Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My plans for 2009

I'm going to be mostly on maternity leave until early in the summer of 2009 although I will be doing a few workshops and teaching animation at Anglia Ruskin University for one day a week next semester. In July and August I'll be going to Vienna with the whole family to take up the residency that I was awarded as a prize at the Tricky Women Film Festival in 2008. I can't wait. it's not just the buns and some European travel but having some time to make work is a wonderful prize.


One of my favourite jobs last year was mentoring two out of the three animators who were making their animated films with a bursary from The Film and Video Workshop.
Elle Farnham made The Grand Pier an animation made using a spare rotoscope technique depicting the beach and Grand Pier at Weston Super Mare. Elle's film made it to the last 12 of the Depict competition and I'm sure it will visit many festivals next year.

Michaela Nettell is just finishing her film Under Skies, which is made up of very beautiful sequences of animated stills of Victoria Park re-filmed through glass and by mirrors, I'm looking forward to seeing the finished work.

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka, Croatia

I was really pleased to be invited to show the drawings from Sawney Beane in the exhibition To The (Very) Last Drawing curated by Vanja Hraste. The show is on until 17th February 2009.

Here is a picture taken by Vanja herself.

It took me a long time to find the drawings to send to Croatia, not only is my Spellbound archiving system flawed but I'd forgotten that the drawings were really small (10cm x 8cm) compared to The Emperor and The Witches (approx 60cm X 40cm) so they were squirrelled into a smaller box. I can't remember why I chose to work so small, I was using charcoal instead of watercolour, so perhaps I didn't need so much space to make the images, I was also working in Montreal, so maybe I was being economical too. There are only 15 good drawings from the film, which is 10'38". This is because my technique just leaves one drawing per shot, instead of one per frame and after one particularly busy scene featuring King James I's army, there is just a scruffy mess left behind.

There's a baby on my desk.

I'm happily sharing my animation studio with Poppy. She arrived in October at the same time as a damp patch under the floor. Once the builders had gone it seemed like a good time to tidy up and instigate a temporary change of use, although as you can see, she's not left much room for me and my watercolours, move over Poppy!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I had the chance to go to Annecy in June for a few nights, from Thursday to Sunday. It was quite overwhelming at first, the festival had been in full swing for a few days and I didn't know where to begin. Luckily I crossed over for a few hours with my NFB friend Michael Fukushima, we had a beer and chips until it rained when I found a taxi to my hotel. On friday I went to the Emil Cohl exhibition at the chateau up the hill. That was a rare and unexpected treat. I found out that Cohl was active in all parts of the theatre, had a photographic studio, wrote articles for newspapers about caricature, games and philately but that he was also interested in fishing, cycling, geneology and history as well as inventing games, tests, puzzles, anagrams and optical illusions before taking up film at the age of 50. The films were projected onto the walls in the Chateau but they were all projected at once, adjacent to each other. In my condition, I could have used a stool on wheels.

Friday, June 06, 2008


Next week I'm going to Annecy on Thursday, so next weekend I hope to update the blog with my thoughts.

Shelly Wain and I went to Anifest and here we are in the square where there was a screening of The Simpsons Movie.

Shelly and I were both running workshops at Animate the World at the Barbican Centre in London on Saturday, so we arrived at the earliest opportunity on Sunday. One of the reasons that we targeted Anifest for our animation festival trip was Břetislav Pojar.
Thanks to the driver named Gerry we just arrived in time for the screening of Pojar's films and an audience with him too. It was fantastic to be in Trebon, sitting in the beautiful mint-green theatre watching the works of such a master. He came on at the end but he was just on his own, and obviously uncomfortable and dying to get away. Shelly wanted to know all about his multiplane set up and he threw some light on it, but only to say that there was a mirror involved... It was very mysterious and we are trying to find out more about that.

As you can see from my picture I'm expecting a baby at the end of the summer, so we didn't take things too fast. It went like this: full breakfast, screening, snack, screening, full lunch, screening, lie down, waffle/ice cream, little walk, supper, bed. We were only there a couple of days but we did catch a few screenings. The two films that I particularly enjoyed were KFJG no 5 by Alexey Alekseev, Hungary 2007, a really charming animation with a bear, a wolf and a rabbit in it and The Mouse Story by Benjamin B. Renner from La Poudriere, a really simple adaptation of an Aesop's fable with really great timing and characterisation. It was good to see Franz Kafka's Country Doctor by Koji Yamamura. The film has been winning alot of prizes, and I can see why, it's in a league of it's own. It's an eerie experience, very complicated and detailed, like a Paula Rego print. I'd like to have another look at it in a cinema to pick up some more of that story. He won the big prize, quite right too I think.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The British Animation Awards

I'm really pleased to be a finalist in the British Animation Awards short film category. A bit astounded too to be up there with Yours Truly by Osbert Parker and The Pearce Sisters by Luis Cook, two huge films. The award ceremony is on March 13th, it will be exciting to go to an animation party, or any party for that matter!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A hat trick or a nutmeg

The Old Man won best Independant film at BAF. Thank you very much BAF. I went for the first day of the festival and had an interesting day, I saw Paul Bush's talk and the professional and short films in competition.
Now I'm the guardian of this little fella. He has a stern look, which wont be bad for me because 2008 is going to be a year in which my studio is tidied more often.

Aurora in Norwich

In my spellbound blog I made a little report from Aurora but I dont think I said that The Old Man won best short film, it was a wonderful surprise, although I had a cheap train ticket, so I almost had to take the precious award and sprint for the train.