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.