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.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sonic Sunday: Brave New Waves and Mutek

Let's drop the needle and give that brain a poke to feel the stimulating noise of some Brave New Waves. My summer vacation might have come to a dietary end but I have managed to stay up late and gorge on the aural treats from the fridge of CBC Radio 2. Patti Schmidt straps on the headnoise and takes us deep underground every week night to stress and gauge the level of our musical boundaries. Avant-garde to noise to electronica, BNW is the self proclaimed disclaimer of the disclaimed. So push that finger into the left frontal lobe (right above your eye) and get happy to some Brave New gammaWaves. Mix and stir that with some live shake and bake yer gelatinous North American ass in the sonic oven known as MUTEK. This international festival of music, sound and new technologies falls in Montreal every spring to rain on your mainstream parade. Even though it is over for this year, let the electrodes twitch that nerve of curiosity to prod at the artists that made up this years experimental audiovisual overload. You can listen to a podcast of it here from Radio 3 and read and watch about it on Vu d'ici. There you can see via YouTube a performance by a favorite of mine 1-speed bike. And since I am in Montreal, I couldn't go without mentioning La Société des arts technologiques [SAT]. They just had their FantASIA film festival and you can read a good review of it from those great purveyors of everything cool, FPSmagazine. Also, check on the SAT site for upcoming events that will make you salivate for no good reason. Note to self: move to Montreal!!

Saturday, July 15, 2006


This is a deviation from the norm here on this freakshow train but this is for my friend Kevin Atkinson who is getting married today. If ya didn't know, I have a secret fascination with New Media art and here is a great site to fire the electrodes to 010 with all things nanotechcool. Neural should be a site you visit on a regular basis to fill that empty cyborg gap. Weta you know it or not we will still think you are the shizzle of geekdom. cheers.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

N.F.B. free for all

Take off to the Great White North, ya hosers! The gloves are off in this N.F.B. viewing bench brawl of the most popular all-star players to help celebrate their 65th anniversary. So, put that red or blue Sweater on and break out the NFB animator trading cards to watch your favorite animation back in action. From the likes of Richard Condie to Cordell Barker and Christopher Hinton's Flux (shown above) to Caroline Leaf's The Street, they are all there for your viewing pleasure. And it's free!! Pick two and put them in a head to head shoot-out or hook up it up to that projector t.v. and have an animation party. Whatever you do, whether it is viewing these for the hundreth time or the first, remember that it is these animated shorts that have made the N.F.B. the Hanson brothers of the film production league. Although, you could argue that they have lost their powerhouse status as only a hand full of these films are from the last 16 years but this is a celebration of their history. Gone are the glory days of carte blanche creator driven films but instead the era of co-productions are the norm as the game is watered down. But hopefully, the N.F.B. will strive to be at the forefront of independent animation as it's history so poignantly points out. Animator trading cards what a good idea!!
(via CartoonBrew and Warren Leonhardt)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Joanna Quinn

Everyone knows the work of Joanna Quinn. Whether it is a 'frisky' cat or the dancing Charmin Bears, everyone knows the commercial work of Joanna Quinn. But, like all good animators she quietly sits away in the corner drawing to her hearts content. I don't know if it because she doesn't have a strong internet presence or that everyone is still getting down with the shiny bling bling of 3D animation, but, Joanna's independent films are something to press your face against while taking in her body (of work) beautiful. Rowr. Her latest film, 'Dreams and Desires', won the Special Jury prize and Audience award at Annecy this year. Which is fitting as it is almost 20 years ago that her first film, Girls Night Out (1986), won at Annecy. In fact, Joanna has won almost every major animation award or has been nominated for it. Come in a little closer. At first glance Joanna's animation is beautiful. Caricatures befitting Daumier at times and the movement of form in a loose, free style. It is raw 2D animation...pencil on paper! As a complete package though her work packs the full wallop like the robust women that frequent her films. Laugh out loud, knee slapping hilarity ensues as the slice of life piece is passed around for all to enjoy. Joanna explores issues of womanhood and ideas of beauty personified in the character of Beryl. It is a nice touch to see Beryl has aged in this latest film. So, whether it is a Girls Night Out or the Wife of Bath to Dreams and Desires, Joanna and her work are not only positive role models but just plain brilliant animation. Pull the covers back and snuggle up beside the fleshy world of Beryl and don't be afraid to blush because now everyone will know about the private work of Joanna Quinn. Wouldn't it be nice to see a dvd with a collection of her work on it? Well Knight me as I wear my big cod piece and call me Sir Wishalot! Rowr!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Anders Nilsen

It was in 2003 that Leesa and I met Anders Nilsen and his partner Cheryl Weaver at the inaugeral T.C.A.F.! So it came as a shock to both of us when we saw the forthcoming 'comic' from Anders as a comemoration of Cheryl's fight against hodgkins lymphoma. Don't Go Where I Can't Follow is a journal of notes, sketches and photos of her fight and untimely passing. Art is what we talked about three years ago and the struggle of being an artist today. Since that time, Anders has become a force to note about in the world of comix and graphic novels, from the pages of Mome to Dogs and Water and my favorite big question of Big Questions. His work, even in it's minimalist of forms, touches upon the aimless journey of life and all the frail steps that question or punctuate our emotional process(es). Meaningful? Only in absurdity and in the human condition does the rounded questions get more blurred and wander off into the distance. Maybe, I make his work sound too philosophical but in the end it is about man vs. man, man vs. nature and in this latest offering man vs. self and the healing of the creative process. Seek out Anders work and look out for his Monologue for the Coming Plague from Fantagraphics and The End (tentatively scheduled for next year). Required reading for the Bigheaded.

Jan Svankmajer

There is only one animator that comes to mind when I here the descriptive words 'animated meat'...and that is Jan Svankmajer!! Lunacy (Selini) is the latest tongue-out-of-mouth offering from the abattoire filmhouse of Svankmajer. Click here for the trailor. Obviously, I wallow in the formaldahyde pool as a devote specimen with fake painted eyes at the surreal visions of Jan Svankmajer but then again, who isn't!!! Get on board the mystic train and befriend the rotting piece of flesh beside you as we journey into what has become the distinctive cut of human psyche this side of the Vltava River. Again, it is the familiar territory of live-action and animation that Jan takes us into. Lunacy is loosely based on two short stories from Edgar Allen Poe with the Marquis de Sade being a main character and inspiration. Cross pollinate that with Svankmajer's unique insight into the human mind and current political climate and you get this allegory of 'philosophical horror'. If you want to taste more of his work, you can go and watch some down through YouTube. But, don't just dig in...savour the imaginative process of this Master of Animation and buy his stuff for your 'Stuck on a Island' essential dvd collection. See I wrote this whole damn thing without saying Alchemy. Shazam!!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sonic Sunday: Thinkbox

Over the past couple of months I have been travelling around and neglecting the carnivorous plants growing in my blogosphere. Recently, in my Little Shop of Horrors I am playing the experimental ambient sounds of Thinkbox to quell the hunger of my Audrey II. Congrats to my hometown dial turners and beat manipulators for an overdue retrospective of their sonic experimentations in our local hotbed that is also the home of Richie Hawtin. They had their closing performance at the end of last month at the Art Gallery of Windsor. So let the sound wrap around as the heady rhythms of Chris McNamara, Rob Theakson, Mark Laliberte, Bill Van Loo, Chris Bissonnette and Steve Roy engulf you down to your shoegazing self. And while you are travelling down the tube take in the visual fever that accompanies the music. The strong visual presence of this collective is part and parcel of the whole organic feel of what makes them each a unique automaton being counted in the flow meter of photosynthesis. Stay tuned as I have brought back plenty of sacrificial victims to feed into this Venus fly trap blogosphere to get this head turning like the poltergeist horror that it has become. Projectile peas optional.