Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Rising Sun

Came home to some rather lovely news that Sunscapades just won itself the Best Animation award at the Fylde Film Festival! It's been a slow start for this one as far as getting it out there so this is a really encouraging start and hopefully I'll be able to share news about upcoming screenings in the near future.
This also marks the official world premiere of the film, the first time an animated short of mine has ever actually debuted in the UK, so it's very reassuring to hear it went down well. Once again many thanks to the brilliant talents who helped it get done - Laura-Beth, Hannah, Fiona, Phil and Carwyn in particular - and to the festival team for taking a punt on it. After a bit of a grumpy weekend y'all perked me up some.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Available time to design the cover was clearly limited

https://struwwelpeter.bandcamp.com/album/songs-only-a-mother-could-love
Happy Mother's Day, everyone!
Canadian Mother's Day, that is (before all you non-Canucks panic). Instead of a reissue this month I've decided to put together a new EP collection in loving tribute to the most Canadian Mother I have. Just think, if she hadn't birthed me you wouldn't get to enjoy any of my at-times-moderately-well-received creative endeavours. No zombie duck film, no cartoon witterings, no poorly-rendered nudity - frankly it wouldn't be worth getting up in the morning. So raise a glass to mum and, y'know, to me as well (obviously). From both of us: You're welcome.
These are the six songs out of the 100+ I've written over the years that she likes, or at the very least doesn't find objectionable; a full LP's worth would've proved far trickier to pull off. As one might imagine, this is me at my most pop-ey and accessible so is probably a little easier on the ears than the other records of mine I've been putting up lately. So give 'er a free stream below (and for you non-Bandcampers it's available for a mere bag of shells over on Amazon):

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Hittin' the Beach

http://fyldefilmfestival.co.uk
A promising start for my new film Sunscapades - it has received a Best Animation nomination at this year's Fylde Film Festival (whose prior incarnation the Fylde Film Showcase included Laura-Beth's film Boris-Noris last year, so they already rank highly in my estimation) in beachy Blackpool, fittingly enough.
From what I can tell it's structured a little differently from most festivals, retaining the showcase element for special events that took place over the last couple months, with one more planned for non-nominated films. Folks can check this out at the Blott Art Gallery on May 14th throughout the day, then there'll be a screening/awards ceremony for the nominees that evening at Viva Blackpool.
Wish 'em luck!

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Dogged Persistence

http://feeds.soundcloud.com/stream/438747534-skwigly-skwigly-podcast-80.mp3
For our eightieth episode (EIGHTIETH?!) of the Skwigly Animation Podcast I'm delighted to bring you an assortment of insights into the making of Wes Anderson’s latest critically-acclaimed stop-motion feature Isle of Dogs from four of the film’s key crew members!
This episode features audio from the special presentation Making Isle of Dogs that I was privileged enough to get to chair at the recent Cardiff Animation Festival, where we hear from:
  • Kim Keukeleire (Lead Animator)
    After finishing her Masters degree in Animation Cinematography and Videography at the Enseignement National Supérieur des Arts Visuels (ENSAV) de La Cambre in Brussels in 1992, Kim has worked for several companies such as Passion Pictures, BBC Animations, Aardman, Cosgrove Hall and Will Vinton Studios (now Laika).
    Amongst others, Kim animated on Fantastic Mr Fox (Wes Anderson), Frankenweenie (Tim Burton) and Chicken Run (Nick Park & Peter Lord). She was the animation director of the recently Oscar-nominated French animation feature film My Life as a Courgette.
  • Joshua Flynn (Sculptor/Fabricator)
    Joshua is a sculptor and puppet fabricator specialising in the stop-motion industry for feature films and commercials.
    Originally from Cardiff, Josh studied BA Animation at the University of Glamorgan (now the University of South Wales). After graduating in 2011, he has worked on a number of productions across the UK including Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and his most recent film, Isle of Dogs.
    Together with his brother Nathan, the two of them make up SculptDouble, creating sculptures, maquettes and animations.
  • Kerry Dyer (Head Of Department – Puppet Hospital)
    Kerry has over 10 years experience working in Stop Motion animation, for both TV and Film. Including: Ooglies, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires and Isle Of Dogs.
    She began her career as an animator, before finding she enjoyed the mechanics of armatures and the feel of clay between her fingers. She recently ran a team of ten, stitching together and generally repairing the inhabitants of Trash Island for Isle of Dogs.
Laura-Beth also brings us an exclusive chat with Key Animator Tim Allen, whose stop-motion career began with Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride and has gone on to include TV series such as Fifi and the Flower Tots and Shaun the Sheep with features including Fantastic Mr Fox, Frankenweenie, Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires and Isle of Dogs. Tim also conducts animation workshops at festivals and events across the world.
Also on this episode – an overview of our personal CAF highlights, cultural appropriation, the problem with Apu that The Problem With Apu has brought to light, how not to get a job at Aardman and a special appearance from festival organisers Lauren Orme and Dani Abram.
Direct download here or stream below:

Monday, 30 April 2018

The Brunch Bunch

It's been a week since the Cardiff Animation Festival wrapped and when all's said and done it was an absolutely brilliant first edition, with some of the best overall energy and enthusiasm among the attendees that I've encountered doing the ol' festival rounds. It was a real honour to have been as involved as I was and I have nothing but gratitude and massive respect for the team who pulled it off so well.
For those of you who weren't able to make it, once you've scrubbed the stink of shame off you Laura-Beth has a great write-up on her personal highlights you can check out, while Steve and I will be going through ours in the next podcast due out this week.
https://soundcloud.com/skwigly/sets/skwigly-at-caf-2018
In the meantime I was also able to get recordings from the Filmmaker Brunch sessions in which festival guests whose films were playing in competition were able to chat a bit about their work. These included:
What a haul! You can listen to the three-part podcast minisode series I've produced from these below:

Monday, 16 April 2018

Another limp offering

https://open.spotify.com/album/1RSWntpoDLnNeSm5MVtTXO
The migration of my old tunes to Spotify and other various platforms continues this month with another EP, this time the 2016 Silverfish release Limp and Numb.
For those who missed the original release, this one's a mix of remastered songs from around 2007 with a couple of exclusive tracks thrown in. It's a mix of me being loud/daft and quiet/creepy, something to start off your week on a confusing note with. If nothing else it's nice and short!
Stream below or alternatively check it out on iTunes/Apple Music.

Friday, 13 April 2018

If they call you 'butt' over there it means they like you, I recently learned

https://twitter.com/CardiffAnimFest/status/984763347504594944
It's Friday! We made it to the end of another week! Go us!
That means there's now a mere six days to go before Cardiff Animation Festival kicks off and I'm very excited to be heading over there alongside Skwigly brethren and animationey pals alike.
There's a packed schedule of amazing events from Thursday 19th through to Sunday 22nd and while it's worth taking the time to peruse the full programme here are a couple I'm involved with:
As part of the Industry Day on the 19th I'll be on the 2pm panel Getting To Market with Helen Brunsdon, Adam Bailey and Huw Walters where we'll be discussing "the fine art of promoting and selling your work, from TV ideas to short films, at markets around the world". You can pick up an Industry Day pass here if you've not done so already.
Kim Keukeleire
On Saturday 21st I'll be chairing the Q&A session Making Isle of Dogs at 8:45pm, which will directly follow a 6:30pm screening of the film itself. This will be a great opportunity to learn about the crafting of the exceptional new Wes Anderson film from artists Joshua Flynn (puppetmaker), Kim Keukeleire (lead animator) and Kerry Dyer (puppet repairs), so you won't want to miss it.
I'll also be speaking with some of the attending filmmakers in competition for the Animator's Brunch Q&A sessions that will take place on the 21st and 22nd at 10:30am. Not only will you be able to meet/grill these splendid folks but you'll get to do so with coffee and croissants to hand - plus both sessions are free to attend, so treat yisselfs!
http://www.cardiffanimation.com/caf18-a-night-with-the-trampires
Other festival highlights you'll want to check out include a festival-long exhibition and Friday night special presentation for Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires, the spectacular stop-mo feature I contributed some VFX bits to last summer, as well as a talk by all-around top bloke Grant "Hey Duggee" Orchard, a writing for animation panel, the official launch of Anim18, life drawing, a Bring Your Own Animation session (at which I may attempt a sneaky preview of my latest film Sunscapades), screenings and Q&As for recent features Early Man and The Breadwinner - not to mention a heap of parties and networking events you can get sauced at. Then there's the official selection itself, which as a member of the jury I can assuredly say is packed full of absolutely top-shelf work. Say hello* if you're there!
*Not an obligation. In fact an across-the-room-half-nod is already above and beyond.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Updateables

The fine folks at CRC Press are having themselves a sale so, should you be so inclined, you can pick up my book Independent Animation: Developing, Producing and Distributing Your Animated Films at 20% off! Well that's surely better than a kick in the pants. In fact if you buy two or more CRC Press books you get 25% off, so go ahead and have yourselves a little browse. Here's one I recommend. And another. And another. And another.
http://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/The-Adventures-of-Bertram-Fiddle-Episode-1-A-Dreadly-Business-1356997.html
Also, having previously mentioned that the first Bertram Fiddle game A Dreadly Business was coming to Nintendo Switch, I can cheerily confirm it's available now on the console's official store for a measly fivepoundce. Get fiddlin'!

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Onward and Upward

http://feeds.soundcloud.com/stream/424910595-skwigly-skwigly-podcast-79.mp3
Our latest podcast is a little more heavygoing than most, what with there being a certain big, creepy, Canadian elephant in the room. It's probably been hard to miss the aftermath of Ariane Lange, Katie Rice and Robyn Byrd's speaking out against John Kricfalusi, and while a fair few folks have been asking me about my thoughts on the matter, Ren and Stimpy enthusiast that I've been over the decades, I haven't had a whole lot to add to the discussion that doesn't merely echo the same mix of disappointment and sadness that so many others in the animation community are feeling. That being said, this podcast has grown over the years into a platform to spread awareness about key issues that we hope said community can rely on as well as being, as Steve puts it, "therapy for the both of us", so for those who are curious about where we stand it's pretty much all in there. Even more stuff has come out since the episode was recorded, so I have a feeling this saga is far from over.
To lighten the mood some we were able to include Steve's excellent recent chat with Simon Tofield, creator of the indie-animation-turned-merchandisable-behemoth Simon’s Cat, recorded during last month's tenth anniversary celebrations. We also give YouTube's ‘Copyright School’ a deserved smashing and go through some upcoming Cardiff Animation Festival highlights. As always you can direct download or stream below:

Monday, 2 April 2018

Easter Mundi

http://rio2c.com/entretenimento
Another update from the Lendas Animadas camp - one of my episodes Como Surgiram as Estrelas will be featured as part of a special series of programmes taking place at the Rio Creative Conference this weekend. Put together with the lovely folks at Anima Mundi (where this episode screened in competition last year and was picked as one of the 10 best Brazilian films of that edition) the screening kicks off 11am on April 7th at the Cidade das Artes in Rio de Janeiro.