Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Llama Face!

https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/237816518/download?client_id=02gUJC0hH2ct1EGOcYXQIzRFU91c72Ea
In the latest episode of the Skwigly Animation Podcast we meet Jay Grace, director of Aardman‘s latest Shaun the Sheep special The Farmer’s Llamas (broadcast this Boxing Day), following on from the character’s successful feature film outing earlier in the year.
Also in this episode we welcome back producer Michael Rose (who previously appeared in episode 8 of the podcast) of Magic Light Pictures, whose latest animated adaptation is the holiday special Stick Man (which will air on Xmas) based on the children’s book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
Stream the latest episode below or direct download here.


This is our last episode before Xmas itself but be sure to check back around the 30th for a very special end-of-year podcast that'll be a lot of fun indeed.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Blizzard

Here are some more Skwigly advent calendar contributions to help you get your holly and jolly on:
Claude Cloutier

Sean Cox

Stephen McNally

Ross Phillips

Blue Zoo
We've passed the halfway point but fret not, there's still plenty more goodness to come. In the meantime you may wish to peruse some other Skwigly offerings such as Lucinda Parry's recent interview with Peter Sohn (director) and Denise Ream (producer) of Pixar's new feature The Good Dinosaur:
Also Laura-Beth has some holiday gift suggestions for the animator in your life, as well as interviews with Pa director Lawrence Rowell, Snowfall director Conor Whelan and Cooped director Mike A. Smith, all fantastic films from this year (and the latter we had the pleasure of screening at MAF last month). Meanwhile Steve Henderson has interviewed Fresh Cut Grass director Rob Cullen, Stephen Cavalier has added some more entries to his ongoing 100 Greatest Animated Shorts series, Johannes Wolters brings us a chat with Pete Doctor (director) and Jonas Rivera (producer) of Pixar's other 2015 film Inside Out (now out to buy) and new contributor Heather Wiggins gives an overview of MAF's inaugural edition as well as the feature film highlights of 2015. Meanwhile I recently caught up with Canadian director Howie Shia of PPF House about his latest NFB film BAM (a fabulous piece of work indeed) along with a Q&A with Tom Gran of Spin Kick Bros about their new webseries Lone Wolves.

I was also kindly invited by Marco de Blois to contribute again to Revue24's end-of-year animated short film critics' lists, my personal top ten being: 
  1. World of Tomorrow, Don Hertzfeldt (États-Unis / USA) 
  2. Teeth, Tom Brown, Daniel Gray, Hungary (Hongrie-États-Unis-Angleterre / Hungary-USA-England) 
  3. Splintertime, Rosto (France-Pays-Bas-Belgique / France-Netherlands-Belgium) 
  4. We can't Live Without Cosmos, Constantin Bronzit (Russie / Russia) 
  5. Ernie Biscuit, Adam Elliot (Australie / Australia) 
  6. If I Was God..., Cordell Barker (Canada) 
  7. Stems, Ainslie Henderson (Royaume-Uni / UK) 
  8. Sonámbulo, Theodore Ushev (Canada) 
  9. Very Lonely Cock, Leonid Shmelkov (Russie / Russia) 
  10. The Story of Percival Pilts, Janette Goodey, John Lewis (Australie / Australia) 
Interesting to note that there isn't quite as notable a disparity between my picks and the other critics as last year. Have a read of the full article and see what you think. I'm looking forward to checking out the films others have picked that I've not yet come across so far.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Birdsong

Earlier this year I released my latest album The Birdcage digitally, bucking a long-established tradition (2009 - 2010 - 2012 - 2013) of releasing my projects right before the holidays so as to probably be too late to arrive on time, marketing genius though I am.
Now that the seemingly unconquerable mountain that is Project Group-Hug has been conquered (for now) I've had a snatch of time to finally release it on CD for you traditionalists out there. CDs were these shiny round discy-wotsits from the long, long ago. Ask your parents.
So for those of you who fancy your indie music with an extra retro vibe, pick up the fifth Struwwelpeter album The Birdcage at Amazon today! It comes with fancy-shmancy new artwork, lyrics booklet and a bonus hidden track to boot. Well, it isn't that hidden now.
The extra song is in fact one of the first songs I ever wrote, way back in 1997. My balls were in mid-drop at the time and so it's only ever existed as a warbly, adolescent whine recorded on cassette (don't even bother asking your parents, I'm not sure I even remember what those were all about) until I re-recorded it during The Birdcage sessions as an experiment to see if it held up. And did it? Well...sorta kinda not really but sorta kinda. It certainly wasn't album-worthy but it's a fairly innocuous, mellow tune with some nice moments so what the hey, I've snuck it in there. Of course the album is still available to buy as a digital download via Bandcamp, and you can preview the whole ordeal below:


The perfect gift for the hipster in your life who insist they only listen to the most obscure and indie music; this'll learn that smug bugger good!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Look at 'em go!

It's that time of year again, and to whip up some merriment we at Skwigly are gathering together some of our favourite animators to contribute to our main page advent calendar throughout December. Check back each day on the site for a new artist's illustration/animated GIF to feast your eyes on. In the meantime here's a smattering to get you in the seasonal mood:
Ross Hogg

Robert Morgan

Andy Martin

Steve Kirby

Dan Emmerson
More a'comin'!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

All Hugged Out

So it would seem that the oft-mentioned though rarely-elaborated-upon Project Group-Hug is finished. As the above would indicate - and as I'm sure I've confirmed previously - it is indeed a book. A bloody great big book with lots of words that will hopefully be readable and entertaining. Helping out on that front in a major way is the fact that it was built around over fifty interviews conducted over the last year and a half (hence 'project group-hug' - rest assured that won't be the actual title), not to mention a boatload of very pretty pictures. I won't elaborate on the exact specifics just yet but in brief the project is a bringing together of insights into the working processes of some of the best artists of the contemporary independent animation scene. It's been a massive undertaking and everyone involved has been beyond brilliant with their time, assistance and wisdom.
All being well the publication date will be around June/July 2016, so obviously I'll keep you posted in the interim. I'm quite looking forward to talking about a book that isn't some variation of Throat for a change (though don't forget, book 3 is out now! Makes a perfect xmas gift! Eh?).
So that should explain all the cryptic allusions to being busy - turns out it's actually true. Some lessons I've learned from writing a book:
1. 90% of the times I say 'which', I should be saying 'that'. But that's also the case with literally everyone I interviewed, so maybe Word can keep its passive-aggressive little green wiggly lines to itself.
2. Once you clear 100,000 words in Word for Mac, the word count bar freaks out and disappears so you have to load it up from the menu to check your progress.
3. The way Jack Torrence behaves in this scene - once thought to be absolutely objectionable - is completely reasonable:

Hopefully I wasn't that bad. Much love to ma shawty, friends and family for tolerating me being the "constantly banging on about writing a book" guy this last little while. I'm hard work at the best of times so that extra layer probably wasn't much fun.

Monday, 16 November 2015

'Cast Away

https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/231497008/download?client_id=02gUJC0hH2ct1EGOcYXQIzRFU91c72Ea
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.

https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/233277949/download?client_id=02gUJC0hH2ct1EGOcYXQIzRFU91c72Ea&oauth_token=1-138878-14297261-a90661512c4f10
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):

http://www.manchesteranimationfestival.co.uk/events/skwigly-showcase-1-existential-enticements/
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

Chronemics
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

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

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

Wackatdooo
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


http://www.manchesteranimationfestival.co.uk/events/skwigly-showcase-2-fetching-fascinations/
Screening 2: Fetching Fascinations
Wednesday November 18th, 3:30pm 

Carface
Dir. Claude Cloutier, Canada
Runtime: 4:45

Light
Dir. Stephen Ong, UK
Runtime: 1:43

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

Flush
Dir. Ben Prudden, UK
Runtime: 1:30

Fulfilament
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

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

Deadly
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

Sausage
Dir. Robert Grieves, UK
Runtime: 6:15

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

Omulan!
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.
http://areadecontencao.wix.com/areadecontencao#!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.
http://www.interfilm.de/en/festival2015/programme/detail.html?items[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.
http://www.manchesteranimationfestival.co.uk/
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.
https://www.facebook.com/areadecontencao
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

https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/229379459/download?client_id=02gUJC0hH2ct1EGOcYXQIzRFU91c72Ea&oauth_token=1-138878-14297261-a90661512c4f10
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

http://throatbook.com
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 Amazon.ca 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

https://soundcloud.com/skwigly/skwigly-podcast-35/download
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

http://www.skwigly.co.uk/nexus-jack-cunningham/
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.
http://www.skwigly.co.uk/theodore-ushev-sonambulo-blood-manifesto/
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.
http://www.skwigly.co.uk/sheldon-cohen/
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.
http://www.skwigly.co.uk/paul-driessen/
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.
http://www.skwigly.co.uk/doug-tennapel-armikrog/
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!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Chatter

https://soundcloud.com/skwigly/skwigly-podcast-34/download
In the latest episode of the Skwigly Animation Podcast Steve meet the talents behind CBBC’s new Danger Mouse reboot, including voice cast members Alexander Armstrong, Kevin Eldon and Shauna Macdonald. We also hear from CBBC’s Head of Animation Development Sarah Muller, Bob Higgins of Fremantle Media, Head Writer Ben Ward and Series Director Rob Cullen of Boulder Media.
Also discussed in this episode are first impressions of the new show from animator and Skwigly contributor Bianca Ansems, while Laura-Beth Cowley and award-winning animation director Aidan McAteer (Deadly, The Gentleman’s Guide to Villainy) join the show to discuss the highlights of this year’s Encounters Festival international animation competition screenings. Stream, subscribe or download for some aural nourishment!

Friday, 11 September 2015

Kick, Scream etc

After unearthing last week's Garbage cover I've had more of a rummage through old recordings and found this passable stab at some Chuck Mosely-era Faith No More: This was recorded in Cheltenham in the Spring of 2011 to a positive crowd who evidently weren't familiar enough with the original track to appreciate what a second-rate job I was doing with it.
https://www.animationfestival.ca
If that's left you feeling without a paddle, back in the world of animation I'm happy to say my sneaky new film will be drifting its way to Canadian shores as part of the esteemed Ottawa International Animation Festival!
Alas, it's proved too intimidating and impressive to be playing in competition but the extremely kind and beautiful folks at Laika (the studio behind Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls) will be screening it at their Salon des Refusés party this coming Thursday, September 17th at 11pm.
Similarly you may catch a glimpse of the film if you head down to the Rumpus Animation/Skwigly party in Bristol on that same night. That'll take place a little earlier, from 7pm UK time, so if you're in town for Encounters head on over to Kong's of King Street and we'll see you there!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Fight Club

https://soundcloud.com/skwigly/skwigly-podcast-33/download
In the latest episode of the Skwigly Animation Podcast we’re delighted to welcome back legendary animator and The Animator’s Survival Kit author Richard Williams to discuss his incredible new short film Prologue. Known for his work as Animation Director on the highly-acclaimed Who Framed Roger Rabbit and his recently-restored feature film masterwork The Thief and The Cobbler, Richard has produced the stunningly rendered new piece as an offshoot of a longer-form feature. Produced by Imogen Sutton with the assistance of Aardman Animations, Prologue premiered at this year’s Annecy festival and will begin an Oscar-qualifying run of screenings at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles from September 11th through to the 17th.
Rendered with exquisite detail and jaw-dropping realism, Prologue (an offshoot from Richard’s ongoing, longer-form project bearing the tongue-in-cheek working title Will I Live to Finish This?) depicts a brutal fight between Athenian and Spartan warriors while a young girl looks on.
Also discussed in this episode are recent Bristol Festival of Puppetry and Cardiff Animation Nights events, the much-anticipated Danger Mouse remake and animation programmer Kieran Argo discusses the highlights of the upcoming Encounters Festival in Bristol at which Prologue will have its UK premiere on September 18th.
Thanks so much to Kieran and Imogen as well as Kellie and Beryl at Plaster for all their help getting this one organised as it was a real privilege to get such insight from the man himself.
Stream the latest episode below, subscribe on iTunes or direct download here.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Don't ask me why

Outside of work my time is primarily focused on legal documentation relating to the ever-snowballing Project Group-Hug, so there's not much by way of new gossip, I'm afeared. Instead here's some more of my musically musical music. This song is ELEVEN (gawd) years old, from my presently out-of-print 2004 album Rapeseed. Evidently I sought title inspiration from my kitchen cabinet back then. I've cleaned/spruced it up a touch to make it a little easier on the ears. It was originally intended as a theme song to an animated sitcom I wanted to make at the time. That plan went out of the window the moment I actually started studying animation but not that long ago I unearthed some scripts and a sort of amateur series bible I'd put together. Here are some sample storylines:



What wonderment could've been, eh? I guess the itch to do something sitcom-ey was ultimately scratched by my thesis film House Guest.
I also note that this month marks the 20th anniversary of Garbage's eponymous debut LP, which the band are celebrating in style. They were always a big inspiration on the production/composition side of things so I have a lot of love for them. To mark the occasion I've dug out my patchy attempt at a cover of the deep track 'A Stroke of Luck' during a live show from about four years back. Loving tribute or hideous caterwauling, I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions:

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Puppet Masters

https://soundcloud.com/skwigly/skwigly-podcast-32/download
In the latest episode of the Skwigly Animation Podcast we go primal with recent NFTS graduate Simon Cartwright, whose short MANOMAN is a joyously dark, twisted (and to some of us, curiously relatable) marriage of animation and live-action puppetry. Steve managed to get some time to interview Simon at EIFF this year and a darn enjoyable listen it is too. Also joining the podcast this episode is puppet specialist, technical instructor and animation author Mary Murphy, discussing the Bristol Festival of Puppetry (whose 2015 edition kicks off this week) and her exclusive workshop Stop Motion on a Shoestring.
Also discussed in this episode are the latest developments from Skwigly’s ongoing series of animation screenings This Is Not A Cartoon, sex education via animation as well as the pleasing success of previous guest Signe Baumane‘s independent feature film Rocks In My Pockets and its recent screening as part of the Bechdel Test Fest.
Stream the latest episode above or direct download here.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Syrosly good news

http://www.animasyros.gr/
As my new film premieres today I've also gotten word that it will be paddling its way to Greece for this year's edition of the Anima Syros festival and market. The festival takes place on Syros Island from September 24th-27th. The full programme will go up on September 7th so I should have more specifics then.
While this is my first inclusion in Anima Syros I generally have a bit of a soft spot for Greece as it's the country of my first ever official selection (a rough cut of my second film, oddly enough) and I've had a pretty clement relationship with Grecian festivals since. I also really like the film Dogtooth. Just saying.
DON'T DO IT, LOVE...

Monday, 17 August 2015

It Starts

http://www.festival-anonimul.ro/home_en
Festival update with specifics on the premiere of my new film at the Anonimul International Film Festival, based in the idyllic-looking Danube Delta. The film will be part of the Competition 4 programme that will screen this Thursday (20th) at 5:45pm at the Green Village Resort, followed by an outdoor screening (I think) at 11:45pm. It will screen again at Green Village the following day (Friday 21st) at 3:30pm. So for those of you lucky enough to be in attendance, please do check it out!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Old Yeller

I dunno. It made sense at the time.
While I'm still keen to steer the musically-inclined amongst you toward my latest album The Birdcage with the toothy, glistening grin of a huckster shilling snake-oil, this week I dug out an older track from way back in '07 and gave it a bit of spit'n'polish. This is from an album of electro-cheese I wrote for some friends who helped with the production. At the time they were popping up as DJ troupe The Labrys Trio playing the various gay bars of New South Wales and wanted some original material to throw into their sets. The overall album, released as The Labrys Quartet (I was their 'honorary fourth lesbian') came out a bit patchy if I'm honest but there were enough nice bits to justify an eventual reissue down the line. This one I quite like for being so uncharacteristically DnB compared to most of my other stuff. One big lament is the choice of title/lyrics - had I but known how hideously overplayed the phrase 'Keep Calm and Carry On' would have become I'd have gone another way. Hindsight, 20/20, etc. As she often did with the early Struwwelpeter albums, my old pal Alison weighed in on the drum programming side of things with this one. Listen below or keep for keepsies, 'cause I'm kindness personified. On the subject of old, shoutey songs I also recently threw up a remastered version of the very first track from the very first Struwwelpeter LP, originally recorded way back in 2003. Juxtaposed against the general mellowness of The Birdcage it seems I had a lot more Red Bull in me back then. I'm off to spend a mellow weekend away with no distractions save for the new Palahniuk, but to leave you all with a literature recommendation of my own (not Throat, for a change) have a read of my review of experimental filmmaker Steven Woloshen's Scratch, Crackle and Pop, a very enjoyable read that made an area of filmmaking I had little frame of reference for very accessible and appealing:
http://www.skwigly.co.uk/scratch-crackle-pop-review/