If you're in the mood for a holiday movie marathon on this most Xmassy of Eves - or if you just want to drown out the family squabbling - you could do worse than catching up on our seasonally-themed batch of Skwigly Film Club podcasts we've been putting up this month.
Thursday, 24 December 2020
If you're in the mood for a holiday movie marathon on this most Xmassy of Eves - or if you just want to drown out the family squabbling - you could do worse than catching up on our seasonally-themed batch of Skwigly Film Club podcasts we've been putting up this month.
Tuesday, 22 December 2020
As I've found myself with a much freer schedule than anticipated this week (thanks BoJo, you mop-headed dunce) here's a little story not remotely connected to Xmas, harking back to a time when people could congregate in the tens of thousands. Perhaps one day that will be something we can do again and you'll get more gems like this. Fingers crossed innit.
Monday, 14 December 2020
I realised, thanks to the cruel joys of social media and their respective 'On This Day' thingies, that today marks the ten-year anniversary of my fourth Struwwelpeter LP The Book Of Women. After the soaring (scraped quadruple digits, phwoar) sales of the not-as-good previous LP Agnosticaust in a post-MySpace world this one quietly came out digitally (with a physical release the following week) to a more tepid response. My G5 had crashed two weeks beforehand so I'd lost a bunch of the masters as well as virtually all the assets for a couple of animated music videos that would have gone with it and ended up cobbling the released album together from a mix of partially-recovered files, earlier demo versions and a couple tracks hurriedly remixed from scratch. Even still it was a fun one to piece together and had some great guest musicians.
Monday, 7 December 2020
Thursday, 26 November 2020
You know the holiday season is nearly upon us when I won't shut up about my book being on sale. If anyone out there reading this hasn't picked it up yet and is mighty sore that they missed out on some of the recent deals earlier in the month then stop your whining and instead rejoice that both the paperback and eBook editions of Independent Animation: Developing, Producing and Distributing Your Animated Films will be available at a glorious 30% off throughout this entire Black Friday weekend! That's if you pick it up directly from the publisher which, considering they throw in free shipping, seems like a damn good option to me.
Wednesday, 25 November 2020
There's a similar situation playing out in Hungary, where the Anilogue International Animation Festival is kicking off today in online form. Having included Klementhro in their 14th edition they've had the good manners to throw in Speed for their 18th, although the programme specifics have been shrouded in mystery until today. Needless to say the Extremely Short Animated Films section that my film is part of won't actually be taking place until their rescheduled physical edition in May, so watch this space for info on when that comes together.
An outing for Speed that will actually be going ahead as planned (unless I've just jinxed it) is its inclusion in the comedy shorts film festival Short Com from November 30th! The event will be held virtually until December 6th via XerbTV with Speed part of the official selection. This one's geolocked to the UK but there's a tentative plan for some international screenings down the line. Worth mentioning that profits from these events will be donated to The Refugee Council, if you fancy checking them out tickets are available here.
One last update for now is that the Official Selection for the 2020 Palm Springs International Animation Festival & Expo is now online with Speed part of the Animated Comedy Shorts section. This one will be running from December 22nd through to January 2nd and will take the form of an online edition as well as a series of drive-in screenings, which is a nifty solution. Don't know much else about it just yet but keep your eyes on their Facebook for updates as they come.
Monday, 16 November 2020
The latest official selection announcement for Speed is the top-notch Sommets du Cinéma d'Animation over in Montreal, which takes place December 1st through to the 6th. Obviously it burns my ass to not be able to attend in person, especially given it's where a lot of my favourite people in the world live, but I was privileged to be a guest of the festival in a Skwigly capacity back in 2013 and had an absolute blast so it's wonderful to finally be involved as a filmmaker under any circumstances.
Speed plays in the International Competition of Very Short Films on December 5th at 5pm among a stellar lineup. Check out their website and socials for full schedule and ticket info as it comes. Merci, mes amis!
Manchester Animation Festival has officially kicked off and you'd be, if you'll pardon my language, a darn ninny if you missed out on it. Some personal recommendations include the Short Films Panorama including Laura-Beth Cowley's film The Gift, the MAFter Dark live watch-party featuring Speed, Marie-Ève Lacelle's ToonBoom Harmony masterclass plus a chance to catch the new Cartoon Saloon film Wolfwalkers as well as a Snowden-Fine retrospective and Q&A. Also this year's Skwigly Quiz is looking to be a fun one - alas it's sold out at this point but for those of you who managed to nab a ticket in time we've cooked up some fun stuff for our first online version so hopefully you'll get a kick out of it. There are still plenty of other events available so be sure to check out their full schedule and lineup here.
Sunday, 8 November 2020
Another event I'm pretty stoked about is Estonia's PÖFF Shorts, the sub-festival of the prestigious Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. Way back in 2009 PÖFF was one of the first events to give my student film House Guest some indecent exposure and I've not managed to weasel my way back into any of their line-ups since, so this is a li'l nugget o' gratification. This one runs from November 17th through to the 25th and will be an online/physical hybrid event. Speed is part of the shorts programme Late Night Love that has two near-simultaneous screenings on November 25th - 7:45pm (in Hall 7 of Tallinn's Coca-Cola Plaza) and 8pm at Tartu's Athena Center. If you're not feeling it yet when it comes to physical screenings you can find info on how the online viewing works here.
Thursday, 5 November 2020
Hola m'lovelies. Hope you're all staying safe and sane as we slide into another month of nationally-regulated hermitude. Now would be as good a time as any to stock up on some fine animation literature and, thanks to the modern miracle of targeted marketing, I've just gotten wind that my book Independent Animation: Directing, Producing and Distributing Your Animated Films is part of a Mastering Animation collection curated by the fine folks at CRC Press. The collection is available via Humble Bundle and, from what I gather, is a tiered bundle where you pay in increments to unlock a range of titles in eBook format, so the more you pay the more you get access to. I don't know much more other than that and frankly have no idea if the arrangement does or doesn't benefit me in any particular way, but as the only complaint I ever hear about the book is its price tag I'm always keen to spread the word if there are more cost-effective ways for folks to get their mitts on it. Also some of the profits will go to the Hero Initiative which is a pretty decent cause.
It's a pay-what-you-like system but the site has a breakdown of what you get for your cash, what I do know is that if you go with the highest tier you get 23 books that would cost you a pretty massive wedge if you bought them all individually. Among the other books in the collection my main recommendations (some of which I've reviewed already) include Bill Plympton's Make Toons That Sell (Without Selling Out), Floyd Norman's Animated Life, Adam Phillips's Animate To Harmony as well as Tony Bancroft's Directing For Animation, Hane Bacher's Dream Worlds and Acting and Performance for Animation, an essential text on character animation by Derek Hayes and my old UWE mentor Chris Webster.
You have about eighteen days from today to snap 'em up, if it grabs ya then you can find more info here.
If you'd still prefer the satisfying weight, girth and aroma of a physical book then the paperback edition of Independent Animation is also presently available at a reduced price as part of Routledge/CRC's current sale that goes until November 15th. As is often the case with their sale offers you get 20% off if you buy it on its own and 25% off for two or more books. Holiday season's just around the corner, don'cha know...
Friday, 23 October 2020
Something of a Skwigly milestone this week with the release of our landmark 100th episode of the Skwigly Animation Podcast.
Fittingly enough it's a guest roster of heavy-hitters as we welcome back Tomm Moore and meet Ross Stewart of Cartoon Saloon, directors of the stunning new feature film Wolfwalkers that is released in cinemas from October 26th and will be available on Apple TV+
from December 11th. I was lucky enough to get snuck in to a screening of this one at the BFI London Film Festival a couple weeks back and it's absolutely gorgeous, so be sure to give it some love.
We also welcome back previous podcast guest and Oscar-winner Glen Keane to discuss his new CG feature Over the Moon, released today on Netflix, as well as Vanessa Harryhausen, daughter of the legendary Ray Harryhausen and author of the new book Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema that accompanies the exhibition of the same name.
Also discussed in this episode: The evolution of digital film festivals from our various perspectives as programmers, attendees and filmmakers, upcoming highlights from Manchester Animation Festival and Cardiff Animation Festival, the arbitrary furore of Disney’s updated content warnings and the site-breaking popularity of Vivziepop – plus we read out messages from the Skwigly audience, having desperately solicited approval.
Direct download here or stream the episode below:
Producing and hosting this series alongside our various other podcast strands (if you add them all up the full tally is 190 episodes) has been an enormously gratifying ongoing project over the years, one that has not only granted me time with some of my biggest personal inspirations but also forged strong relationships with some of the animation industry's most important organisations and events.
In an ideal world it would go on forever but the inconvenient reality is that the kind of free time I had available back when it started over eight years ago just isn't there anymore, and as it's never been a source of direct income it will have to proceed sporadically, if at all. In truth that's already been the case this past year and nobody's complained, and I have no desire to hang it up outright so I'm just going to roll with the punches. Tentative plan is to have it be a seasonal thing but you never know what circumstances will dictate, especially these days. In the meantime if you have a few pennies you'd be happy to throw our way you can support the site here. But if you don't we still like ya anyways.
Tuesday, 20 October 2020
The Balkanima European Animation Film Festival kicks off today, with Laura-Beth Cowley's film The Gift among its official selection. If you're checking out the event be sure to catch the film in their Main Competition Program 3 that will be streaming this Thursday October 22nd at 9pm CET. It's been a while but I remember this event as one that gave my films a chance during the earlier days of me putting them out there so it's great to see they're still at it.Cardiff Animation Festival have decided to go ahead with their 2020 edition after all, albeit in digital form. As you might recall from earlier this year, both The Gift and my latest film Speed were part of the line-up which remains the case - you can see them as part of the programmes Shorts 2: Body and Shorts 3: Heart respectively, both available from October 24th through the November 1st with special live-stream watch parties on October 27th at 4pm and 7pm.
Laura-Beth and I will also be wearing our interviewers' caps for two Animators' Brunch Q&A sessions you might want to check out. They'll be free to attend and taking place at 11am on October 25th and November 1st. Other events definitely worth taking a peek at include Directing Bob's Burgers with Simon Chong (6pm October 24th) a special Visible in Visuals panel (6pm October 29th) as well as presentations for Moonvalley (11am October 31st) and The Rubbish World of Dave Spud (1pm October 31st). There's a whole heap more on offer so be sure to give the full schedule your attention.Maniatic - the Fantastic International Film Festival of Manises over in Valencia, Spain. This one will be including a rarer (these days) screening of my 2018 film Sunscapades, which will be part of the Children's Session on October 30th at 5pm. Hopefully it won't give the young'uns nightmares. Check out the full programme and venue/COVID info at the festival's official website. Festival BaideFest Roses. This one will be the slightly less kid-friendly screening Horror Geek COVID Block VII that takes place November 7th from 10pm at the Municipal Theatre of Roses. How 'bout that?
Monday, 12 October 2020
As well as our respective filmmaker Q&A sessions Laura-Beth Cowley and I were able to participate in a small-scale in-person screening over at the Watershed for the unusually high percentage of Bristol-based filmmakers involved in this year's edition. The festival has uploaded the Q&A sessions (in which myself and Laura-Beth chat about Speed and The Gift respectively) to their Facebook page and you can give them a watch below, if for no other reason than to be awed by the early-seasons-of-Frasier skullet I've unwittingly grown during lockdown.
Friday, 9 October 2020
In this episode we meet Nadja Andrasev, whose film Symbiosis tells the story of a betrayed wife investigating her husband’s mistresses who finds her jealousy is gradually replaced by curiosity. Having premiered internationally at last year’s edition of the Annecy festival, the film has gone on to win a multitude of awards including the Zlatko Grgić Award for best first film made outside of an education institution at Animafest Zagreb this month.
Also discussed in this episode: Recent animation festival highlights including Betty (Will Anderson), Nox Insomnia (Guy Charnaux), Sex Moves (Alex Bernas), For Baby’s Sake (Emma Lazenby), Altötting (Andreas Hykade), Just A Guy (Shoko Hara) and Cwch Deilen/Leaf Boat (Efa Blosse-Mason) as well as BlinkInk/Zombie‘s recent animated spot Love Story for Viagra and J.G. Quintel‘s new series Close Enough.
Direct download link is here or you can stream below if you please:
Wednesday, 30 September 2020
Following on from episode one, the second Visible in Visuals podcast has gone up today in which panelists Esther Ajibade, Bimpe Alliu, Mel Garber, Mohamed Orekan, Rizwan Rafiq, Tanya J Scott, Ash Wu and Beverly Yeang are chaired by Hodan Abdi to discuss the question “Why is fair and diverse representation within animation important and how can we improve it?”
Wednesday, 23 September 2020
If you're scratching your heads, basically I'll be running the following panels for the animation selection:
- 23/09 - Animation 3: Short Shorts 1
- 25/09 - Animation 5: Eyes on the World 1
- 28/09 - Animation 6: Alumni 1
- 01/10 - Animation 9: Trailblazers 2
- 02/10 - Animation 10: Eyes on the World 2
- 05/10 - Animation 11: Brits and Pieces
- 07/10 - Animation 12: Short Shorts 3
All of these take place at noon and will be posted up the evenings of their initial live streams and available until the end of the festival. The other sessions will be hosted by Encounters' Animation Programmer Kieran Argo at the same time each day, so be sure to check 'em all out. Overall these will cover a far wider spectrum of participants than the live Q&As of past editions have been able to so that's a bit of silver lining as far as our current predicament goes. For those of you chomping at the bit to hear my pithy insights into the making of Speed, I believe I'll be part of the noon panel on the 30th (a week today). Tune in and give me a good grillin' why doncha?
Monday, 21 September 2020
New music for your Monday!
Hell For Leather, my latest EP in anticipation of the still-cooking Struwwelpeter album My Head Is Too Small For My Body, is up now on a bunch of platforms to stream/purchase. As well as an instrumental version of the title track it also features alternate non-LP versions of Act Right (which originally appeared on my 2015 LP The Birdcage) and the previously-unreleased Worst of You, which will be a bit longer and ruder on the album proper when it comes out.
Thursday, 17 September 2020
Some general updates regarding the screening schedule of my latest film Speed for the rest of this month, which has turned out to be rather busy. Firstly the magnificent folks over at Pictoplasma will be showing it as part of their third short film programme Together, Apart, which will stream this Saturday September 19th at 5pm Germany time (4pm here in the UK) on the Festival Stream channel. If you're a fellow attendee I'm gonna try and nose my way into the Zoom meet'n'greet directly after the programme, so maybe see you there.
This weekend also sees the Encounters Film Festival here in Bristol kicking off for three massive weeks up until October 11th. My understanding is that, rather than there being specific screening slots, festival passholders will have access to the full programme to peruse at their leisure for the duration, so get on it! I will however be participating in a livestreamed filmmaker Q&A that festivalgoers can tune into this coming Wednesday, September 23rd at noon. In fact I'll be hosting a few of the other sessions as I'd previously done for the physical edition, so there's a chance you'll see my adorable hairy mug regardless. UPDATE 18/09: I've also just gotten wind that Speed will be part of a special Comedy Shorts presentation that will stream to passholders from 8pm tonight!digital programme for this year's Anima Syros, closing out their International Panorama V screening which starts at 10:30pm in the Posidonia Virtual Hall. For the more adventurous Grecians among ye, there will also be a nearly-simultaneous (starting 10:45pm that same night) open-air screening of the same programme you can check out instead, which will be at the Posidonia Tsiropina Mansion. Fancy!Tokyo Anime Award Festival's delayed presentation of this year's films in competition from earlier this year. Speed will screen in Slot 3 at 7pm, repeated the following day at 4:55pm at the New Bungeiza (Marhan Ikebukuro Building 3F).
In non-Speed-but-still-animation-screening-ey news, I should mention that Laura-Beth and I will again be mucking in with our pals at Cardiff Animation Nights this month for some Skwigly filmmaker Q&As, this time with participating animation talents Ivyy Chen (Isle of Chair) and Tobias Rud (But Jane Was Deaf) respectively. It's another pearler of a screening so be sure to tune in to their YouTube channel this Thursday September 24th at 8pm and treat yourselves.
Friday, 4 September 2020
A couple new podcasts for your listenin' ears, folks!
Firstly I'm enormously proud to present the first podcast from Visible In Visuals, a new organisation pushing to make the animation and visual effects industries more inclusive. Following on from animator Tanya Scott's Skwigly piece Inclusion & Diversity in UK Animation Workforce: A Response, and subsequent online discussions including the recent panel Inclusion In Animation organised by ScreenSkills, UWE and the Cardiff Animation Festival, Visible In Visuals has been developed by Tanya and Hodan Abdi as an online platform pushing to make the animation and VFX industries more diverse and inclusive through honest, open conversation.
The first Visible In Visuals panel Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: A People of Colour Perspective features panelists Bimpe Alliu, Rizwan Rafiq, Mohamed Orekan and Tanya Scott. Direct download here or stream above.
We've also wrapped up another batch of Skwigly Film Club podcasts this week, with our latest episode seeing us watch-through another Raymond Briggs weepie When the Wind Blows, directed by Jimmy T. Murakami. These have been a lot of fun to do and I reckon it's very likely they'll continue once we're all a little less busy later on in the year. Certainly it looks like this lockdown lark isn't easing up anytime soon so it's a nice little series to have bubbling away. Give us a shout on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or regular-ass email if you have any film suggestions for when it kicks off again. In the meantime you can stream the episode below or get it downloaded here.
Friday, 28 August 2020
Crikey, two blog posts in one week. It's starting to get like the before times up in here.
Firstly I want to say thanks to all the folks who checked out last night's Cardiff Animation Nights screening and to the wonderful filmmakers Lana Simanenkova, Cliona Noonan and Justin Hilden for participating in our Skwigly Q&As afterwards. It was really encouraging to see such a positive response over the feed and knock wood we'll be able to do more like it in the near future. Kudos as always to Lauren, Ellys and the CAN team for a great selection and for keeping enthusiasm for this kind of thing alive.
To wrap up this week I have news of two more events that will be including my latest film Speed, the first being the Warsaw Animation Film Festival that, having kicked off yesterday, will be including the film in the Professional Animation Competition Block 3: Twisted all throughout Sunday (August 30th) via the online platform MOJEeKINO. You can check out the full programme here. Dziękuję, folks!
The tremendous Anima Syros festival has also revealed that Speed is among their official selection this week. This was one of the first events to give Klementhro a punt around five years back so they hold a special place in my heart. This time around my film will be included as part of the International Panorama alongside some magnificent work and, all being well, the festival will run from September 23rd through to the 27th as a 'Phygital' edition. More info on how that will manifest itself and programme specifics when it comes.
That's all from this guy. Enjoy your bank holiday, kids!
Monday, 24 August 2020
This year's edition of the magnificent Encounters Film Festival has announced its Official Selection, which I'm excited to say includes my latest film Speed as well as Laura-Beth's The Gift among what looks like an absolutely stellar line-up. For those of you paying attention - yes, I was on the preselection team for the festival again and no, I didn't get to preselect the films I worked on. But I would have in a goddamn heartbeat because I'm a lovably unscrupulous spalpeen and, frankly, they're delightful.
Other personal highlights include some films/filmmakers recently covered on Skwigly, such as Michaela Mihályi and David Štumpf's SH_T HAPPENS, Theodore Ushev's The Physics of Sorrow, Andreas Hykade's Altötting and Robin Shaw's The Tiger Who Came To Tea.
Of course this will be a digital edition and you can find out more info as it comes via the festival website in the coming weeks.earlier post regarding Speed's inclusion as part of Fest Anča's Extremely Short Selection of Extremely Short Films - it looks like that one is indeed going ahead as a physical edition. Obviously they have precautions set up but it'll be an indoor screening, so if you swing by then be sure to be safe and, y'know, make sure you don't hug your nan for a while. At any rate it'll be this Friday 11pm at the Stanica Žilina-Záriečie in the EKSEKF 2 programme.Skwigly Film Club episodes, so if you're not yet caught up then head over to the site to catch our recent watch-throughs of George Dunning's Yellow Submarine and Jonathan Myerson's The Canterbury Tales. Also if you want to weigh in on what we look at next then be sure to keep an eye on our Twitter and cast your votes during the playoffs.
If you fancy something else to listen to then you can siphon a previously-unreleased upload I dusted off over the weekend into your trembling little earholes. This is an alternate, non-explicit edit of the opening track to my 2015 LP The Birdcage plucked from a pile of prospective b-sides for the next EP that will hopefully be going up soon. It was quite a long time ago that I put this one together so I don't remember much about making it other than having some fun with the funky-worm synth during the bridge. Anyways, here it is:
Weren't that purtey? Right, now scram, ya ingrates.
Sunday, 16 August 2020
Happy Monday, gang! Following its TV broadcast earlier this year there's some festival news for Laura-Beth Cowley's latest film The Gift, made for BBC Arts/Calling The Shots and on which I animated and made various unpleasant noises. These will all be online events and all look like great fun so give 'em some consideration.
Arrow Video Frightfest. This is the second time I've been able to ride the coattails of someone else's film getting in to this particular festival and I'm enthusiastic to see how the digital version comes together. The Gift will be part of the Short Films Showcase 2 that festivalgoers can stream from 6pm on August 27th through to 9pm on the 31st. Tickets are a measly £5 and you can grab 'em up here. Also worth a reminder that right afterward Laura-Beth and I will be helping out our pals at Cardiff Animation Nights for their August programme that starts at 8:15pm on YouTube, so that's your evening sorted!
Linoleum Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival will be taking place, starting on September 2nd through to the 6th. Having featured Laura-Beth's previous film Boris-Noris back in 2017 (as well as my film Klementhro the previous year) these folks have further cemented their reputation for good taste by featuring both The Gift and my latest film Speed this year. The Gift will be among the Ladies First programme showcasing standout new work by female directors and Speed can be seen as part of the special screening #KillMePlease curated by Skwigly comrade Aaron Wood.
Nosferatu Film Festival, a triannual event focused of indie horror films that will be taking kicking things off in October/November. More info on that one when it comes, in the meantime you can follow the film's Facebook page and Instagram for updates.
Tuesday, 11 August 2020
Participating in the roundtable discussion are Jennifer Stratton (Zenith), Trent Correy (Drop), Kendra Vander Vliet (Downtown) and Jeff Gipson (Cycles).
Also discussed in this episode: The welcome return of Animaniacs, the unwelcome return of Ren and Stimpy among other recent Gen X Comedy Central reboots, Don Hertzfeldt's teaser for World of Tomorrow: Episode 3, the curious pushback against the creator of A24's new acquisition Hazbin Hotel as well as the rapid adaptation of the animation festival landscape midst the continuing pandemic. Direct download link is here or stream below if you're the streamin' type:
Maybe it's lockdown or maybe it's the heat - or maybe that we're nearly 100 episodes in - but listening back while putting this one together it feels a little more contentious and didactic than usual. As always if anyone out there has any thoughts on some of the stuff we go into feel free to get in touch, even if it's to tell me what a grouchy melt I'm being.
If that still leaves you wanting then there's good news in that the Skwigly Film Club is still clubbin' along. Recent episodes have included watch-throughs of such fine fillums as Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Roger Mainwood's Ethel and Ernest as well as Chris Butler and Sam Fell's ParaNorman. The polls are still open for which film we'll babble over during this week's episode, so be sure to cast your vote and assist in determining our fate.
On the subject of a possible future podcast strand, some of you may recall Tanya Scott's Skwigly article Inclusion & Diversity in UK Animation Workforce: A Response addressing the findings of a prominent industry survey. It's prompted a lot of discussion and through podcasts and panel discussions Tanya's been expanding on some of the conversation points in the months since, such as a recent Inclusion In Animation panel back in June. The reactions have been very encouraging and hopefully it will prove to be something Skwigly can assist with further. In the meantime Tanya will be conducting a follow-up panel further discussing BAME issues within the industry and if you're interested in hearing more, helping out or contributing questions be sure to follow her new organisation Visible in Visuals. If you missed the original panel unfortunately it wasn't recorded but the Cardiff Animation Festival put up an excellent infographic series breaking down the points and insights that came up.
Speaking of the ever-wonderful CAF team, Laura-Beth and I will be mucking in with their next Cardiff Animation Nights screnning in a Skwigly capacity for some filmmaker Q&As. The event will take place August 27th via their YouTube channel, kicking off around 8:15pm so be sure to tune in.
As my brains are melting out of my ears right now I think I'll wrap up this post here, but swing by again soon as there's some more good news a-comin'...