Friday, 22 December 2017

Stocking Fillers

Before I retreat into Xmasdom there are a couple of new podcasts ready for your listenin' ears over on Skwigly. Last week we resumed our longer-running series with a couple of timely guest spots, namely Ferdinand director Carlos Saldanha and Google Spotlight Stories composer Scot Stafford whose first directorial effort Sonaria was recently released. Some of you may recall we spoke with Scot in the first Animation Composed podcast outing about a year ago regarding his music output.
This morning saw us hit episode 75 (not counting all the other series strands and minisodes) with a focus on some holiday animation, primarily Blue Zoo (guests Tom Box, Simone Giampaolo and Francesco Mazza)'s new internally-produced short Lynx and Birds and director Jeroen Jaspaert tells us about the latest Magic Light Pictures Julia Donaldson adaptation The Highway Rat that you can catch on BBC1 Xmas day.
You can stream them above or direct download them here (74) and here (75).
Right now I'm far far away doing my best to get all the character animation done and dusted for my latest film Sunscapades. There are some sequences in this one that I'm incredibly chuffed with and would love to post up here but it would sort of spoil the film so I have to abstain. In the meantime here are a couple of Insta-peeks:
A post shared by Ben Mitchell (@benlmitchell) on

A post shared by Ben Mitchell (@benlmitchell) on

A post shared by Ben Mitchell (@benlmitchell) on

A post shared by Ben Mitchell (@benlmitchell) on
More of that good shiz if you follow me on Instagram, the 34-year-old man typed without hating himself whatsoever.
Captain dipshit over here was already on his way to Portland for the holidays before he realised he'd left his Cintiq pen back at his home office in Bristol, so any productivity in the next couple of weeks is entirely owed to the brilliant Dani Abram who posted her spare one to me. Some beverages and a big shiny Special Thanks credit in her future, but here in the present let me point you in the direction of her website so you can bask in her awesomeness. Spirit of the season and that.
Now to the past, and a last little bleat of gratitude regarding Klementhro, the film I really should have drawn a line under since its online release but just won't shut up about. Mainly I want to extend my thanks once again to the Short of the Week team who took a punt on it, including Rob for the original write-up and Georg who included it in his Top 10 of 2017. Here's a cheeky repost of last year's holiday animation for the benefit of those who hadn't seen the original film when it originally went up:

Friday, 1 December 2017

Last Gasps
A couple of final 2017 screenings for Klementhro ahead - back in April of last year the fine folks at AniScreen demonstrated their immaculate taste by showing the film and will do so again as part of a special screening at this year's PAF Olomouc, taking place in the Czech Republic. The AniScreen in the Antique Bookstore programme will take place Saturday December 9th 2pm at the Antikvariát Olomouc - an antique bookstore, as you may have already deduced.
Another organisation who gave the film some love last year and have seen fit to do so again is the splendid Short Waves Festival, who have put together a special screening event for International Short Film Day. You can catch Klementhro as part of The Shortest Day on December 21st at the Under The Black Cat wine bar in Poznań, Poland. Best of all, both screenings are FREE, which is as cheap as you can ask for really. I'm sorry to not be there myself as they sound very cool, but of course I'm grateful for the inclusion. Keeps this old fella's holiday spirit up.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Will these deals NEVER END?

Missed out on Black Friday? Well hang in there, you lackadaisical so-and-so, because TA-DA! Cyber Monday! It's a thing, I'm informed!
For TODAY ONLY you can get a whopping 40% off the graphic novels with code CYBER40 at checkout!
You can also get 30% off Independent Animation: Developing, Producing and Distributing Your Animated Films PLUS FREE shipping, no code required.
Not to stoke the fires of consumerism, but once again it's for TODAY ONLY so GO! NOW! QUICKLY! TIME'S A-RUNNIN' OUT!

UPDATE: The CYBER40 deal is now running until the end of the month. If you missed out yesterday, don't forget that until the end of the month you can still get 20% off Independent Animation and free shipping if you order via CRC and enter the code LMT02)

Friday, 24 November 2017

It's the most cynical time o' the year...

Already losing hair over the impending nightmare of holiday shopping? Aghast at how miserably difficult-to-buy-for the comic'n'animation enthusiasts in your life insist on being?
Well fret not, you downers, because Uncle Ben* is here to ease your burden. Have I got some Black Friday deals for you!
Firstly if you're in the mood for some graphic novels (and why wouldn't you be?) you can head on over to my store and pick up anything there for a juicy 30% off! Merely enter code LULU30 at checkout. Bear in mind this is valid today (November 24th) only, so act fast lest you feel forever empty.
If it's something non-fictioney yet still quite cartooney you're after, then you could do worse than pick up Independent Animation: Developing, Producing and Distributing Your Animated Films. If you enter code LMT02 at checkout not only do you get a cool 20% knocked off the price but there's also FREE shipping thrown in! Plus this deal goes on throughout the rest of the month, so you're granted some extra mulling time. 'Tis the season, after all.

*Not affiliated with any pre-existing Uncle Ben or other brand that may operate under the Mars, Inc umbrella. Ho ho ho!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

MAFward Bound
I'll be back at the Manchester Animation Festival this coming week to fly the ol' Skwigly flag. If you're in town on Wednesday we'll be doing another one of our maddening (though splendid fun) Skwigly Quiz sessions, so festival passholders be sure to get yourselves to the the Event Space at HOME for 5pm.
The next day (Thursday 16th) at 4:10pm festival passholders can check out the Skwigly Screening, a totes-free collection of some of the best films we've encountered over the past year. This'll also be in the Event Space and the full list of films included is as follows:
A lot of these films have recent Skwigly interviews attached, so you can learn more about them by clicking on any of the active links above.
Catch you there!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Keeping the music going
Continuing Animation Composed, Skwigly’s celebration of the harmonious relationship between music and animation presented by myself and Wez Allard, our second episode delves into the world of composing for animated TV series, with special guests Ben Locket and Gareth Davies.
Born in Australia and presently based in London, Ben’s work in television centers around the long-running Cartoon Network series The Amazing World of Gumball, as well as the recent Magic Light adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes – both of which presently nominated for a Children’s Animation BAFTA. Revolting Rhymes also recently won Best Original Score at the Sapporo Japanese Short Film Festival and, as well as an upcoming soundtrack release, has been screened to a live orchestral accompaniment over the past year with the next performance taking place this coming February at the Southbank Centre.
UK-based composer/songwriter Gareth Davies has a wealth of experience composing for television and corporate clients alongside his own personal projects. He has most recently written for the animated television shows Scream Street (CBBC) and Everybody Loves A Moose (Rai). He also produces original songs under the moniker Band of One.
Also featured in this episode are musical scores to the National Film Board of Canada productions The Head Vanishes (Dir. Franck Dion) and I Am Here (Dir. Eoin Duffy) by Pierre Caillet and Menalon respectively, as well as more work from previously featured composers David Kamp (Réka Bucsi’s Love), Mathieu Alvado (Who’s Afraid of Mr. Greedy? from Gobelins) and Ephrem Leuchinger (Anete Melece’s Analysis Paralysis).
Full playlist:
  • Theme from LoveDavid Kamp
  • The Hole (The Amazing World of Gumball) – Ben Locket
  • The Kidnapping [Excerpt] (Revolting Rhymes) – Ben Locket
  • The Man (The Amazing World of Gumball) – Ben Locket
  • Meeting an Old Friend [Excerpt] (The Amazing World of Gumball) – Ben Locket
  • The Shell (The Amazing World of Gumball) – Ben Locket
  • Antons Suche (Analysis Paralysis) – Ephrem Leuchinger
  • Excerpts (Who’s Afraid of Mr. Greedy?) – Mathieu Alvado
  • Jaqueline perd la tête (The Head Vanishes) – Pierre Caillet
  • I Am HereMenalon
  • The Uninvited (Scream Street) – Gareth Davies
  • Haunted House (Scream Street) – Gareth Davies
  • Transformation (Scream Street) – Gareth Davies
  • Otto’s Theme (Scream Street) – Gareth Davies
  • Main Titles (Everybody Loves A Moose) – Gareth Davies
  • Jack’s Theme (Everybody Loves A Moose) – Gareth Davies
  • Sad Moose (Everybody Loves A Moose) – Gareth Davies
  • Too Many Moons – Band of One
  • The Climb [Excerpt] (Revolting Rhymes) – Ben Locket

Friday, 13 October 2017

Hormone monsters
Continuing the second season of Intimate Animation – the Skwigly podcast in which Laura-Beth and I explore, discuss and interview the talents behind animation that deals with adult themes of love, relationships and sexuality – we welcome Netherlands-based director Dario van Vree of Studio Pupil, whose film Tabook was released online this week to coincidence with Face Your Fears Day.
As well as his creative work at Studio Pupil, Dario was one of the original founders of the KLIK! Amsterdam Animation Festival and teaches animation at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. Using TVPaint to combine digital 2D character animation with hand-crafted sets and a touch of CG, his film is a warmhearted tale of overcoming one’s inhibitions and moving past fears of what others may think of our natural impulses.
Also discussed in this episode: Animation sexploits at the New York Museum of Sex (including work by Polly Nor, Michael Sullivan and the 1929 animated ‘stag’ film Buried Treasure) and the surprisingly on-point new adult animated Netflix sitcom Big Mouth.
Stream below or direct download:

Monday, 9 October 2017

Leaves of Autumn
Another batch of joint outings for Boris-Noris and Klementhro ahead, this time at the Cinemagic Festival in Belfast. In all candour my brain is still a bit fried and jetlagged from the honeymoon so I'm not 100% sure I get how this one works but I think Animated Antics is essentially a programme that tours schools throughout the city between October 16th and November 17th. Boris-Noris is part of the primary school competition with Klementhro included in the 15+ shorts showcase that kicks off a little later (October 23rd). As far as specifics go you can keep up to speed at the festival's official site and Facebook page.
Speaking of Ireland, which we sort-of, tenuously were, I'll be headed to the seventh edition of the Dublin Animation Film Festival at the end of next week as part of the Student Film Jury team, so if you're in the city October 20th and 21st that'll be a fun one to check out too. See you there, possibly maybe!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

In Russia, raft paddles YOU
Following last month's Russian tour it seems the nation can't get enough of our paddlin' pal Klementhro. This month and November will see it play in Moscow for the Big Cartoon Festival, a big festival of cartoons I would assume, or very possibly an average-sized festival of big cartoons. Probably the former as my cartoon is not especially big. The screenings will kick off on my birthday (which also just happens to be International Animation Day - coincidence? Well, yes). Full info as follows:
The film will also screen as part of a mini-tour through Saint-Petersburg, Kazan and Ekaterinburg after the festival but I don't have all the specifics for those screenings just yet. So hang tight, comrades.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Naughty little rock-faced children, scampering around
Just got wind of some good news that one of the episodes of Lendas Animadas I was lead animator on is presently a finalist for the Japan Prize International Contest for Educational Media. I'm not sure what happens if it wins but the event's Facebook page has put up the first (to my knowledge) clip from the episode which you can check out below:
As you've probably deduced, the animation is taken from collages and drawings by schoolchildren across Brazil that have been made animatable. I was working to storyboards by the project's Art Director Adriana with only a vague idea of what the narrator guy was saying, so it's kind of a new experience to actually see this with subtitles. This is also the same episode that screened at Anima Mundi back in July - Como Surgiram as Estrelas (How the Stars Were Created) - and I'm chuffed to say it was picked as one of the 10 best Brazilian films at that festival, making it eligible for a BNDES Award. It didn't win though. So, y'know, fingers crossed for this other thing.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Stag Podcast
In episode 73 of the Skwigly Animation Podcast - the last episode I will produce as an unmarried man, no less - we welcome Ireland-born, Vancouver-based visual artist Eoin Duffy, director of the National Film Board of Canada short I Am Here.
Having studied Visual Communication at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Eoin’s background in graphic design ultimately led to motion graphics and animation, notable works including his debut 2012 short On Departure with 2014’s The Missing Scarf shortlisted for Best Animated Short at the 86th Academy Awards and nominated for Best Short Film at the 27th European Film Awards.
Produced by Shirley Vercruysse and Maral Mohammadian of the NFB and Executive Produced by Michael Fukushima, the film will screen in competition at this year’s Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival in Bristol as part of the screening Animation 1: Packing A Punch (the same screening will feature Laura-Beth's film Boris-Noris - so be there, god-damn you)
Also discussed in this episode: Aardman‘s first full Early Man trailer, the latest Bertram Fiddle outing from Rumpus Animation and intriguing new goings-on with stop-motion nightmare master Robert Morgan. Stream below or direct download:

Monday, 28 August 2017

Up The River
Our seafarin' scamp Klementhro still has a few festivals left on his journey it seems. Rather fittingly this September the film will be included in the KROK International Animated Films Festival that takes place on a Russian river cruiser. From September 13th through to the 21st the festival will be making its way through Moscow, Uglich, Goritsy, Petrozavodsk, Mandrogi, Valaam Island and Saint Petersburg. I already have a fondness for this festival as back in 2011 they included The Naughty List and it's always a nice feeling to have new work presented at a familiar event. If you happen to be in that nook of the world it looks like a rather fun way to spend a week so check out their Facebook page for more info as it comes.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Island Life
I mentioned last week that Laura-Beth's film Boris-Noris would be playing in Malta at the first Gozo Film Festival. I neglected - neglectful fellow that I am - to mention that Klementhro will also be screening, in the same programme as it turns out. So if you're happen to be Malta-ing it up this weekend you can catch them on Saturday 26th in the Short Movies 1 screening. Also a shout-out to our pal Fiona whose film Blanked will also get a screening the following day in Short Movies 3. Both screenings will be at the Sentinella Cultural Centre and you can check out the full programme at the festival website here.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

World Traveller

I'm incredibly stoked to be able to say that Laura-Beth Cowley's film Boris-Noris (for which I did some noise-making and general post-production) is on fire at the moment. Since screening at CIFF back in May it's been shown in Spain, Italy, France and the Czech Republic, with a whole bunch more to follow in the coming months:
First up is Stop Motion MX that takes place August 17th-19th down Mexico way, where the film is part of the Student category. As far as exactly when the screening is I found the programme to be kind of impenetrable, although native speakers may have better joy than my uncultured ass.
Over on the island of Malta you can see it at the first Gozo Film Festival. Exact screening times and programme categories don't appear to be up yet but it will be running from August 25th-27th at the Sentinella Cultural Centre and St. John's Demi-Bastion.
From August 26th it's in Paris at Festival Silhouette in the Young Audiences (4-6 years) category that has a bunch of (what I'm pretty sure are free) screenings:
Saturday August 26th - 11am at Le Hasard Ludique
Saturday August 26th - 4pm at Holiday Inn Express
Sunday August 27th - 11:30am at Espace Khiasma
Sunday August 27th - 2:30pm at Holiday Inn Express
Saturday September 2nd - 4pm at Holiday Inn Express
On Monday September 4th at 8pm the film will be screened at The Smalls Film Festival in their Student Film category. This one's here in the UK at London's Calvert 22, nestled 'twixt Shoreditch and Bethnal Green.
Earlier that same evening and even closer to home - on our doorstep, pretty much - is the Bristol Festival of Puppetry, who are putting on a special Women in Puppetry and Puppet Animation screening, celebrating 'the talent of female directors, animators, puppeteers and other filmmaking creatives, in front and behind the camera'. You can catch this one at The Watershed in Bristol at 6pm September 4th.
Next stop is Stop Motion Montreal, one of our absolute wishlist festivals what with Montreal being my sometime-stomping-grounds and its long-established reputation as one of the best stop-mo events around. It takes place September 15th-17th - literally the weekend of our wedding, so alas we can't attend in person. I think she genuinely contemplated calling it off when she found out. The main festival venue is Concordia's J.A. de Sève Cinema, with specific dates/times to be revealed soon.
Another wish-list fest we're pleased to be ticking off is Bristol's long-running Encounters Short Film Festival, whose main hub of operations is once again The Watershed. Boris-Noris will see itself screening in the first animation programme Packing A Punch at 12noon on Wednesday September 20th as well as repeat screening of the Bristol Festival of Puppetry selection at a time yet to be announced. This one we will be there for, in fact I'll also be there in my usual Skwigly capacity so if you're one of the animated filmmakers also in the programme who'll be there also then there's a good chance I'll be interviewing you at some point the week.
Lastly (for now), there's the Linoleum International Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival that runs from September 28th to October 1st in the Ukraine. This one I already hold in high regard for throwing in Klementhro last year. Again more specifics when we get 'em.
There are more a-comin' but I think that's all I'm able to announce right now. So check it out if it's playing near you, it's a cracking fillum (he said with complete impartiality).

How about a little music?
Following on from our end-of-year special back in December, I've launched a new Skwigly podcast series Animation Composed, a celebration of the harmonious relationship between music and animation.
In our first episode co-host Wez and I explore the musical side of some favourite animated shorts, including Le Clitoris (Dir. Lori Malépart-Traversy), Lonely Bones (Dir. Rosto) and Analysis Paralysis (Dir. Anete Melece) among others.
We also meet Paris-based composer  Mathieu Alvado, whose work spans over 50 short films including the recent animated projects To Build A Fire (Dir. FX Goby, Nexus) and The Inspector and the Umbrella (Dir. Maël Gourmelen). Having studied at the Bordeaux Conservatory, the Saint Maur des Fossés Conservatory and the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, Mathieu has received three Jerry Goldsmith awards and collaborated with numerous ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Paris Symphonic Orchestra.
Full playlist:
  • Overture (To Build A Fire) – Mathieu Alvado
  • Anton im Kaufhaus (Analysis Paralysis) – Ephrem Leuchinger
  • Theme from Boris-Noris – Ben Mitchell
  • Une bonne petite souris (Quenottes/Pearlies) – Mathieu Alvado
  • Building A Fire (To Build A Fire) – Mathieu Alvado
  • Clitoris Magnificus (Le Clitoris) – Eliazer Kramer
  • Lonely Bones – Thee Wreckers
  • Wings and Oars – Pierre Yves Drapeau
  • End Credits (The Kiosk) – Ephrem Leuchinger
  • The Inspector and the Umbrella – Mathieu Alvado
  • New Fire (To Build A Fire) – Mathieu Alvado
  • End Credits (To Build A Fire) – Mathieu Alvado
  • Reprise (The Inspector and the Umbrella) – Mathieu Alvado

Friday, 28 July 2017

I hear tell the narrator guy is something of a telenovela heartthrob over there

With a couple of screenings left for Lendas Animadas this weekend for the São Paulo leg of Anima Mundi here's a first look at the series posted on their newly-launched Facebook page:
It's great to hear things are moving forward and there should be a broadcast date before too long. Be sure to like and follow the page. Maybe brush up on your Portuguese a bit also.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Clubbing Together
Just a reminder that this Saturday I'll be hosting An Evening with Late Night Work Club and Friends, closing out Cardiff Animation Festival's day of taster events focusing on the work of the independent animation collective behind Ghost Stories and Strangers.
Special guests will be several LNWC members - Nexus directors Nicolas Ménard (Wednesday With Goddard) and Conor Finnergan (Asshole), Cartoon Saloon's Louise Bagnall (Loose Ends) as well as Eimhin McNamara of Paper Panther Productions. We also may very well have one or two special guests Skyping in, so if you don't want to miss an opportunity for some brilliant indie animation insight then be sure to be at Chapter at 6pm on July 22nd.
Many thanks to Lauren and the brilliant Cardiff Animation Nights team for having me be involved. Be sure to check out the full line-up of events, including an animation feedback session, a drink and draw plus screenings of both LNWC anthologies. If you want to learn a bit more about the history of the collective and how their second anthology Strangers came together then check out episode 2 (stream below or download) of my Independent Animation podcast series below, featuring interviews with Nicolas, Kirsten Lepore, Sean Buckelew, Alex Grigg, Loup Blaster, Charles Huettner and Jeanette Bonds:

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Shades of Pink
Continuing the second season of Intimate Animation – the Skwigly podcast in which Laura-Beth and I explore, discuss and interview the talents behind animation that deals with adult themes of love, relationships and sexuality – we welcome Estonian-born, Croatia-based writer/animator/director Chintis Lundgren (Manivald, Life with Herman H. Rott) joined by co-writer/producer Draško Ivezić of Adriatic Animation.
The pair’s latest film Manivald recently won the award for Best Croatian Film at Animafest Zagreb as well as screening in the official selection of this year’s Annecy International Animated Film Festival. Upcoming screenings include Brazil’s Anima Mundi later this month.

Co-produced by Jelena Popović of the National Film Board of Canada, the film tells the story of 33-year-old Manivald, an unemployed fox who leads a listless life with his artist mother until Toomas, a wolf repairman, enters their life and affects their co-dependent existence forever.
Stream below or direct download:

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Another Manic Mundi
I was very happy to learn recently that some work of mine will be playing at Anima Mundi this month. For whatever reason this year's edition is taking place just nine months after 2016's in which Klementhro played. While my next film remains on hold for the duration of my current contract (I literally have to leave the country every day to go to work, so personal film time just isn't on the cards), the festival will be including an episode of Lendas Animadas, the Brazilian TV series I was working on last year, Art-Directed by my pal Adriana Meirelles.
The particular episode featured is one I was lead animator on titled Como Surgiram as Estrelas (How the Stars Were Created) and will play in the screening Children's Shorts 2. I'm not sure when it will actually be broadcast but getting to be part of Anima Mundi again is grand news indeed as they've always been pretty good to me. As usual the festival has two sets of screenings in Rio de Janeiro and  São Paulo, the times/dates for our screening are as follows:
Rio de Janeiro
  • 15/07/2017 - Cine Odeon, Centro Cultural Luiz Severiano Ribeiro - 2pm
  • 20/07/2017 - Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil CCBB/RJ - 3pm
  • 22/07/2017 - Centro Cultural dos Correios - 1:30pm
  • 23/07/2017 - Cine Odeon, Centro Cultural Luiz Severiano Ribeiro - 11am
  • 27/07/2017 - Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil CCBB/RJ - 3pm
São Paulo
  • 26/07/2017 - Caixa Belas Artes - 3pm
  • 29/07/2017 - Centro Cultural São Paulo - 2:30pm
  • 30/07/2017 - Centro Cultural São Paulo - 1pm
If anyone's able to make it to the fest it's looking like a great edition overall, with other selected work including Chintis Lundgren's Manivald, Rune Spaans's The Absence of Eddy Table, Eva Cvijanović's Hedgehog's Home, Ann Marie Fleming's Window Horses, Diane Obomsawin's I Like Girls, Jennifer Zheng's Tough and Sean Buckelew's Lovestreams.
Happy Brazil times!

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Black cats, late nights. That's not an expression but it sounds like it could be.
While it's a rarer occurrence these days, Klementhro still has a few more public screenings up his paddlin' sleeve. August will see the film screening at Augusta, Georgia's 3rd Annual Black Cat Picture Show that takes place, fittingly, at Le Chat Noir. I'll update with a specific screening time should I get it but in the meanwhile the event takes place from August 18th-20th and full passes are available now.
In the nearer future, later on in this month I'll also be involved in a special day of animation events put together by the Cardiff Animation Nights team. Serving as a taster for the recently announced Cardiff Animation Festival, the Late Night Work Club special will kick off at 2pm with a Bring Your Own Animation session, followed by screenings of the collective's anthologies Ghost Stories at 3pm, then Strangers at 4pm. After a 5pm Drink and Draw session I'll be hosting an onstage chat with LNWC members Nicolas Ménard, Louise Bagnall, Conor Finnegan and Eimhin McNamara to discuss all things indie animation and screen some of their work. It'll be a fun so be sure to book your tickets for the day and head over to Chapter in Cardiff July 22nd.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Ben betwixt fests

As I froghop from Animafest in Zagreb to Annecy (in, y'know, Annecy), here are a couple of interviews worth sharing.
In episode 72 of the podcast we welcome Eva Cvijanović, director of the National Film Board of Canada/Bonobostudio short Hedgehog’s Home that, on top of playing in the Annecy competition this week (with Anima Mundi to follow in July), recently picked up the Animafest Audience award, understandably so as it was easily the most enthusiastically-received film that played at the fest).
A graduate of Concordia University, Eva’s independent film work includes 2010’s Once Upon a Many Time and 2013’s Seasick. Her work with the NFB began with her participation in the seventh edition of the Hothouse apprenticeship scheme, for which she made The Kiss (2011). Since then she has created the micro-short Survival of the Fittest (originally produced in 2014 and released this year as part of the NFB’s Naked Island series) with Hedgehog’s Home, a stop-motion adaptation of Branko Ćopić’s classic children’s book, being her most ambitious film project to date.
Also discussed in this episode: Annecy anticipation, the quasi-controversy of Red Shoes, Emoji Movie emoting and the gloriously dubious VFX of Twin Peaks. Stream above or direct download here.
I've also today put up a written interview with the film's co-producer Jelena Popović about her involvement in the films as well as some other recent projects including Chintis Lundgren's Manivald, Sheldon Cohen’s My Heart Attack, Theo Ushev’s Blood Manifesto and the recent NFB micro-shorts series Naked Island. She's a tremendous person doing tremendous things so please do take the time to check out the piece and look into some of what she's been up to, you'll be glad you did:
Producing Animation: Jelena Popović
Right, off to get in some lake time before press duties commence. Happy heatwave, everyone!

Saturday, 3 June 2017


In a couple of days the 2017 edition of Animafest Zagreb will be kicking off. There's a brilliant line-up of films including recent favourites Lovestreams, Tough, Le Clitoris, Hi Stranger, Hedgehog's Home, I Like Girls, The Absence of Eddy Table, Love in Idleness and Analysis Paralysis, not to mention a quintet of Rosto films as well as all manner of special events and presentations as previewed in this here press release:
Animafest Zagreb 2017 presents rich programme and distinguished guests
While 'distinguished' in my case can only reasonably refer to my hair going a bit Paulie-Walnuts-grey at the sides these days, the eagle-eyed of you will see that my name does indeed pop up. While mainly helping out as part of the features jury panel I'll be involved in a couple of events, so if any of you lot will be finding yourselves at the fest please do swing by:
Alongside Maureen Furniss (scribe of one of my favourite cultural studies The Animation Bible and the more recent A New History of Animation) and graphic novelist Simon Bogojević Narath (Saturn's Circle) I'll be discussing my recent book Independent Animation: Developing, Producing and Distributing Your Animated Films. The presentation is free to attend and takes place at the Medijateka Francuskog Instituta on Wednesday June 7th, 6pm.
I'll be introducing and moderating a panel discussion on contemporary independent animation practices with Veljko Popović, Marta Pajek, Dahee Jeong, Marko Tadić. This one's also free and will be at KIC Kulturno on Friday June 9th, 10:30am.
Hope to see some of you there!

Friday, 2 June 2017

All Change

What's blue-ish, animationey and looking more swish than ever?
Why, it's our fancy new Skwigly relaunch!
Massive kudos to the ever-brilliant Aaron Wood for the fantastic overhaul of the site. Why, it's the perfect excuse to get all caught up on our Skwigly-doings! Including:
Episode 71 of the Skwigly Animation Podcast, where Steve and I discuss the next Manchester Animation Festival, Klementhro's divisive online reception and the enticing visuals of Cuphead. As always it is but mere blathering pre-amble to our brilliant guest, who in this episode happens to be Father and Daughter director Michaël Dudok de Wit chatting about his superb, 2D animated (mostly) feature The Red Turtle, out now in UK cinemas. Stream below (or download):
Also up now is episode 3 of Intimate Animation: Season 2, in which Laura-Beth and I ponder Annecy's upcoming Tribute to Erotica, reminisce about melted shoes and we welcome Canadian comic artist/filmmaker Diane Obomsawin. Diane's recent film J'aime les filles (I Like Girls) is a somewhat abridged adaptation of her graphic novel that visually recounts stories of various women’s affection for other women. The film won the Grand Prize for Independent Animated Short at last year's OIAF and will be screening as part of the Official Selection for Annecy 2017 later this month, as well as at Animafest Zagreb next week. Again, stream below (or, again, download):
Check it all out at - bookmark it, share it, tell friends and foe alike!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Hell god baby damn no

So funny story.
Back when I was in uni, when I wasn't recording nightmarishly cringey songs I was recording actual nightmares.
I didn't say it was a 'funny ha-ha' story.
At any rate, I was in full-on thrall to the oeuvre of one Mr. David Lynch, as I think is somewhat obligatory to a certain percentage of all creative arts students, and that naturally bled into my own work in the midst of my fumblings at some sort of individual artistic direction.
Now the return of Twin Peaks is imminent and in celebration I've reached back 15 odd years and pulled out some aural horror for you all to enjoy. Presenting for a limited time: Lodge Coffee!
The tracks featured on this release originally appeared as bridging soundscapes between the main album tracks on the presently-out-of-print first Struwwelpeter LP You're All So Precious, recorded and released in 2003. They were created using a variety of digital and analogue techniques as a tribute to the sound design and composition work of such talents as Alan Splet, Angelo Badalamenti and Lynch himself, taking particular inspiration from the soundtracks to Eraserhead and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
Sleep well!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Aren't we all waiting for a goat, in our own way?

Crikey, what a week. The first few days of the new job have been quite splendid, although the studio is a ways away so I have very little time to do anything bloggy around the commute. It's all more than worth it, however, and I'm really looking forward to talking more about it when it's released and I'm contractually able to, which will be a little while so hold tight.
When last we spoke, one-sided conversation as ours often tend to be, I'd just launched Klementhro online. On certain sites, it appears to have gone down well:
On others, less so:
While I'd concede Gizmodo commenters are perhaps not the film's target demographic I do have to side with them on the whole ghost-not-being-sarcastic thing.
At any rate it got the film some unexpected visibility which has largely been a positive. Most of all I'm delighted to say that it got picked for Short of the Week which I consider a genuine honour - for obvious reasons I keep abreast of a fair few blogs and shorts curation sites and SOTW has been consistently top-notch since it first began, so many sincere thanks to the team and especially Rob for the lovely write-up (also bonus points for being the first person to my knowledge - including me - to ever actually count the logs).
I mentioned in the last post that there was an upcoming screening next month, which will take place at The Yard Theatre in Hackney Wick for Short Sighted Cinema's one-day film festival The Shortest Nights. The screening that features Klementhro will be Outlands and takes place at noon on Sunday June 18th. I'll still be in Annecy that day so can't swing by myself but it looks like a great event so check it out, why doncha?
I'm not sure how to end this largely self-congratulatory post so I'll just embed the latest teaser for the new Twin Peaks. I had nothing to do with it, I'm just excited about it.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Nowhere to go

Following a fabulous weekend at CIFF with the Cardiff Animation Nights team, Klementhro has officially cleared 100 public screenings and, in celebration, is now online in full!
Much love and gratitude to all of the other folks who gave this film a chance, including Odense International Film Festival, Anonimul, LAIKA, Festival International du Film d'Animation de Paris, Animasyros International Animation Festival + Agora, Área de Contenção, interfilm Berlin, Flensburger Kurzfilmtage, Kyiv International Short Film Festival, Nuit du Court Métrage, AniScreen, Skepto FilmFest, Kraken Con, Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film (ITFS), Porto7 - Festival Internacional de Curtas-metragens do Porto, Ploiesti International Film Festival (PIFF), Shorts Attack, Animaze - Montreal International Animation Film Festival, TAFF - Turku Animated Film Festival, BUSHO, Linoleum International Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival, Fantoche, Filmfest Eberswalde - Provinziale, filmzeitkaufbeuren, Kurzfilmnacht-Tour, SoDak Motion, Kuandu International Animation Festival, Anima Mundi, Anilogue, MUMIA (Mostra Udigrudi Mundial de Animação), London Short Film Festival. Animakom Fest, Short Waves Festival, Le Court Nous Tient, Animation Unlimited and Cortoons Festival Gandia.
The film's big-screen adventures aren't over yet, however. I've recently gotten wind that it will play at a screening event in London next month, although I'll hold back on the specifics until they officially announce it.
More good news is I'm starting a new job today on a project I've been enthusiastic about for a while and it's looking to be a lot of fun. It's also looking to be quite full-on with a commute on top so my self-set completion deadline for my next film Sunscapades (end of May) is looking unlikely. That being said it's still coming together nicely and will hopefully benefit from the extra marinating time. Fingers crossed it will have some kind of premiere before the year is through.
In the meantime I recently spoke with Dan Ekis - a likeminded fellow with whom I share an enthusiasm for all things indie animation - about, well, all things indie animation, with a sprinkling of Skwigly stuff and I'm fairly certain some shameless book plugging thrown in. Check out his Animation Auteur pod/vodcast for all sorts of wonderful interviews with some animation greats - including Steven Subotnik, Janet Perlman, Patrick Smith, Ruth Lingford, Andy Martin and Elliot Cowan among others - and you can check out the episode with our conversation below (if the state of my horrific office environment is too much to handle - and yes, that is actually a cassette player behind me - you can also download an audio-only version):

Thursday, 4 May 2017

More Chats
In the past week on Skwigly there have been a couple of long-overdue (in so much as they're about people I've wanted to feature for a fair few years now) pieces gone up that are both worth sharing. Firstly I've posted up a Q'n'A with Dutch animator Joost Lieuwma of Frame Order. I first met Joost back in 2011 for that year's edition of ITFS Stuttgart, where my film The Naughty List was playing out of competition. That particular trip turned out to be a turning point in several ways - it yielded my first Skwigly features, something that's obviously become a major part of my life, and started a chain of events that got my film in the hands of one my biggest industry heroes, in front of an Annecy audience and, eventually, on TV. Those aside I have a very clear memory of how the quality of the work playing in competition deeply inspired me, far more so than any other festival had up to that point. Among said films was Joost's hilarious and brilliant exercise in simplicity Things You'd Better Not Mix Up, and as the year's passed he'd continue to make equally wonderful work such as Leaving Home, How Dave and Emma Got Pregnant and Panic! (co-directed by Daan Velsink) which I was honoured to see screening alongside my last film Klementhro when I finally made it back to Stuttgart last year. Since then Joost has been knocking out a series of brilliant micro-shorts called Cartoon-Box, one of which will be playing at Stuttgart tomorrow (alas I didn't have anything to submit to this year's edition but knock wood Sunscapades will make the grade in 2018). Have a read of the interview here and treat yourself to some of his work, you won't regret it.
Another feature you should have a read of is Laura-Beth's recent conversation with Bristol-based director Emma Lazenby. Emma's work, generally centered around medical subjects (although she recently served as Art Director on the recent Disney series Nina Needs to Go! that some other buddies of mine worked on) has always proved to be thoughtful, charming and a great example of how animation can be used to put across more sensitive topics without necessarily being stoic or clinical. Back in 2010 her ArthurCox/Channel 4 film Mother of Many deservedly won itself a BAFTA and it remains a particularly strong marriage of visuals (with some uncompromisingly non-cinematic yet accessible depictions of childbirth and midwifery) and sound, boasting a wonderful percussive soundtrack by David Schweitzer.
Since then she has gone on to form ForMed Films, other films of note including One of a Kind, A Little Deep Sleep and My Mum's Got a Dodgy Brain. In the interview - which you can read here - Emma also talks a bit about her upcoming project Perinatal Positivity for which she'll be raising funds over the next few weeks. Learn more about how you can get involved by giving the video a watch below: