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.
Speakin' of grabbing up high-quality Ben Mitchell product while it's on sale, the Nintendo Switch versions of the brilliant Bertram Fiddle games from my pals Rumpus Animation (a prominent case study in the book that also happens to boast my various attempts at cartoon voicery, see above) are currently part of the Nintendo online sale with Episode 1: A Dreadly Business a whopping 75% off and Episode 2: A Bleaker Predicklement an also-pretty-decent 51% off. That's chump change, ya chumps, so grab 'em up! It also appears that Bertram Fiddle has been nominated at this year's UK Games Fund Awards in the category 'They Delivered', so fingers crossed they get something shiny come September.
https://shyguys.co.uk
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. Also there will be a repeat screening at 10pm the following night at the same venue. How splendid!
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).