Thursday, March 30, 2006

Something in the Wine Part III

Well this is only my third glass and I am already besotted and waking up like the cheap date I am next to the French animation scene. I mentioned Overtime (Dirs. Oury Atlan, Thibaut Berland & Damien Ferrié 2004) before. Now, here it is for you to lament over. Nuff said.
Gimme another Sam!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Frames per Second flips for Phil Mulloy

Let's get caught up on some important things here! First, great stuff at FPS magazine for scoring an interview with Phil Mulloy (he had a retrospective of his work in Quebec and Montreal) and they have broadcasted it on the Podcast speakers for all the students to listen to!!! Also, there is nice video clips to boot. One of Phil's earlier films, Give Us This Day (1982), will be shown at the London Socialist Film Co-op (hey Michael) on April 9th. So if you find yourself wandering the streets of go:) It is great to see another spotlight pointing at this escapee of cinema. Underground animators get so little attention but it looks like this year belongs to Phil as his films are being shown around the world with the recognition that they deserve.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Big Snit

Lately, I have been feeling a growing numbness with animation. This is about the fourth time I am trying to write this post. I have been struggling to look for the high point words in the line of eeee's before me. It is like I am trying to make some sort of sound that audibly hurts when heard. But unfortunately, I keep on hitting the snooze button too many times.
This enigma when sawed in half is a search for Richard Condie. Despite the shaking of my eyes at the animation industry growing more irritating daily, I found some sort of happiness amongst this 'trademarked nuclear war(tm)' of commercial proportions. A calm in the bulging eyecandy fx storm, if you will, that has brought a zen like peace to my mind. Yesterday, we were having dinner at a friends house when someone asked 'what is Richard Condie up to?, then all of a sudden people started launching into their favorite part of the Big Snit and Getting Started. Here were young and old alike pantomiming the pantomimed hilarity of these classic short films. Seeing people laughing and reciting lines was like a rush of blood to the numbness of my phantom animation limb. The Big Snit was a huge influence on me and my spasmatic relationship with animation. Richard Condie gives that pins and needles sensation and reminds me of what animation is about. Humour, poignancy and human imperfections that makes the Big Snit memorable 20 friggin' years later! His career spans 30 years as an independent animator and his other films warrant merit also but it is because of the Big Snit that I am still biting at the t.v. cord! Where are you Richard Condie? Thank you for your films and those great off-screen sound effects. Now I will shut up and eat my Carrost:)


Well, thanx to Fishbaitkate for unsticking me out of this lethargic goo. She sends in this link of John Casey. When all layers of the skin are pulled back to expose the hidden creatures underneath...there it is captured in Bunnywax for all to see. John's sculptures remind me of Scott Radke's puppets on the more manical side and his drawings have a feel of Renee French's work. His characters seem to emerge out of the natural material (eg. basswood) and then sealed into unnatural existence by the acrylic and paint on it. So, put the latex gloves on and sink your fingers into the knotted holes and pull out a clump of Bunnywax. Mmmmmm.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Sigur Rós imagination

Okay, I will admit that I have been stuck in some ennui left on the winterblahs floor. So I thought I would just sleep until summer comes and listen to Sigur Ros on permanent repeat. Fortunately, they have some dreamy looking videos to entertain as you are stuck in their fairie ring of eternal song. The latest that I have seen is a short film called Umb and it is set to their song Flugufrelsarinn. It was done by Liron Damir for his final graduate project at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. The look and feel of the video captures the ethereal and hypnotic sound and transports the viewer into a realm of melancholic reverie. It is akin to Marc Craste's video for Mum crossed with Philip Hunt's short film Ah Pook is here! Nice work, Liron!
Put the headphones on, put your feet up and get swallowed into the realm of Sigur Ros.
As for Fishbaitkate and Kiwi who just bought tix without me than void the above! Backstabbers:)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Chris Landreth in Toronto

Well, this is the 200th slice of the hydrocephalicbunny pie and what a better way to celebrate than to talk about Chris Landreth. The fantasmosite FPS (go daily and give them your money!) has posted that Oscar winner, Chris Landreth will be talking at the University of Toronto tomorrow (March 23). But don't fret if you can't go as there is going to be a live webcast here: follow the "Looking for a live webcast from KMDI?" and the scheduled panel discussion for Dissolving Boundaries with Chris and crew. I was fortunate enough to attend a masterclass with Chris Landreth before the glory of his Oscar title. It was a slice 'em and dice 'em look into the creation of RYAN. Chris talked about how he had to retrain the animators at Seneca college not to animate pose to pose but to take a more natural anatomical line of action. That is, he showed classic movie clips where the characters dialogue would not be analogous to their body language. He also talked about very technical aspects about modelling the face more according to facial muscle movement and the ways of rigging a character. So, if you can take the time to go and see him I highly recommend it! Here is a good interview with Chris via AnimationTrip. Here is to another 200 posts and getting that outta jail card early:) Oh and I wanted to mention that the Dissolving Boundaries talks include Gunther Von Hagen's Body Wold's exhibit, which I think is a great juxtapose to Chris's film.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Neko Case + Julie Morstad

Well, for the roadtrip up to Toronto last week I bought myself Neko Case's new album, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. I have been a fan of hers since Furnace Room Lullaby and seeing her live at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor. This new album was flat on listening to it for the first time but with each listen it has grown more and more on me like smooth finger-like branches on my back. Even though I miss the quirky sinister lyrics on this more straight-ahead kinda album there is no arguing that Neko can lay down the vocals that'll make you purr like a cat. The added bonus on this album is the cover art and some inside art by Vancouver artist, Julie Morstad. Upon reading her bio I found out that she also dabbles in animation and that I saw her short film, Chuckwill's Widow, at the Ottawa Student animation festival in 2003. Her illustration style is like Edward Gorey meets the Royal Art Lodge. Disturbing, odd and fun work all wrapped up in a nice delicate style. Julie has done work with Paul Morstad who is a cool independent animator in Montreal. I don't know their relation to one another but it is a nice link anyway!! So listen to the Fox Confessor and bring on the visual flood of Julie and Paul!
p.s. Neko is a sweet visual artist also.
UPDATE: Check out Paul Morstad's website that Leesa so obviously pointed out to me! D'OH!

Cartoon Saloonin'

Phew! I guess I am really losing my touch when I am finding out about Cartoon Saloon's, Book of Kells plog on other boards. Sorry, for not staying in touch Barry. Me mate, Barry Reynolds is the lead character designer on this film and a fine pewl player. I am so glad that these guys have gotten this project off the ground! Check out this studio and see one of the reasons why Irish animation is going to become a potent shot of potcheen that'll knock ya arse over noggin'. Gobsmacked design for the entire inbred family!!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Ann Arbor Film Festival

Well, I am back from the big-headed city of Toronto. Saw alot of cool stuff and spent way to much money...on parking!! Anyway, I just want to plug yer attention into the high voltage socket of the Ann Arbor Film Festival. They have updated their website with a short synopsis on each film and all the added events that are happening. I will highlight some of the films that will be showing there starting Monday. But for now, I must lie down again as the leprechauns are still step dancing on me cranial attic floor.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sonia Bridge

Sorry for the lack of posts lately but I am preoccupied with everyday shananigans. Blarh!
Anyway, here is an oldie but goodie I had sitting in my folder...Sonia Bridge. Her 'Post Mark Lick' is a shortfilm that you want to write home about. It is kind of ironic that my 'new' computer died and I have had to go back to my old stand-by to keep the digital umbilical cord attached that I have been reconnected to some older films that I had bookmarked from years past. I can't remember if I saw this in an Royal College of Art demo reel or on it's own. Nevertheless, I was struck by it's saturated colours and collage effects that are all done the old fashioned way of celluloid manipulation (no CG here). Just the alchemical process of film and the projection of light that transforms this simple object into the greater sum of it's parts. A shout out to a fellow Canadian and just wondering what she is up to now?? On that note or I should say mark...I am going to Toronto to take in the newest Quay film, so, I will catch up with things on Friday.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

R.I.P. Walerian Borowczyk

I realize this is a little late in posting but I just want to point attention to the passing of Walerian Borowczyk. I will admit that my encounters with Boro has only come in by way of reading about him and not from seeing his films. But, with that said, anyone that can claim to be the precursor/influence on the likes of Jan Lenica, Jan Svankmajer, Brothers Quay and Terry Gilliam is okay in my books. Here is the article/obit from the NYTimes. Look him up and dig at the mind of this surreal film maker. His films Renaissance (pic above) and the Theatre of Mister and Mrs Kabal are recognized as modern masterpieces of animation. Hopefully, with his passing there will be some exposure and more viewings of his films.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


So now, we focus on one of the big winners of the British Animation Awards...Runwrake! He won Best ShortFilm and Best Film at the Cutting Edge. I don't know how I haven't mentioned him before but nevertheless here he is and his film RABBIT! Nice cut-out style animation that looks like old school book illustrations brought to life in his unique off-kiltered way. You can view a snippet of this short on his site or view images on the ANIMATE! site, the great purveyeurs and supporters of u.k. animation. Also, there is a limited free download from Lovefilm, although I couldn't get it to work (maybe only available to the U.K.?) If you can get it there is some great stuff on there including Fallen Art by Tomek Baginski. So, through the Animate! site there is a nice link to an interview with Runwrake and Osbert Parker (Film Noir) on Ideasfactory. Check out Runwrake's short film, videos and illustrations too. Congrats!

British Animation Awards

Well this years winners of the British Animation Awards are in
and the top honour for Best Feature goes to Corpse Bride!!
The luster of the bow-tied Oscar quickly faded for Aardman's Tale of the Werebunny. Other winners include:
Best short film: Rabbit, Runwrake
Most cutting edge film: Rabbit, Runwrake
Best comedy: Bromwell High
Best TV special: Angry Kid, Aardman
Favourite music video: Gorillaz
Best Student Film: Astronauts, Matthew Walker
People's Choice (tied): City Paradise, Gaelle Denis and Who I Am And What I Want, David Shrigley & Chris Shepherd.
This is not the full list but I am sure that will be posted up on the B.A.A. website shortly.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Jonas Odell

"Aldrig som första gången!", pardon my Swedish! No it isn't an obsenity it is the new award winning short by Jonas Odell. "Never Like the First Time!" won the Golden Bear at this years Berlin International Film Festival. Jonas is co-founder and director for Filmtechnarna which has been the 'IT' studio for eye-popping music videos. His video for Franz Ferdinand really catapulted Jonas onto the world stage and I was worried that the production of his own films would be put to the wayside. So, it is good to see him still doing his thing. You can view all of his short films on the Filmtechnarna site but the one that turns my head inside-out and back again is Revolver. Soundlooped non-narrative glitch that'll give yer head a twitch. Jonas has found his niche in Futurism inspired collage but eye candy aside it is his synthesis of various artistic styles loaded in the needle of this new digital age that is the real shot in the arm contribution that he is making. You can see all of his videos here via Videoville. Now you are in the loop with one of the coolest directors and studios working today.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Chester Brown

Stop the genetically modified press!! Hitch a ride on the nearest tornado to get yourself to Oz as the great wizard of comix is going to pull back the curtain to reveal the secrets of his craft. That's right, Chester Brown is the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Public Library and from April 3-June 23 you can send in your manuscript or meet with the man himself to learn the how-to's of creating comix. Here are the guidelines. Limited space is available so send those masterpieces of flaming skulls and warrior munchkins in for a front row seat for this rare oppurtunity to meet with the giant floating head of Chester Brown! Actually, he is a nice guy with a quiet demeanor. If you don't own any of Chester's books there is hope as the Emerald City of the Beguiling has the ruby red slippers for you. I recommend Louis Riel for quick access but for the devotee, pick up D+Q's reissueing of Ed the Happy Clown!
p.s. put your vote in for the Shuster awards (don't worry there is no Harper connection to this one)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Animation portfolio mishaps

I found this hilarious post on Chris Butcher's site, Comics212, and thought I would share with the rest of the class. Jim Zubkavich is a college prof. at a school in the Toronto area and is amidst the 'Clockwork Orange' torture of reviewing portfolio submissions. Take out the eyedrops and read the 'what not to submit' list that Jim has posted on his Livejournal. It is painful and side-splitting at the same time. 'I am a creative explosion waiting to happen'!!
Damn throw in some unicorns with guns and sign me up.

Nicolas Salis

Today, we explore the inner ticking of Nicolas Salis(fr). When I saw his film La Derniere Minute (The Last Minute) I was taken aback by the cinematic feel of it. The synopsis of the story is about a time altering heist set about by a pair of twins that appear to be in different time frames (past and future). Set in a parallel steampunk world, the ticking of the iconic clock in the middle of the city pulses the punctuality of life. The twins plot to put the proverbial wrench in the cogworks of this omnipresent controller. You can see a clip of it on his site if you go to films section or better yet you can go to Foret Bleue (fx studio) and see a longer clip to get a feel of this 15 minute short.
The Last Minute has a nice CG look and immersive atmospheric quality to it but I think I like the look to his previous film R. Mertonensis which is a live action/digital fx world. This and his other film 'Allegro', is something akin in feel to Jeunet's 'City of Lost Children'. Time is ticking away so run the rat race around the maze to find this fine french cheese waiting for you at the end.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Congrats to John Canemaker and Aardman

Congratulations to John Canemaker for winning the Academy Award last night for his short film, The Moon and the Son!! I had the pleasure of seeing this film and meeting him last year at the OIAF. A poignant film and a nice guy that gets the nod for top honours. Not only does it shut out the CG films but adds another feather to the cap of animation documentaries that have become a powerful and innovative genre for this medium. Also, a round of Wensleydale for everyone at Aardman for winning the best feature film category. Nick Park and Steve Box pulled this Werebunny out of the hat for a mind tranfering full length version of my favorite duo of crackin' adventure. Side note: Shaun the sheep will be getting his own telee series.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Bread and Puppet

This one is for Fishbait Kate. Happy Birthday!! Bread and Puppet theater. Subvert the ordinary and create dissent! Here is an idea here. Yeah! yummy bread to go with the Ethopian fud!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Renee French

Bu-bunnies bunnies bunnies bunnies b-u-n-n-i-e-s!!! Okay, I got that out of my system. Welcome to the shaded world of Renee French. I am very much looking forward to getting Renee's new graphic novel, The Ticking, published by Top Shelf. Since, I haven't read it yet, I point out this review of it. I love the grey tone of her artistic style but also the grey areas that lie in between beauty, the grotesque and malformed. I first got introduced to her work when I picked up her Marbles in my Underpants for my girlfriend. I got hooked along with her. We, unfortunately, gave our copy of Marbles away to a friend and haven't been able to find another copy since. So, if anyone out there would like to sell (although I can't see why) their copy or if they have an extra they wish to part with drop me a line. Also, you can read her on-line strip Micrographica on Serializer. So keep that one creepy eye open for any of her g-novels and/or order the Ticking from your local dispenser of sequential goodness! bunnies!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Guilherme Marcondes

This is in case you missed this short film, Into Pieces, last year when it was floating around the net by Guilherme Marcondes. Guilherme has a nice site that you can view all of his personal and commercial works. He was a director and animator at Lobo films and is currently freelancing. He is currently working on a film based on William Blake's 'The Tyger'. Brazilian animation and graphic design is on boil and making steam that is spinning the globe around.