Monday, 25 October 2010

The Great Beyond

If you're in London this weekend, why not go ahead and check out the Swedenborg Short Film Festival? On Saturday 30th there'll be a matinee (1pm-4pm) screening of short films including "The Naughty List" and "House Guest", a film that - much like its titular mallard - can't stop coming back from the dead. The theme of the festival is heaven and hell, which weren't conscious motifs when making the films but in an analogous sense "House Guest" is definitely hell, and isn't Santa and xmas the kid version of God and heaven?
Work with me here, people...The festival is being held by/at the Swedenborg Society, a cultural archive mainly focusing on the works of an 18th century scientist/mystic, one of those career combinations that I guess kinda got phased out. It's all quite classy and intimidating, although one of their more recent screenings of theological cinema was "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey", arguably the best film ever made. I mean, the Fraggle Rock-looking aliens at the end were rubbish but generally it's a heady mix of everything wonderful life has to offer - namely George Carlin, robots, Bergman references and Primus/Faith No More cameos. So that takes the edge off a bit. More info and the full schedule is available on their site.I also got wind from a former employer that a CBBC Newsround special I was involved with last year has been unexpectedly nominated for a BAFTA, which is good news indeed. In all candour my involvement in the project itself didn't go much beyond a week of asset management and motion graphics, my main contribution was to the project pitch 'Mood Reel', which is what determines which production house is given the go-ahead for the project. At any rate it's nice to be connected to it and I'll be riding the coattails of its success like friggin' waterskis. Clips from the special are featured online.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Das Kurzfilmfest, niemals mehr gesehen...

After a successful trip to Cologne I've consumed enough twelve-inch coiled wurst to ne'er again feel insecure as a male, along with all manner of cakes, unending breakfasts, meals between snacks between meals and perhaps even the odd apéritif hither and thither. "The Naughty List" seemed to go down well at the festival, people laughed in all the right places despite it being in English. Now I've seen what BetaSP looks like on the big screen though, I think I'll be getting an HD transfer of the film done quite soonish. It may be a case of a filmmaker being overly-precious about his own crap, but hey, it's my crap and if I want it to be rich, colourful crap rather than washed out, faded crap then that should be my prerogative, nein?
From memory this is a loose rendition of the quality dip from the original video to the screened one. Serves me right for being cheap.

I also think I may have eaten my balls slightly when asked to talk about the film afterwards, though I only remember the roar of blood inside my head over my babbling. At some point I think I got a laugh, and bear in mind this was a crowd of Germans. GERMANS, fer cryin' out loud...*
At any rate it was a great evening and I'm hugely grateful for the opportunity and to my host/tour-guide/all-around Wundergal Veronika for putting me up. I've thrown cards and flyers and promo crap everywhere they'll stick to so knock wood there'll be more Germanic exposure to come for my Santa-in-undies film.Meanwhile it's getting two more outings, firstly on October 30th for the 3rd Thermaikos Film Festival. This is great news personally as the 1st edition was also the first festival a film of mine ever got into, so it's nice to 'return' so to speak.After that it'll be at Louisiana's Red Stick International Animation Festival in Baton Rouge. This has been on my wishlist for a while and I don't tend to get that many US screenings so I'm a happy camper indeed. The festival will be between November 10th-13th, specifics later.
On another note, congratulations to Alexio Anastasio for successfully raising enough funds to finish and promote "Adventures In Plymptoons", a documentary on one of my bigger influences Bill Plympton that's frankly long overdue. I got wind of the doc last month while working on another, not entirely unrelated project which I'll save for another entry. Here's a trailer to go out on:

*It's a JOKE, don't even start...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Army of One. If that.

I'm something of a lone wolf. Not in an appealing, alpha dog sense - more the limping, out of shape runt who can't keep up with the rest of the pack, whose 'lone' status is out of his hands. As such I'm fending for myself in a lot of respects, questioning of late the satisfaction of freelancing. A part of me is starting to itch for a regular studio gig lasting beyond a few weeks or months at a time. Of course, who's to say as soon as that happens I won't immediately start hankering for the comparative freedom of the way things are now. The grass is always greener on the other side. You like that? I made that up. True story. You can use it if you like.
What?In the meantime I'm prepping for my visit to Cologne where "The Naughty List" will be making its festival appearance at the Cologne Comedy Festival as well as its TV debut on WDR, a network I fondly associate with several pro-shot Faith No More concerts. I'm sure they have other valuable programming too. The film closes the Köln Comedy Kurzfilmfestival broadcast this Friday (15th), beginning at 10:40pm and repeated at 1:45am on Einsfestival.The trip is in the midst of my continuing effort to redefine my professional representation and I'm getting a bunch of materials ready to pimp my sweet self, like new business cards, promo DVDs, flyers etc. As I'm still debating several options for potential sales agents - and having no studio representation to speak of - promotion and marketing is on me. It's kind of what I'm comfortable with, but self-representation is kind of like onanism with a lot more self-hatred, depression and money spent on printer ink. When I describe myself as 'award-winning animator' or list accolades for any given project I cringe and bite my fist, but it's a necessary evil. After five years it would be fatuous to say that there isn't a direct correlation between the amount I big myself up and the frequency of work that comes in or festivals that pick up my films.To supplement the "Naughty..." bumph I've put up some new web teasers for "House Guest" and "Ground Running". In the case of the former it's to help promote the DVD, delayed from last year's planned release after the film got an unexpected second wind on the festival circuit. Have a gander:

In case you didn't see it when I put it up previously, I may as well throw in a snippet of "The Naughty List" for your viewing pleasūr:

On a closing, non-me note, my pal and former "House Guest" helper elf Joanna Hepworth has her latest film "Dinnersaurs" included in this year's Animated Encounters online selection. Give it a vote because it's cute and you'll glean some dating tips:

Monday, 4 October 2010

Debuting all over the place

If Tesco can get away with pulling the xmas crap this early on, then screw it, so can I! The holiday season starts this month with a trio of international screenings for "The Naughty List"!
As I already blathered about, it'll be part of the Cologne Comedy Festival but now I know that the specific screening is Friday 15th at 8pm, as part of Screens of Comedy. I will be there! I'm usually not as my films tend to get accepted by festivals far, far away, but this one's a special circumstance. It will also at some point be broadcast on WDR, which will be a nice first for me.Before then, though at a time I've yet to determine, I can now confirm that the film is indeed included as part of the animation strand for the IASI International Film Festival. Hurrah!But before any of that I'm pretty stoked to say that it will also be shown at this year's European Animated Film Festival Balkanima, which screened "House Guest" last year! Screening this Wednesday (the 6th) as part of the European Panorama at noon. The following day it will also be screening Sophie Klevenow's superb short "Noesis" which I did some sound work on, so there's two reasons to get your ass over to Belgrade. More info at their official site and Facebook group.