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!

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