that big Armchair and let that pant botton out as we sing karaoke after filling our faces at the International House of Atkinson.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

David B.

Just a quick post today as the nervous tick of "getthehelloutsidecuzitssonice" is biting me hairy arse. I thought I would start sharing some of the good books I am reading whilst hanging out on the patio and sipping my Mojito. David B. has been the recent cat in my head chasing that gerbil on the wheel. Babel is the spin-off series from his award winning book Epileptic (buy it now if ya don't have it). The story still revolves around his relationship with his brother and his ailment but now the story wheel squeaks to the rhythm of myth, history and dreams. The larger 'Ignatz' format combined with the dual black and red tone printing fits perfectly now into the series fold. David's storytelling along with his bold graphic style against the red backgrounds show his command of the sequential language as he stands atop this tower of Babel. Here is an excerpt interview with him from the recent Comics Journal and an article from the one and only Bart Beaty from the Comics Reporter. Also, don't forget to check out David's stuff in the MOME anthology!! Great stoof or I should say C'est Bon huh huh huh!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sonic Sunday on a Tuesday: Tom Waits

Let it be known that this Mule variation is just me as an ignorant ass getting kicked in the throat by the one and only Tom Waits. I know, I know that everyone in the world is a fan of his and that my slow uptake is met with the same old whiskey drenched adjectives and gravel laden lyrics that meander deep into the backwoods. But, I just saw him in concert and I thought it would be interesting to see if there was any animation that captured his scarecrow-like gestures and that distinctive sabulous voice that rumbles and rasps through the cracks of that (wind)pipe. Unfortunately, there is hardly any. The only one that does the trick is this animation by John Lamb and Bruce Lyon in the late 1970's (shown above). "Tom Waits for No One" (via YouTube or download here) is a rotoscoped video that won an Academy award for scientific and technical achievement for Lamb and Lyon. HERE is an excellent write-up and interview with John Lamb about the video and the process. Other than that there is nothing that comes close to harnessing the dark energy of that vocal creation.
However, Tom has composed music for some animated feature films (which will remain ogreless) and a short film by Chris Wedge, Bunny. You can watch it here in it's entirety!! Also, he composed music for that disturbing film about everyone's favorite outside artist, Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal.

Distinctive and untamed is the voice that remains to be Tom Waits but his lyrics and his music will inpire and drown the dreams many. Enjoy.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Global Student Awards

Here I am peeking from behind the operating room curtain watching all the people in the viewing gallery leave from this botched experiment. But, don't fret as I am still picking at the scab of art and animation and I am working on a new format for this soapbox of mine.
So, here is a few trix to keep you bunnies occupied until the smoke clears. Stash magazine sponsors the annual Global Student Animation awards (last years post). I am not sure if the voting is still on but go and watch the finalists work in the categories of animation, motion design and vfx. Lots of nice student work here to while away these hot summer days.

Pick up those scissors and run don't walk along this biased line of independent animation.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ottawa International Animation Festival '06

Well, all the souls have been weighed in and sorted! So, without much further ado, HERE are the sacrificial films showing at this years Ottawa International Animation Festival to help celebrate their infernal 30 years of sinful pleasures. Fire up the projector and get ready for the visual gluttony that has all the major players cooking. From the likes of George Griffin, Mati Kutt, Theodore Ushev, Priit Tender, Joanna Quinn, Andreas Hykade, Jonas Odell and Ulo Pikkov (and many more) will serve it up cold and raw. I can't wait to slide down in the hot seat of the blackened theater to be force fed these delectable morsels while demons play Oscar Peterson music tattooed on my arse. Fun for the entire family indeed!! Don't forget to download the podcasts now available.