Monday, 16 November 2015

'Cast Away
Quick podcast roundup. In episode 37 Samuel Ortí Martí - AKA Sam - talks to Steve about his Spanish stop-motion horror pastiche Pos Eso, which looks like great fun. Also Katie Steed of Slurpy Studios joins the podcast to give us the lowdown on this year's Dublin Animation Film Festival.
In episode 38, which just went up today in anticipation of us all being at MAF this week, Laura-Beth joins us to discuss the special Skwigly showcase screenings we've put together and the success of Tinman Creative's Super Science Friends. Guests in this episode are Sheldon Cohen, director of the NFB classic The Sweater discussing his latest film My Heart Attack, as well as Rhiannon Evans who some may know from her short film Heartstrings and recent NFTS grad film Fulfilament.

Both My Heart Attack and Fulfilament will be part of our MAF showcases, on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. See you there!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Fringe on top

I recently mentioned that Skwigly will have a couple of fringe screenings at next week's Manchester Animation Festival, and I'm pleased to say the full info for both is now confirmed. Curated by myself and Laura-Beth, these events compile an assortment of standout work from the last couple of years, from films that have caught our eye at festivals, Skwigly Showcase submissions, films we've done prior Skwigly coverage on and MAF entries that couldn't be programmed into the main categories for whatever reason. It's been great fun putting these together and many thanks to all the filmmakers, studios and distributors who've all pitched in!
Both screenings will take place in the event space at Manchester's HOME, the main MAF venue, and are free to all (though festival passholders will have priority):
Screening 1: Existential Enticements
Tuesday November 17th, 4pm 

If The Cuckoo Don’t Crow
Dir. Steve Kirby, UK
Runtime: 1:50

If I Was God…
Dir. Cordell Barker, Canada
Runtime: 8:30

The Evening Her Mind Jumped Out of Her Head
Dir. Kim Noce, Shaun Clarke, UK
Runtime: 8:00

The Urban Fox
Dir. Joanna Hepworth, UK
Runtime: 1:45

Dir. Animade, UK
Runtime: 6:17

An Ode To Love
Dir. Matthew Darragh, Ireland
Runtime: 7:33

The Meek
Dir. Joe Brumm, Australia
Runtime: 7:26

Mr. Director
Dir. Andy Martin, UK
Runtime: 6:50

Dir. Sue Dunham, UK/Canada
Runtime: 3:50

Clockwork Jerk: Tea
Dir. Oli Putland, UK
Runtime: 1:28

Dir. Benjamin Arcand, Canada
Runtime: 5:40

My Heart Attack
Dir. Sheldon Cohen, Canada
Runtime: 13:43

Hart’s Desire
Dir. Gavin C. Robinson, Scotland
Runtime: 6:23
Screening 2: Fetching Fascinations
Wednesday November 18th, 3:30pm 

Dir. Claude Cloutier, Canada
Runtime: 4:45

Dir. Stephen Ong, UK
Runtime: 1:43

Dir. Mike A. Smith, USA
Runtime: 9:03

Dir. Ben Prudden, UK
Runtime: 1:30

Dir. Rhiannon Evans, UK
Runtime: 7:37

HeCTA: The Concept
Dir. Chris Shepherd, UK
Runtime: 3:37

Loop Ring Chop Drink
Dir. Nicolas Ménard, UK
Runtime: 10:30

Dir. Jean-Baptiste Aziere, Delphine Delannoy, Simon Goeneutte-Lefevre, Edwin Leeds, Camille Roubinowitz, France
Runtime: 2:25

Dir. Aidan McAteer, Ireland
Runtime: 8:45

‘Shop Genie
Dir. John Lily, UK
Runtime: 1:14

Lucy and The Limbs
Dir. Edlyn Capulong, USA
Runtime: 2:49

Dir. Robert Grieves, UK
Runtime: 6:15

The Kik: Cupido
Dir. Natali Voorthuis, Netherlands
Runtime: 2:54

Dir. Matei Branea, Romania
Runtime: 14:48

For more info on the MAF festival and its other excellent events including the not-to-be-missed Joanna Quinn life-drawing class, Tomm Moore masterclass, and the always fun Skwigly Animation Quiz (that I'll be co-presenting with quizmaster Steve) check out their official site. Hope to see you there!

Monday, 9 November 2015

KLIK! Bait

Since returning from KLIK! and its brief respite from what has to be classified as one of the most stressful and busy periods of my professional life (I love it, but I love to complain too) I've managed to piece together a brand new series of Skwigly podcast minisodes, something we haven't done in a while. The first three episodes feature excerpts from the festival's Filmmaker Talkshow sessions hosted by animation buff Hans Walther.
Unfortunately due to an audio glitch with the recordings provided not all of the interview sessions could be included but there's a lot of great insight from attending filmmakers Natali Voorthuis, Roman Klochkov, Stephanie Blakey, Laura d'Addazio, Alexandre Mailleux, Frederic Siegel, Veronica Montaño, Manuela Leuensberger, Lukas Suter, Sacha Feiner, Marilyn Haddad, Monique Almelle Renault, Susanna Szabo, Eugenia Pashkina, Liz el Saadany, Fela Bellotto, Lalita Brunna and Marieke Blaauw of Job, Joris and Marieke.
In episode four I meet the remaining two-thirds of said studio, Job Roggeveen and Joris Oprins, discussing their body of work that includes the fantastic Mute, the Oscar-nominated A Single Life and their most recent short (Otto). Also in the final episode I meet festival director Yvonne van Ulden, catch up with the brilliant PES about what he's been up to since last year's podcast appearance and speak with Cartoon Saloon's Tomm Moore about his involvement in the multi-artist animated feature The Prophet. You can listen to all four episodes via our Skwigly at KLIK! playlist below:
On top of the podcasts you can also read my report on the festival as a whole (as well as some personal highlights from the official selection) over on Film Hub NWC, the fantastic organisation behind This Is Not A Cartoon and who provided a bursary that helped make the trip over to KLIK! possible.
Special thanks to Tünde Vollenbroek, Samuele Mini, Jen Hall and Alison Kennedy. Here's hoping I'll be back over there next year!

Monday, 2 November 2015

November Reign

I'm in the last month of the oft-cryptically-alluded-to Project Group-Hug, something that has turned out to be a mammoth endeavour that I'm looking forward to revealing properly soon. Needless to say it's taking up more or less every waking hour of my life in this final stretch, so expect blog posts to be few and short for the next little while.!infantil/cl4i
However I do have some updated screening news for my new film, with some time and date specifics. At Portugal's Área de Contenção it will be screened on November 7th at 11am as part of the festival's Monstro Debaixo da Cama program.[prog]=1761&cHash=c58b8feeb0de9ed1107c0ae8c76a7b5f
As previously mentioned it will screen at Interfilm Berlin's 31st International Short Film Festival at 11pm November 13th in the section Eject XVIII: The Long Night of Weird Shorts alongside some other great films such as Steve Kirby's If the Cuckoo Don't Crow, Rory Waudby-Tolley's Tusk, Andreas Hykade's Myself Universe and Two Films About Loneliness by William Bishop-Stephens. Ich bin ein Berlin-type-guy!
Also in Germany it will be shown as part of the Flensburg Short Film Festival's International Animation screening at 7:45pm on November 21st, again amongst some fine work such as Leonid Shmelkov's Very Lonely Cock.
Those who may find themselves at the Manchester Animation Festival later this month may wish to swing by our Skwigly Showcase screenings myself and Laura-Beth have curated that will take place on Tuesday 17th at 4pm and Wednesday 18th at 3:30pm. There's a good chance that said new film will have been sneakily snuck in to the Tuesday screening. I should have more info and specifics on these shortly, so check back!
Righto, back to group-huggin'...

Friday, 30 October 2015

Wherever I May Roam

Doing some phone-bloggin' while on the road at the wonderful KLIK! Amsterdam Animation Festival. There'll be quite a bit of reporting on the event over on Skwigly and Film Hub NWC in the near future but the short version is I'm having a blast and absolutely love what I've been able to see of the city. Here's hoping I'll be able to return before long and make a proper vacay out of it.
Alas my new film, which I may as well reveal is called Klementhro (I recommend having a made-up word be your film title, it really makes the Google alerts easy to track) didn't make the grade amongst the festival's official selection but during my daily indulgence of mobile data roaming I've deduced that it will be playing in Portugal at Área de Contenção at some point during the 6th-8th November. I haven't had a great deal of luck working out precisely when but according to various online reports it will play in the Monstros Debaixo da Cama (Monsters Under The Bed) program. November is in fact looking to be a pretty big month for screenings of the new film, so I'll be sure to keep you all updated with more specifics when I return.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Adventure Time
In the latest episode of the Skwigly Animation Podcast I catch up with Seb Burnett of Bristol-based Rumpus Animation, who are presently hard at work gathering funds for the second installment of The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle, the animated adventure series that debuted last year.  I did a few voices for episode one, so give generously and your ol' woodlouse-eating pal Count Fulchmuckle might ride again:

Also in this episode Steve meets Phil Chalk, Managing Director of Factory, who recently produced the successful reboot of The Clangers among other projects.
Stream the latest episode above, subscribe on iTunes or direct download here.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Northern Expansion
Good news to kick the week off, volumes one and two of Throat are now available to my fellow Canadians. This may very well mean that it'll show up in some indie retailers, but if you're at peace with procuring your high quality literature online you can find them on at the links below:
Book 1: Coping Is Coping (B&W Edition)
Book 1: Coping Is Coping (Full Colour Edition)
Book 2: Manageable Unease (B&W Edition)
Book 2: Manageable Unease (Full Colour Edition)
I don't know where things stand as far as volume three but fingers crossed it will follow shortly. Now for a snifter of Sortilège in celebration. Look at me, putting on airs.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Yabba Yab
In the latest episode of the Skwigly Animation Podcast I'm very happy to present an extended version of the previously-discussed interview with animator, artist, graphic novelist and video game designer Doug TenNapel. On top of his current ongoing projects such as the Dreamworks/Netflix series VeggieTales In The House and the ongoing comics series Nnewts, this past week has seen the release of his latest and much-anticipated new video game project Armikrog. Capturing the charm, masterful animation and appealing zaniness of Doug’s earlier work with such video game classics as the Earthworm Jim and Neverhood series, Armikrog brings together an established team of talents including Mike Dietz and Ed Schofield of Pencil Test Studios, composer Terry Scott Taylor along with voiceover artists Michael J. Nelson and Rob Paulsen.
Also discussed in this episode is the first wave of officially announced Manchester Animation Festival events, including special screenings, masterclasses, panel discussions, workshops and an impressive array of guests.
Stream the latest episode above, direct download or subscribe on the ol' iTunes!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Chatty Man
It's been a while since I last rounded up some non-podcast Skwigly interviews, so sit back and settle in for some good readin'. From here in the old U of K there's a Q'n'A with Nexus director Jack Cunningham, discussing recent projects including the animated musings of performer and writer Rashida Jones. This is part of California Inspires Me, an extended project focusing on a variety of Californian artists that also include Kim Gordon, Jack Black and Brian Wilson among others.
I'm also very happy to catch up with Theodore Ushev, who I previously interviewed about his excellent 20th Century Trilogy and art installation work. Since then the work he has been producing include two films that manage to be both identifiable as his style yet curiously disparate - Sonámbulo, a bright and energetic celebration of music, romance and art - and Blood Manifesto, an uncompromising and harsh poem animated literally in his own blood. Very possibly some sweat and tears mixed in there, too.
The latter of Theodore's new films is an NFB production, as is Sheldon Cohen's unplanned return to the medium of animated short filmmaking My Heart Attack. Inspired by real-life events, it's a fascinating look at not just the turmoil of cardiac arrest but also the unexpectedly traumatic road to recovery following invasive surgery. Animation buffs will doubtless know Sheldon from his classic NFB short The Sweater and it was a real privilege to get some time with him.
The same goes for Dutch-Canadian animator Paul Driessen, who has been making amazing animated shorts for four decades including the recent Oedipus, Cat Meets Dog and my personal favourite The Boy Who Saw The Iceberg. Here he elaborates on his working process, the changing landscape of short films, the difference between animating at the NFB and the Netherlands and his beginnings on George Dunning's The Yellow Submarine.
Another recent interview to go up is with American animator, comic artist and game designer Doug TenNapel, one of my more direct formal influences via such 90s game classics as the Earthworm Jim series which featured the best traditionally-informed sprite animation there had ever been up to that point. He's discussing his latest project Armikrog, a stop-motion adventure game that was released this week to much anticipation and I'm looking forward to devoting some weekend hours to it.
Extended versions of some of the above will be making their way onto the Skwigly Podcast in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes and ears open for 'em!

Friday, 25 September 2015

I got me some of that Oktoberfest spirit

More upcoming festival news for those of you might be feeling a little without a paddle on this fine Friday. I'm very happy to say my adorably shy new film will be getting two German outings this coming November, firstly at Interfilm Berlin's 31st International Short Film Festival which runs from November 10th-15th.
Shortly thereafter it will play at the Flensburger Kurtzfilmtage (or the Flensburg Short Film Festival, but frankly I prefer the German name) which runs from November 18th-22nd. I'll fill you all in with the exact dates/times/venue info when I know. Needless to say I'm very happy that it's finally reached German shores as that country was where my third film The Naughty List got probably the most consistent and positive responses. Danke schön!