Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Some good news on a day where one might be feeling, I dunno, without a paddle: My new film will get its French debut at this year's edition of Croq'Anime Animation Festival in Paris. I don't think anything of mine's played in that fair city, if my memory serves, so lovely news indeed. The fest takes place September 9th-13th, as ever I'll post more specific info when I get it. In the meantime keep your eyes on their official site, Twitter and Facebook page. Merci mes amis!
Meanwhile in Skwiggletown I've put up a written version of my chat with the very cool Lisa Hanawalt, artist behind a number of webcomics, graphic novels and the Netflix animated series BoJack Horseman. The show's second season (which was in production at the time of the interview) went up in full a few days back so it seemed like an apt repurposing, plus it has to be said it was one of my favourite interviews from last year and a joy to revisit. Have a read of it here and check out more of her work at

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Quickie update, just to amend my own presumption that my latest film will be premiering in Denmark on August 24th. This has turned out to be a heinous fallacy and it will in fact get its world premiere at the Anonimul International Independent Film Festival which runs from August 17th-23rd. So the lovely folks of Odense were just pipped to the post, there. Or pipped at the post, however that goes. Honestly, who do you think you are, the pipped police? Leave me be.
Specific dates/times/venue info to follow.

Monday, 13 July 2015

The Toys Go Winding Down
Today the thirtieth episode of the Skwigly Podcast went up, featuring a trio of stunningly talented animation heroes. I speak with fellow Canuck and stalwart NFB director Cordell Barker (The Cat Came Back/Strange Invaders/Runaway) on his new film If I Was God, while Laura-Beth Cowley catches up with Australian 'clayographer' Adam Elliot to learn about his wonderful new film Ernie Biscuit. Meanwhile Julia Young, who has been absolutely killing it for us on all fronts (in particular with some extensive coverage of this year's Annecy festival) talks to Cartoon Saloon co-founder Tomm Moore, director of the amazing feature film Song of the Sea which has been mesmerising international audiences for months and is now finally out in UK cinemas. For more on the film you can have a read of Julia's review and another written feature from a conversation I had with producer Paul Young on the fascinating and unique circumstances that led to the film getting off the ground.
Back to the podcast, it is of course all tied together with myself and Steve's usual onslaught of cartoon wafflage, delving into such territory as festival highlights, reboot remorse and the Manchester Animation Festival which Steve has been involved with of late. Midst the decline of animation-centric festivals the world over such events are a precious commodity indeed, so if you have an animated film to submit then make sure to get it in before August 15th.
On a more sombre note (not really), the podcast in its current state has come to an end with this episode. After three years and thirty great big gigantic episodes it's just not feasible to continue to produce them as I have done, and I'm not crazy about the increasing gaps between each one going up. Therefore I'll be taking a revised approach that will make for more frequent episodes and better structure overall, getting our Skwigly community of writers and contributors more involved. Quality and quantity! That's the hope, at least.
Until then you can subscribe, stream or download episode 30 and a billion thanks to all of you who've supported the podcast and kept it going. I had no possible idea when it first started that it would last this long but it's largely been a joy and, truly, one of the main reasons I've maintained such enthusiasm for the industry as a whole. So here's to the upcoming Skwigly Podcast v2.0!
Good gravy...

Sunday, 28 June 2015

News for a dreary Sunday afternoon

I'm just coming off a very nice holiday break and the inevitable catch-up-with-life stuff that follows, so here's a roundup post of some coverage that went up while I've been away as well as some general updates.
There are two new Lightbox videos, beginning with an exclusive interview with Canadian animation legend Cordell Barker (The Cat Came Back, Strange Invaders) on his new NFB film If I Was God, which boasts some gorgeous stop-motion; more recently one of our newer contributors Beverly chats with Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, directors of Minions.

Thanks to mass merchandising and over-saturation I'm sure the world at large has a daily fill of Minion excess whenever they step out of their homes, but her interview does go into some interesting places as regards the range of animation techniques on offer, so I'd recommend taking a look.
Laura-Beth and I pester the brilliant Adam Elliot at BAF 2013
Elsewhere on Skwigly, Laura-Beth has a fantastic interview with Australian animator Adam Elliot, a mutual hero of ours. Even if I were 100% impartial I'm confident I'd say it's the best and most thorough piece on his latest project Ernie Biscuit, so treat yourself and give it a read.

Speaking of treating yourselves, Alan Holly's amazing short Coda is now online in full. This was one of my absolute favourites of last year's shorts crop and I'm very happy to say there's an in-depth interview with Alan up now also.
Visiting Claude Cloutier at the NFB during production of Carface
As well as some memories of the underappreciated 90s animated sitcom The Critic, I have another NFB interview up with Claude Cloutier, whose new film Carface was part of Annecy 2015's official selection (along with Ernie Biscuit; If I Was God, bafflingly, played out of competition).
In non-Skwigly news, I now know the screening times for my latest film when it premieres at OFF in August, the first of seven showings being Monday 24th at 9am. The two programmes it plays in are Main Competition 4 and Animation 3, both of which have full time/venue information listed (if you're a master detective you might even be able to keenly scrutinise both and work out which one's mine).
Also the proposed release date for Throat: Book 3 - Nobody's Waiting of August 3rd is now confirmed, with a cover mockup I'm not 100% wild about. But all being well a book that sort of looks like the one above will be out that week. The end is in sight, folks.

Friday, 26 June 2015

A good day to be a human being
I'm rarely stirred by much of anything these days but Justice Anthony Kennedy has stirred me today. Bravo and about time.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

"Stop looking at me, swan!"

All-go at the mo but here's some Skwigly updates.
First off we have a SWAN interview with local director Paul Hill, whose most prominent film to date is Sun, on which he worked with animator Phil Parker. He's good people, give his stuff a watch.
If you're looking for a good animation read you could do a lot worse than Rowland B. Wilson's Trade Secrets, a collection of notes to strengthen your technical muscles a bit. Have a read of my full review here.

Also over on Lightbox we have another chat with Aardman's Peter Lord on the return of Morph, which is back on TV screens for the first time in a long time.
Speaking of family-friendly, cuddly characters, one of Dan Emmerson's Fleshy Friends makes an appearance in this month's Skwigly banner. This could be one of my favourites yet:

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Denmark's the Spot
It's been quite a while since my last film festival inclusion, but I've gotten word that my newest film will be screened (possibly premiered) at the Odense International Film Festival in Denmark. I always liked them Denmarkivians - a solid bunch, the lot of them! Worth noting that the film being screened is not the infrequently-mentioned Bullies, which is still mired in its distribution limbo, but another short entirely - a secret, mystery short, if you will, for I am so appealingly secretive and mysterious. At any rate it's good news, especially as I'd been feeling somewhat...without a paddle, I daresay.
On a completely unrelated subject, check out the latest animated Skwigly banner from notorious ghost'n'rock enthusiast Sue Dunham:
Keep your eyes on the site next month as June's banner is gonna be a corker. In the meantime swing by to check out the latest episode of Lightbox, in which I meet Greg McLeod, the visual half of BAFTA-winning sibling team The Brothers McLeod whose work includes Codswallop, 365, Isle of Spagg, Phone Home and the upcoming animated travelogue Marfa:

Monday, 18 May 2015

That other thing I do
It's rare that I get a personal project done and dusted on the exact date I'll have proclaimed I will but, sure enough, today being Sol Invictus/Scarlet Gospels day I've followed through and released my new album The Birdcage. So how 'bout that?
It's been a fair few years since my last full LP, my rate of music production significantly slowed since the days of this particular hobby's function as homework distraction, but I think the extra marinating time makes it a much easier listen. As hinted at earlier, save for the opening track and the odd loud moment here and there it came out very low-key, almost folksy in parts, especially considering how synth-pop-weird the earlier albums had been.
For now you can stream the whole album for free and, should you be so inclined, buy high quality songs for keeps at 50¢ each (you can save a few pennies if you buy the whole LP for a $5). There's no CD version yet but knock wood there'll be time over the summer to put together a nice package for those nostalgic types who still own something that will play a CD. In the meantime here's a track-by-track rundown:
Hope there's something amongst that lot for you to enjoy. While you're sifting through that I'll be drinking in the new Faith No More album and the new Clive Barker book simultaneously. If Alex Kingston can drop by and re-enact Moll Flanders in the corner then my trifecta of mid-nineties nostalgia will be complete.

Friday, 15 May 2015

'Cocky cockerel cuckolding' - quite proud of that one...

The latest podcast is now up! It's been a while but this will hopefully be worth the wait. It features the usual blather-on between myself and Steve on recent and upcoming Skwigly events, gushing over the new Don Hertzfeldt film and the glut of remakes this year has brought. In keeping with the latter I also chat to Ciro Nieli, the Exec Producer on Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the franchise that simply cannot die. Plus my indie hero Bill Plympton joins us again to discuss Revengeance (yet another feature film he's directing, this time in collaboration with writer and fellow indie animator Jim Lujan) and the mockumentary Hitler's Folly. Good stuff all round, so treat yisselfs and stream, download or subscribe away:
It's been a while since the last one, and realistically speaking it's getting less and less tenable to keep doing these podcasts in the same way I've done since I started three years back when both Steve and I didn't have quite so much on our plates. That isn't to say it's going away any time soon - if anything it'll be more of a frequent thing, albeit streamlined. But I'd like to do one more in the 'traditional' format and get us up to thirty before mixing things up a bit.
Also up this week is an interview with Tom Schroeder, whose magnificent animated film work includes Marcel, King of Tervuren, a tale of cocky cockerel cuckolding and one of my absolute favourites of 2013. When you've had a read of the interview give the film a watch, it's a good'un:

Monday, 11 May 2015

You had me at "I'd like to peel your skin off"
Today's reason to be rock-back-and-forth-giggling-and-crying happy comes in the form of Faith No More's latest album Sol Invictus being available to stream a week ahead of its physical release. I've been fighting the urge to listen to badly-compressed leaked versions of the album and as such it feels like I'm literally the only FNM fan in the world who hadn't heard it until today. But by Christ it was worth the wait. Every molecule of doubt that it wouldn't be up to their previous standard was jettisoned the moment I heard the first chorus of the opening title track. It'll need a few hundred listens for me to get a proper sense of it as right now listening to it is more of an emotional experience (I have emotions! Who knew?) than anything else, but in the meantime why not join me and treat yourselves?
It feels a bit limp and embarrassing to bring up my own music on the heels of such excellence, but in anticipation of the digital release of my latest Struwwelpeter album The Birdcage I've put up another new song, one that's fairly representative of the strangely upbeat, folksy/poppy feel of the LP as a whole. I imagine if I played this to myself as a teenager he'd screw his fat face up in confusion.
Also want to say thanks again to James of CineMe for having me on his show Short Cuts, talking animation, UWE, Bristol, Skwigly and my now-very-old short The Naughty List. The episode aired at the exact time last week's exit polls were causing the nation to collectively scream into a pillow so if you missed the broadcast you can watch it online here.