Saturday, 13 July 2019

Round Up

Howdy folks. Still kicking around, just about, although as ever there's barely enough time in the day to get on here with updates. So let's sneeze 'em all out at once, shall we?
Hey, guess what's on sale again? That's right, until the end of the month you can snag yourself a copy of my book Independent Animation: Directing, Producing and Distributing Your Animated Films at the publisher's site with 20% off (25% off if you buy more than one book, as per). It's the ideal tome for anyone out there who's considering making their own film and is after some handy advice to make it as unique and impactful as possible - and not just from my mediocre ass, but the likes of fully proper animation champions like Adam Elliot, Kirsten Lepore, Bill Plympton, Signe Baumane, Ruth Lingford, PES, Robert Morgan, Tonko House, the late great Rosto and many many more. Plus it's crammed with hundreds of byoodeefull colour pictures if all that word-readin' hurts your head.
While most of the spring and summer has been dedicated to creating visuals for a TV series here in the UK, I thought I'd share a few recent projects from my day job at the wonderful Shy Guys Studios here in Bristol that are now online. I didn't design any of these but they've been great in helping me get to grips more with rigged character work.
https://shyguys.co.uk/work/the-costs-of-whistleblowing/
The Costs of Whistleblowing - this is something we did for Queens Management School with some cautionary advice for employees who are contemplating speaking out against workplace skullduggery and suchlike.
https://shyguys.co.uk/work/geoff-needs-an-explainer/
Geoff Needs an Explainer - this is essentially a promo for the studio itself. If you like what you see then be sure to hire them so they can keep us busy. Design by Ryan Biercewicz.
https://shyguys.co.uk/work/adulting-cards/
Milestones for New Mums - nice little gift idea (for mums annoyed that their new offspring are hogging the limelight) and definitely on the funner end of the commercials production spectrum.  While I did the bulk of the character animation for the first two films I did about a third of it for this one, chiefly the first scene and the odd shot here and there afterward. Alas I can't take credit for the poo-nami which is the show-stealer. Design by Harrison Simmonds.
https://shyguys.co.uk/anxiety-tips/
Practical Tips for Dealing with Anxiety - we put this one together as an internal project alongside our commissioned work. Again I only did some of the final animation with this one, all in all it's turned out really nicely so knock wood it'll resonate with folks. Design by Harrison Simmonds.
https://miaf.net/events/late-night-bizarre/
Sunscapades update (well, amendment) - things definitely seem to be slowing down on the festivals front for my little misfit film but there are still a couple on the horizon. The next event to play it will be the Melbourne International Animation Festival in the Late Night Bizarre programme, although the screening will be at the Treasury Theatre (still at 9pm on the 19th) and not the AMCI as previously thought.
Later on in the month Sunscapades will be getting its first African screening (hopefully for real this time) at the Accra Animation Film Festival as part of a special Best of Encounters presentation, following the film's inclusion in the Encounters Short Film Festival here in Bristol last year. The screening will take place on Monday July 29th 5pm - for venue info and whatnot check out their Facebook page.
Speaking of Encounters, this year's edition will be launching its competition programme soon so be sure to keep your eyes on their site. As part of the preselection team for the animation section of the festival I can safely say there's some stunning work that will be on offer and I hope to see some of you fine folks there in September!
I think that's all I gots for now, will be back when the next sneeze builds up probably.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Shoulder Rubbing

http://feeds.soundcloud.com/stream/641998422-skwigly-skwigly-podcast-91.mp3
In episode 91 of the Skwigly Animation Podcast we talk through some of the film highlights of this year’s Annecy festival award winners, including new work from Bruno Collet, Ludovic Houplain, Thomas Renoldner, Pedro Casavecchia and Daria Kashcheeva.
I'm also delighted to welcome special guest Regina Pessoa, whose latest film Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days picked up the special award for Best Original Music as well as the Jury Award for a Short Film following its debut earlier this month at Animafest Zagreb.
We also speak with Jérémy Clapin, another double-winner at this year’s edition whose new feature film I Lost My Body won the Audience Award and the Cristal for a Feature Film. Having also picked up the Nespresso Grand Prize after screening at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival’s International Critics’ Week the film has been picked up for distribution by Netflix.
Also discussed in this episode: Annecy’s swelling footfall, making Aladdin ‘hip’, when post-production works against animation and the plight of long-running Brazilian festival Anima Mundi, who are presently raising funds to ensure next month’s edition can go ahead.
Stream below or direct download:

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Carnage

Following up on my first post of the month I can confirm that Sunscapades will indeed be getting itself another German screening at the wonderful International Short Film Festival Detmold before May is through. It'll sneak in on the 31st as part of their International Mixed Short Films block which kicks off 10pm at the Culture & Art gallery.
I also hinted at hitting a bit of a milestone in my last post and, having double-checked all my documentation, can confirm that with the film's subsequent inclusion in the Sydney Film Festival's Animation After Dark programme on June 6th I will have officially cleared 200 international festival inclusions!
Granted this is spread over ten years and five films, but I’ll allow myself a wee nugget of pride having operated without representation, distributors or sales agents all this time.
So much love and gratitude to all the festivals and touring programmes, whether still kicking around or not, who took a punt on my weird shit over the years.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Trifecta

Goin' on tour! Sort of.
As previously mentioned Sunscapades screens 8pm tonight at the Australian International Animation Festival in Wagga Wagga's Forum 6 cinema. Even better news is the Late Night Bizarre programme that the film's a part of will be popping up at two other top-tier Australian fests over the course of the summer.
Next month sees it at the prestigious Sydney Film Festival under the alternate title Animation After Dark. This will be on Thursday June 6th 8:30pm at Dendy Cinemas Newtown.
Then in July it will be at the Melbourne International Animation Festival on the 19th at 9pm. Right now it looks like their site is in a bit of a gestation period but I'm pretty sure the venue for it will be the AMCI.
All three of these have been on my festival wish-list for a good long while so it's a real thrill to be involved. This also signifies a bit of a milestone in my indie filmmaking career that I'll elaborate on in my next post.
Ooh, what a tease I is!

Monday, 6 May 2019

May Days

http://www.anifilm.cz/en
Sunscapades appears to be trundling merrily along with a batch of screening events lined up through the summer. I don't have firm info on all of them yet but there are a couple coming up this month that seem to be set in stone. Firstly it will be screening at the rather magnificent Anifilm International Festival of Animated Films in Třeboň, Czech Republic as part of a special late-night screening (this is becoming a bit of a recurring - and welcome - theme) Midnight Animation: Blood. This will be Friday May 10th 11:30pm at the Světozor Cinema.
http://www.aiaf.info/aiaf/2019/late-night-bizarre
A week later it will be in the similarly-themed Late Night Bizarre programme that takes place during the Australian International Animation Festival, alongside some new work from the likes of Will Anderson, Peter Millard and Jodie Haslam as well as some familiar recent shorts I'm quite fond of such as Lorenz Wunderle's Coyote and recent Skwigly interviewee David Barlow-Krelina's Caterpillarplasty. It looks like a fun one but if you can't make it to Wagga Wagga I get the impression the screening itself will be playing at a couple other fests down under in the near future.
https://fest-der-filme.de/
At the end of the month the 15th Detmold Short Film Festival will kick off, assuredly with Sunscapades somewhere among the line-up although no specifics just yet (update to follow). This marks my third inclusion at Detmold following the selection of The Naughty List in 2011 as well as being one of the small handful of fests that gave Ground Running a punt the following year, so I've got a bit of a soft spot for 'em.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Fierce Creatures

http://feeds.soundcloud.com/stream/606183735-skwigly-skwigly-podcast-90.mp3
In the ninetieth episode of the Skwigly Animation Podcast it's a delight to welcome back previous podcast guest Chris Butler, speaking with Laura-Beth about Missing Link, his latest stop-motion feature with LAIKA.
Chris’s previous work includes his directorial debut ParaNorman (for which he also wrote the original screenplay) as well as his roles as Head of Story/co-writer on Kubo and the Two Strings and story supervisor on Coraline. His prior experience includes design and storyboard roles on a number of high profile projects including Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.
This episode also features a recent chat I had with Justin K. Thompson, production designer on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. An Emmy Award–winning artist with over twenty years of experience in television including Star Wars: Clone Wars and feature films such as the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs series, Justin has worked for a variety of entertainment industry powerhouses including Disney, DreamWorks, Lucasfilm, Paramount, Sony, Cartoon Network, the Jim Henson Company and Warner Bros. Click here for more info and to find out how to be in with a chance to win a copy of the film on Bluray.
Also in this episode Steve and I natter about early trailers for Toy Story 4 and Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie as well as recent animated series aimed at adults including Love Death + Robots and The Shivering Truth.
As always y'all can direct download, subscribe or stream below:

Friday, 29 March 2019

My Crowd

https://www.calgaryundergroundfilm.org/
The Canadian Sunscapades invasion (well, light intrusion) continues with another couple of screenings scheduled to take place in the blessed land of poutine and syrup later this month. Following on from the film's recent outings in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal it will be headed to the Calgary Underground Film Festival. In this instance it won't be part of a dedicated animation or shorts programme but will be the opening film before the independent feature Assassinaut, which looks like great fun. Calgarians can catch the films at 9:30pm April 25th and 4:15pm April 27th at the Globe Cinema - more info here.
https://www.bifff.net/program/courts-mais-trash-3/
Also the aforementioned Courts Mais Trash/BIFFF screening scheduled for 10pm on the 20th I now know will take place at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts (fancy!) in Brussels. The event is listed as Courts Mais Trash rather than Carte Blanche as originally thought, at any rate you can find out more info on it and grab up your tickets here.

Monday, 18 March 2019

For the Francophones

https://www.courtsdunsoir.com/?lang=en
Sunscapades is still nosing its way into the odd festival here and there, with its next screening taking place in Montreal, probably my favourite city. It will be part of Festival Courts d'un Soir which runs from April 3rd-6th, in the programme Les Très Courts on the 5th, 5pm at Cinéma Beaubien.
https://www.bifff.net/
Later in the month, as an extension of its involvement in the Brussels Independent Short Film Festival: Courts Mais Trash back in January the film will also be screened during the Brussels International Fantasy, Fantastic, Thriller and Science Fiction Film Festival (BIFFF). Festivalgoers can catch it in the special programme Carte Blanche on April 20th at 10pm (not sure of the venue so I'd suggest checking the festival website closer to the time).
Not a whole heap else to report for now although it's worth flagging that Secrets of British Animation, the documentary I peripherally contributed to which originally aired in December, was repeated the other day and so will be on the BBC iPlayer for another few weeks if you missed it the first time around.

Friday, 1 March 2019

Marching On

Just one festival lined up for Sunscapades this month. Them lovely Grecians at the Athens Animfest have included it in their 2019 official selection, along with 350 other films. Guess they ain't too picky but hey, glad to be on board. I go back quite a ways with this festival; they were one of the few events to feature my second film Ground Running a decade ago and also showed The Naughty List in 2011.
So I'm grateful for another inclusion and festivalgoers can catch the film in Shorts 6 on Saturday March 16th 8pm at the Oikia Theotokopoulou - for free, no less!
In our most recent Skwigly Animation Podcast we meet Louise Bagnall and Nuria González Blanco, director and producer respectively of the Oscar-nominated Cartoon Saloon short film Late Afternoon. Also discussed in this episode – the legacy of Cartoon Saloon as a whole, the end of the NFTS’s BAFTA streak and the one-two punch of new Disney trailers for the Aladdin remake and Frozen 2. Download for keepsies or stream it thiswise:

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Northeastern Exposure

https://www.taafi.com/shorts-1-comedy-tonight/
By happy coincidence Sunscapades will have another Canadian screening this month mere days before its BC debut at the Just For Laughs festival in Vancouver. The film will be returning to Toronto for TAAFI - the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International - as part of the event's opening night screening Shorts 1: Comedy TONIGHT! This will be Friday February 15th, 7:15pm at the Hot Docs Cinema.
https://www.thenewcurrent.co.uk/sunscapades
Something I neglected to mention earlier but worth posting is that the lovely folks over at The New Current recently interviewed me about (mainly) Sunscapades during its participation in the British Shorts festival in Berlin last month. This is the same outlet that interviewed me for the 2018 edition of the festival when Klementhro was involved, although it appears that they've removed that year's coverage from their site (so you can read the older interview here instead).

Friday, 1 February 2019

Northwestern Exposure

After a busy couple of months I think things will be slowing down for Sunscapades on the festivals front for the next little bit. Personal priorities were reshuffled and since August I haven't been as proactive when it comes to submissions, but I plan to do one more burst this year before I call it a day.
http://www.jflnorthwest.com/vancouver-just-for-laughs-film-festival/
This month there's only one festival lined up but it's a pretty exciting one, the Vancouver Just For Laughs Film Festival that runs from the 14th-23rd. I have a lot of fond memories of Just For Laughs from over the years (mainly meeting Chip) so this is a pretty special one to get to be involved with. It also puts the film in the running to potentially screen at the Montreal edition in the summer which would be a nice bonus, so fingers crossed there.
Sunscapades will play on Sunday February 17th in their World Wide Shorts screening at the Vancity Theatre. The overall line-up for the festival looks great, with Dave Attell, Michelle Wolf, Matteo Lane, Seth Rogan, Fred Armisen and many more on the bill so rest assured I'll be stewing in major FOMO while it's going on.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Onward

And we made it to 2019. Go us.
While 2018 was a very positive year for work and creative endeavours, in the real world we had a barrage of sadnesses to deal with that all came to a head in December. Such is life and its strange, at times arbitrarily cruel ways. Needless to say I am in awe of my wife, whose incomparable beauty in body and soul is matched by immeasurable selflessness under the hardest of circumstances. Would that we should all be so lucky to have such people in our lives and be better in ourselves as a consequence; maybe the world would be less streaked with the impotent rage and entitlement and fear that seems to be driving us forward these days.
Ultimately right now I'm in a bit of a bubble where most of the stuff I write about on here (chiefly the podcastey/cartooney stuff), seems especially frivolous and my energy to accompany news updates with not-especially-pithy asides is pretty much nil. But I do continue to have enormous gratitude and respect for the arts festivals and magazine/podcast guests that give me their time, not to mention my employers and students, and so for the next little while I'll try and keep this site updated when I can, but if it seems a little more dry and methodical than usual, well, this is why. That was a long, clunky sentence.
Firstly a little correction, last month I mentioned that the In-Short Film Festival based in Lagos (not to be confused with the near-identically-named InShort Film Festival) had selected Sunscapades to screen although the info they supplied was a little vague. Suspicions proved valid as it turns out they had been telling everyone who was preselected (possibly everyone who submitted) that their work had gone through so that they would spread awareness of the festival and boost its social media presence. Be it an innocent mistake or deliberate chicanery it's pretty poor form either way so I'd flag this event as one to avoid in future. Even this many years in I still occasionally learn lessons about being more discerning in which festivals to submit to and I guess this was one of those occasions.
https://shortfilms.org.uk/lsff2019/events/2019-01-13-new-shorts-animation-variety-showcase
Fortunately there are some more reputable events that Sunscapades will be involved with this month. Firstly I'm really pleased to again be part of the London Short Film Festival following Klementhro's inclusion back in 2017. This time around I'll be part of the New Shorts: Animation Variety Showcase on Sunday January 13th, 4pm at the Regent Street Cinema.
https://britishshorts.de/
Then for the film's German debut another festival to have previously included Klementhro is the British Shorts Film Festival based in Berlin. They'll be screening Sunscapades in Festival Screening #3 at the Sputnik Kino on Friday January 18th at 11pm.
http://courtsmaistrash.net/test-les-inclassables-2/?lang=en
The following night the film sees its Belgian premiere at the Brussels Independent Short Film Festival: Courts Mais Trash in their Unclassifiables 2 section. This one will be at 7:30pm at Les Riches-Claires.
And that's it for now. Be excellent to each other, my friends.