Monday, August 27, 2007

I havn't been in there for ages

I don't think it's going to be very easy to go in the bog studio the next time I want to. There is a pile up of tax related paperness, origami paperness, bills, material for bunting, plastic bags and secondhand files from Nina which I hope to use one day.
I would take a photo, but I don't think I could squeeze through the door.
Last night of LIAF

Here I was in the Curzon last night with Nag Vladermersky, Mait Laas and Priit Tender from Eesti Joonis Films in Estonia. Crouched on the floor is the splendid globe-trotting LIAF co director Malcom Turner.

At the Best of the Fest they showed Jeu by George Schwizgebel, The Lecture by Clint Cure, Birdcalls by Malcom Sutherland, The adventures of John and John by Will Bishop Stevens, my Old, Old, Very Old Man, the aforementioned Carnivore Reflux and The Tale of How, Urban Tale by Florence Miahilhe, the winner of the grand prize: Everything will be OK by Don Hertzfeld, Moloch by Marcin Pazera and winner of British Best film: Time is Running Out by Mark Reisbig.

Time is Running Out is a strange and inventive film, the action takes place within a continous circular pan, coupled with a frame that slowly decreases in size and sound that becomes gradually more layered. It's like being hypnotised, assaulted and slowly crushed all at once. Don Hertzfeld did something similar with his sound, which was also used to reflect the chaotic inner world of protagonist Bill. Sometimes it wasn't possible to hear his voiceover at all for the sounds of headbutting, crisp munching, vacuum cleaning and key dropping that went on. It was good to see Urban Tale again. It was shown in Zagreb and perhaps I didn't quite appreciate how gutsy it is. It's also hard to see how the tale ties together on first viewing, because the oil on glass technique can get a bit murky and it's hard to see who's who. I did like it though and I think other people did too.
The Tale of John and John was pretty glorious. I've been reading about it at It was mostly glorious because of the joy-of-it-all that some films have.

On the subject of joy-of-it-all, I was very lucky yesterday not only because The Old Man was awarded best of programme 4 by the audience and the jury, but also because I bought a little green supereight viewer on a key ring from Mark Pawson at the Vyner Street Festival.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Long shorts

LIAF is here. I missed the beginning because of our splendid trip to Orkney but managed to get to the Curzon for International Prog 5 and 6 (the long shorts). The long shorts programme is a good idea, you get just 6 films, easier on the brain than the 14 in Prog 5.

From the long shorts I enjoyed Pekka Korhonen's Siberian Express, because it was funny, and dark and a little bit sexy.
There were quite alot depictions of women as large breasted animals over the course of the evening, one of whom was the lovely hairy Ramona pictured here, not enough to form a worrying trend but I will be monitoring this! It was good to watch Everything will be OK by Don Hertzfeldt, it is the American cousin of Who I am and What I want by David Shrigley and Chris Shepherd. The film was very masterful but a little too knowing, in my mind not quite match for the genius that was 'Rejected'. In Prog 5 Sarah's Tale by Svetlana Filipova was wonderful. The tale is told with a very light touch, the gentle, scruffy drawings and even the subtitles visited every corner of the screen and she kept our eyes busy with very elegant, musical changes of proportion and perspective.

Certainly not subtle or elegant but complete and unusual was Soldier by David Peros-Bonnot from Croatia in which a statue of a soldier runs amok. The filmmaker intended it to be "A symbolic story about a product of society that gets out of control". What struck me as being more interesting was the use of model animation in a story about statues that come alive.
The White Wolf by Pierre-Luc Granjon was the last film in the session and it was magical but really blunt and I enjoyed it very much. Especially the way the wolfs' severed head rolled down the hill. Carnivore Reflux by The People's Republic of Animation and The Tale of How by The Blackheart Gang were stunning to watch but in my mind they both suffered a conflict between the words and the image. The other Moment of Note was a CG horror film in which a blood smeared naked lady with no nipples ran petrified through a forest.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Two animation-related podcasts that I've enjoyed

and Don Hertzfeld's journal

Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Shelly's resonance night was the animation highlight of the summer so far. I havn't been out too much it's true but it WAS really good. She chose some beautiful films, alot of them I hadn't seen before. The dotty Panique Au Village ( by St├ęphane Aubier and Vincent Patar was very popular, as was John Paul Harney's film Brand Spanking, which is a piece of writing genius. Come on John-Paul, write something else.
Vladimir Leschiov's new film Lost in Snow is wonderful, I think I prefer it to Insomnia. The white of the snow and the movement of the ice provide an opportunity for some lovely playful scenes, although it has a grave feeling to it, just like Insomnia. The Magic Gloves by Ben and John Harmer is a great story and cleverly made, I didn't anticipate such a sick ending. I can imagine it as a series, though that little mouse with his goofy teeth would have to come back to life.

A nice man named Michael Garrad introduced the films and told some revolting jokes, it created a proper focus. Previously I had reservations about the Roxy as a screening venue, I think there was a hen party in on the Phil Mulloy night, but it was tremendous. I hope Shelly can do it again.

Canadian Premiere

I was overjoyed to hear that my Old Man is nestled in amongst some amazing films at the Ottawa International Animation Festival in the narrative short competition. I would have really liked to have gone, to see how he looked in the middle of that lot but we're going to be quite busy in September. I went to OIAF in 2004 as I was making Sawney Beane in Montreal, I think it was my first international film festival, I thought there would be 40 people there and we could all go to the pub between screenings, but no, everyone likes animation, there were THOUSANDS of people there, enough to form a MOB.
For the filmmakers it's downright terrifying sitting in Cinema 1 feeling the mood of that Mob over six minutes thirty eight seconds.
I read that last year an audience member stood up and shouted 'This Film is Shit' and walked out.