Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Skwigly Spectrum
A good ol' Skwigly roundup for you fine folks today. Starting with the latest podcast which went up today - Steve has interviews with Daisy Jacobs (director of the BAFTA-winning NFTS film The Bigger Picture) and Chuck Steel creator Mike Mort, while one of our talented writers Nathan Wilkes chats to the Shaun the Sheep Movie directors Mark Burton and - making his return to the Skwigly Podcast (having also been featured in episode 11) - Richard Starzak. It's a fun one, friends! Subscribe, stream or download to your heart's content:
There's also a new episode of Lightbox up this week in which the always-brilliant Laura-Beth learns about Disney's Feast from Director Patrick Osborne, Designer Jeff Turley and Producer Kristina Reed. There are two versions of this one, you can check it out on YouTube (where it's already doing very well) or watch the slightly nicer edit below:

On the other end of the animation spectrum I'm really happy to have an interview with legendary Estonian director Priit Pärn up on the site this week. I've been a fan of his work since 2000 when I saw Hotel E on, of all things, a semi-pisstake Adam and Joe C4 documentary that doesn't appear to have surfaced online. It was pretty funny though. My prevailing memory is a moment where BaaadDad threatens to stab a child for a Pokemon card. Cheered me some.
Back to Priit Pärn, if you've not caught his work it's worth the research; Though heavygoing at times it's often incredibly witty and always brilliantly-executed - and absolutely, irrefutably Estonian. His latest film Pilots on the Way Home, one of several co-directed with his wife Olga and his first collaboration with the NFB, shows he hasn't mellowed with age either:
On top of all this there's a new book review up on Animate to Harmony by Australian indie animator Adam Phillips. It's an invaluable guide to ToonBoom Animate and Harmony and it's really filled in some gaps in my overall knowledge of the software. More importantly, reading it has motivated me to follow-through on a recent promise to myself. Sometimes when we feel like we're floating without a paddle...well, a good book can take one's mind to a better place. To read my gushing in full check out the review here.
Lots more in the wings but I reckon that covers it for now. Happy weekending, everyone!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Exercises in Humility

Jutra (Dir. Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre)
This week on Skwigly I have an interview with Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre, a kindred spirit in the sense that she makes animation documentaries, albeit with more of a creative spin. Working with the NFB and notably influenced by Norman McLaren, she's made the multi-award-winning McLaren's Negatives and last year's Jutra among others. She has a brilliant style and interesting process, you can learn more by giving the interview a read here: 
Interview with Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre
Back in the more straightforward world of my mini-documentary series Lightbox, this week we have a special on Aardman's Shaun the Sheep Movie in anticipation of its release on Friday. We went up to Aardman Features in Aztec West where one of the film's lead animators Will Becher gave Steve, Laura-Beth and myself a nice demonstration of their puppets:
I'm quite interested in seeing how the film does compared to their other recent features, especially as this one feels more unabashedly/traditionally Aardman without trying to play to a broader audience.
Elsewhere I've had some disappointing news regarding the planned distribution of my most recent film Bullies. The short version is that interest from a company I'd been holding out for since last summer has been rescinded, so I'm back in limbo for the time being. Bit of a knock but I'm fondly keeping this little cinematic analogy in mind:
Frankly I'd been getting a little spoiled with things coming off without many hitches of late, so in a sense it's good to be brought down to Earth every once in a while. Keeps a fella humble, which is always a hard business given how unbelievably gifted and handsome I am. Plus, sometimes when we feel like we're floating without a paddle...well, new plans emerge. Watch this space.
Finally, just a reminder that I'll be in Cheltenham this Saturday, exhibiting at True Believers. Swing by and peruse my bookey wares, why doncha?