Monday, 21 November 2022

Autumnal outings

Some events comin' up for ya. The Linoleum Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival's I'M FINE programme put together in collaboration with Skwigly is getting itself another screening in Lviv this Friday, November 24th. This one will be happening 6:30pm at America House and is completely free. You can register for it here.

Another event coming up that I, in all honesty, had just about nothing to do with is the premiere of Ainslie Henderson's Shackle, which will get its first public outing at London International Animation Festival on Nov 25th. Laura-Beth played a significant part in developing the eye mechanisms of the puppets and, frankly, I'm a pretty big Ainslie fan so I felt like giving it a shout-out. Also screening will be the feature-length mixed-media documentary A Cat Called Dom by longtime collaborator and Shackle producer Will Anderson, as well as Will's short film Betty. It starts 6:10pm at The Barbican and all told it looks to be a great way to kick off the festival, so check it out if you're in the city.

Speaking of Laura-Beth, which we sort of were, there's another chance to catch her recent short film Crafty Witch (on which I slapped some post-FX and noises) as part of the Cardiff Animation Festival touring programme of 2022 award winners. If you're in or about Milford Haven on the 30th swing on by the Torch Theatre for 8pm (more info here).

A little earlier than that, on the 25th Crafty Witch (or Ravasz Boszorkány) will get a Hungarian screening at the Anilogue International Animation Festival in Budapest. It will be part of the micro-shorts screening Ultrarövid Animációk that takes place 8pm at Toldi Art Mozi. Grab your passes here.

Wednesday, 5 October 2022

Eventful times ahead

Some stuff's a-happenin' in the near (and nearer) future you might want to check out if you happen to be nearby. First off a late (last?) hurrah for my short film Speed as it joins the wonderful German touring programme Shorts Attack following its inclusion in the Interfilm Berlin festival back in 2020. Starting today it'll be amongst the lineup of the October selection Wo die Liebe hinfällt (Where Love Falls) alongside some of my favourite recent animations Just A Guy (Shoko Hara), Cipka (Renata Gasiorowska), Dans La Nature (Marcel Barelli) and Mmm...Cat (Yongxin Wang) as well as some live action shorts that look like fun. Check out the full list of dates and venues over on their website if it sounds like your cup of Schwarztee.

In a few weeks the Fredrikstad Animation Festival will kick off in Norway. Having weighed in on the preselection for their national competition programme back in July I'll be back over there to host their Meet The Filmmakers: Short Film Competition Q&A session on Friday October 21st at 8:30pm. As well as the various shorts programmes some event highlights to look out for include masterclasses with Mark Burton, Marie-Laure Guisset and Peter de Sève plus a screening of the wonderful Signe Baumane's My Love Affair With Marriage. You can check out the full schedule here.

Next month the Manchester Animation Festival will be back at HOME for a full physical edition after being mainly online for the last couple years. I'll be there for a nice chunk of it to muck in with several of the events - the Skwigly Screening will return for the first time since COVID on November 14th at 2pm and there'll be a special live edition of mine and Laura-Beth's podcast Intimate Animation on the 16th at 3:45pm. Later that day at 8pm our traditionally infuriating Skwigly Quiz will give festivalgoers a chance to viciously compete with one another before scratching and clawing their way to the prize table. There'll also be a screening of the Linoleum programme Sensitive Content followed by my recorded Q&A with the participants at 6pm on the 14th and Laura-Beth will be part of the panel Animated Answers: 3D Printing at 4pm on the 15th. As always there's a ton of other great stuff that'd be too long to list here so go ahead and check out the programme and grab yourself a pass.

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Pod Pals

Some new podcasts for your waitin' ears. In episode 106 of the Skwigly Animation Podcast we welcome back pals o'Skwigly and all-around good eggs Matthew Walker and Jane Davies, directors of the new Aardman series Lloyd of the Flies. Beginning on CITV this week, the project marks the continued expansion of Aardman’s project roster as its first “in-house” CG production with a major brand push planned for the show and its characters.

Also discussed: The premature demise of the Young Audiences Content Fund, notable projects from the recent Disney D23 Expo, the South Park 25th anniversary concert, excitement for upcoming Netflix features Wendell & Wild and Pinocchio, Mike Judge’s second Beavis & Butt-Head reboot, fake/scam festivals and mysteries surrounding the production circumstances of the new Ren & Stimpy Show.

Our series of podcasts minisodes in association with the Linoleum Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival programme I'M FINE! continues with episode 3, in which I speak with Fabienne Priess (Tick) and Jakub Krzyszpin (Inertness) about their work and mental health in general.

If you're based in the UK you can catch the full I'M FINE! programme at the Bolton Film Festival on October 7th 10:45am at the Bolton Museum. You might also want to check out some companion written interviews over on Skwigly with participants Yen Liang Chen (Am I Oright), Angel Wu (Drawn Undrew Draw) and Anna Samo (Conversations with a Whale).

Some festival news for you France-dwelling folk, my film Speed will be among the line-up of the 2022 Festival International du Court Métrage de Lille's all-night animation programme Nuit de l’animation. This takes place September 24th at Théâtre Sébastopol from 9pm and goes through to 6am, so maybe bring a thermos.

Much love and gratitude to the folks out there who've supported the new album My Head Is Too Small for My Body over on Bandcamp the last few days. If you're a milleniboomer like me who still holds on to such archaic methods of music consumption as iTunes then the album is also available via Apple Music, and if you're more of a streamer than a buy-for-keepsies-er then it's available now on Spotify:

Friday, 16 September 2022

I've never looked better

I'd originally planned to release my new album My Head Is Too Small for My Body on the 19th, but as that's proved to be an unexpectedly contentious date I've rescheduled right now. Surprise!

While I've been popping out a fair few EPs in the interim, this is the first full-length record of mine since The Birdcage in 2015. Part lockdown project, part therapy exercise, this one's a bit more thoughtful lyrically than my albums have been in the past and I got a lot of demons out of my system with it. I also got some help from brilliant musicians Ed Richardson, Phil Brookes and Leanne Brookes to make it sound extra swish.  

It's available on Bandcamp now for a mere bag of shells (and you can try before you buy), but if you just can't bear to part with your cash then it'll be rolled out on various streaming platforms over the next few weeks.

I actually snuck out one final EP for this one last week, featuring the unnecessarily rude On The Air plus two non-album tracks Burnout and Revolución that didn't quite make the final cut. Again that's on Bandcamp as well as various streamers plus I cobbled together a disconcerting little lyric video for it:

Thursday, 1 September 2022

Not-so-pale September

A clump of pleasant news to kick the month off with. Firstly I'll be speaking with one of my heroes Joanna Quinn at the Linoleum Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival in a couple weeks. Be sure to pencil this one in as we'll be speaking candidly about all manner of subjects, from navigating the emotional pitfalls that come with industry success to dealing with imposter syndrome, burnout, staying motivated when life gets in the way and the pressures the younger generation face in the current social media climate. Plus you'll be able to ask her questions of your own which is worth the price of admission alone (especially as it's free).
The lecture will be held within the I'M FINE! project and is supported by the British Council Ukraine under the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture and Projector Library. It will take place September 8th 6pm CEST (4pm UK time) and is available internationally, just be sure to register in advance.

On a related note, the second of our I'M FINE! podcast minisodes produced in association with Linoleum has gone up over on Skwigly. This episode features insights from Catherine Lepage (The Great Malaise), Julia Skala (Sommeregen) and Johnny Kelly (Procrastination). Give it a stream or a download, whatever works for you.

Lastly, in anticipation of the impending new album my most recent Struwwelpeter EP Piggy (originally a Bandcamp exclusive put out on Inauguration Day 2021) has had an expanded release on most major streaming platforms including Spotify, YouTube and Amazon Music.
Be a pal and give 'er a listen 'cause my stats are a shambles at the moment and I need the boost.

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Crafty coattail-ridin'

Encounters is gearing up for the return of its physical edition next month. Things have changed a bit over there and I'm no longer involved in the way I'd been the last few years but, rather splendidly, they'll be screening Speed following its inclusion in the 2020 online festival for a special retrospective programme. The film will be screened as part of Strange Hearts, kicking off 11am September 28th at Bristol's Watershed. Come on by, we can split a flapjack.

Two other films I nosed my way into that are getting themselves a repeat showing will be Laura-Beth Cowley's witchy shorts The Gift and Crafty Witch that were part of the 2020 and 2021 edition respectively. You can catch them in The Strength Within programme that screens at 12:30pm on the 29th and again at 4:30pm on the 30th.

Also coming up for Crafty Witch is a screening at this year's edition of Frightfest on Monday August 29th as part of Short Film Showcase 3. The programme starts at 1:30pm in 101 Films Discovery Screen 2 at the Prince Charles Cinema.

It will also be part of a programme from this year's Cardiff Animation Festival who will be taking nine of their accoladed shorts on tour across Wales, starting this Saturday (27th) with a screening at the festival's main venue Chapter at 2:30pm.

On a separate note, it struck me that it's been a little while since I had an actual website. For the first time in about five years I actually had a bit of downtime last month so I took the opportunity to cobble one together. It's kinda basic but then, shucks, so am I. Also managed to finally update my showreel for the first time since 2018, so if you fancy a gander check 'er out below:

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Accentuatin' the positive

A couple new podcasts for ya, both a bit different from the kind of stuff we usually do but definitely worth a listen. In the latest episode of Animation One-To-Ones I'm joined by Cardiff-based animator Lauren Orme, who previously appeared on episodes 80 and 93 of the Skwigly Animation Podcast. In this latest episode we talk about the ways in which she has steered both Cardiff Animation Festival and her animation studio Picl in a more eco-conscious direction while also actively researching practical and practicable solutions for combating the increasingly concerning realities of climate change.

The latest endeavour of Lauren’s is the newly-launched Planet Positive Animation Network to help animation, VFX and games companies and freelancers become environmentally sustainable and help us reach net zero sooner. You can watch the interview above or stream below (or download here).

While the new network will be hosted digitally, CAF has plans to run events enabling members to meet and share ideas in person. CAF is also sharing resources on their website, and is offering a consultancy service for animation companies who want a little more help reaching net zero or becoming environmentally sustainable. 

We've also popped up the first of a four-part series of special podcast minisodes for the I'M FINE! project we've been presenting with the Linoleum Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival. Taken from the Q&A panel sessions that accompany the screening programme, these feature artists sharing their experiences and insights into mental health, burnout and staying motivated as animation filmmakers. In episode 1 we hear from Will Anderson (The Making of Longbird), Anna Mantzaris (Enough) and Margarida Madeira (Playing Death). Stream down there or download right here.

I’M FINE! will be available on the MEGOGO media service during the LINOLEUM festival, which will be held online from 7 to 11 September.  Follow the news of the project on Skwigly, at, on the festival’s Instagram profile or at the I’M FINE! Facebook event page.

Monday, 25 July 2022

What goes around...

I've been beavering away at a few projects that will start seeing the light of day soon. The first of which is actually released today - a special tenth anniversary edition of my 2012 graphic novel Throat.

This is the first time the entire, non-serialised version of the story has been in print for a fair few years, and it includes all the bonus content from the three-part editions as well as a brand new afterword that was a fun excuse to revisit and reflect on the project. As with pretty much every version of Throat that's come out, there's a standard black and white edition (dark cover) and a full-colour 'deluxe' edition (light cover), depending on how many shekels you're willing to part with in these tough times. If you're not struggling with the ol' finances and are after something a bit more fancy then you might want to hold tight for a limited edition hardcover that will be coming soon. Not 100% clear on the release date of that one just yet but will pop it up when I know.

In the meantime if your interest is piqued and you want a budget option, you can buy the older three-part set from me directly and cheaper than what they go for at most other outlets. I'll be selling the standard B/W set for £5 and the full-colour for £10 (plus shipping), heck if you want 'em signed I can do that although that'll probably just lower their resale value. If anyone's interested pop me a message on Facebook or Insta and we'll work it out.

Friday, 15 July 2022

Seasons of culture

Some news on the international events front this time around. Earlier in the month I was honoured to be part of this year's preselection team for the Fredrikstad Animation Festival that focuses on new work from the Nordic region, alongside festival director Anders Narverud Moen and Merete Korsberg of Krystallplaneten. Given the curational remit of the festival it proved a uniquely interesting look at the current animation scene from that particular corner of the globe and I'm really excited to share the programme we've been able to put together later on in the summer. All being well I'll be over there again for the event itself, which runs from October 20th-23rd, so give us a shout if you happen to be around.

In the meantime, Skwigly have paired up with the Linoleum Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival for I'M FINE!, a joint cultural project supported by the British Council within the framework of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture. With a focus on mental health, specifically the pernicious issue of burnout, the event will take the form of film screenings curated by Linoleum director Anastasiia Verlinska and Skwigly's Aaron Wood who drafted me in to create some exclusive content with the participating filmmakers that will accompany the programme. We'll also be putting out interview panels as podcasts in the near future, so keep your eyes and ears on the ol' Skwigly podcast feed. As well as I'M FINE! and the accompanying programme Sensitive Content being included as part of Linoleum's online edition via the platform MEGOGO from September 7th-11th, there'll also be some physical screenings starting August 27th at the Chichester International Film Festival.

Obviously with Linoleum being a Ukrainian event the issues presented are especially timely, and while the festival as a whole has been able to continue in spite of unfathomably challenging circumstances they still could do with some help, so if you have any funds to spare you can learn how you can give them a hand here.

Monday, 13 June 2022

That 'monthly roundup' idea didn't pan out, did it?

I've been kinda quiet 'cause, well, shucks, I don't have a whole lot to say these days. I'll rattle off some general updates to keep this site from going into atrophy.

The epic, protracted journey of Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires has reached its conclusion (some five years after I joined the film's post-production team in its latter months) with a suitably-retro home media release. I don't really buy blurays, except for the occasional animation one, but the sheer strength of craft that went into this is a pretty good justification to pick it up and by some accounts I've read this version looks a little nicer than its streaming alternatives.

Another journey's end worth mentioning is my stint with the fine folks at Shy Guys Studios wrapping up after four-and-a-bit years. It's probably the longest I've been at one place (albeit while juggling a ton of other gigs on the side, as my gluttony for punishment dictates) and it led to some really fun projects including graphics and titles for a bunch of TV shows, animation for educational/health films (the one above was a lot of fun) and my most recent film Speed which managed to tick a few more festival selections off my personal wishlist. As with all the best gigs the real highlight was the people I got to meet through it and I hope we'll manage to work alongside one another again down the line.

Elsewhere the world of Emojitown is growing like gangbusters, having just hit a million followers on its main YouTube channel and over 125k on its more recent TikTok channel. I've been working with WildBrain Spark as a consultant and contributing director/producer on its social media shorts which have accrued a stunning 250+ million views since the end of last year. It's a pretty incredible thing to see this kind of response to a brand new IP, so fingers crossed things continue as it's been a fun world to be a part of and occasionally inject my weirdness into.

Things are still active and busy over in the land of Skwigly (I certainly post there a lot more than I do here) with some National Film Board of Canada/Annecy coverage highlights including a chat with Métis filmmaker Terril Calder (Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics) and conversation with multi-Oscar-nominated duo Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby (When the Day Breaks, Wild Life and The Flying Sailor). Also in competition at Annecy is Magical Caresses, an NFB series on demystifying masturbation by Le Clitoris director Lori Malépart-Traversy, who returns to our podcast Intimate Animation to discuss the project. Stream below or download here

Other coverage to check out includes an interview with Hamish Steele who recently adapted his progressive YA graphic novel series Deadendia into a new Netflix show Dead End: Paranormal Park (some brilliantly talented folks worked on this one), Laura-Beth's interview with Sam O'Leary, who did an incredible job paying tribute to the shit-your-pants-scary animated PSAs of yore in the series 7 finale of Inside No. 9 (cheers to Mr. Shearsmith for the RT), a trifecta of interviews for Autism Awareness Month with Jorge R. Gutiérrez, Dani Bowman and Grainne McGuinness courtesy of writer Martyn Warren and new contributor Ryan Gaur's editorial pieces on streaming vs cinema, the upcoming Futurama reboot and the feature film Lightyear.

Ryan joins the latest episode of the Skwigly Animation Podcast with a segment interviewing Lightyear director Angus MacLane and producer Galyn Susman. We also feature a chat between Laura-Beth and director/writer Loren Bouchard, co-director Bernard Derriman and co-writer/producer Nora Smith of The Bob's Burgers Movie. Again, it's streamable below and here's your download link, ya lucky so-and-so.

I think that's all the talk-about-ables for now. This summer might see things get a bit less quiet as there are a bunch of project announcements on the horizon, so, y'know, stay mildly alert.