Monday, 5 February 2018

Ben and Women

https://open.spotify.com/album/4CkXQhto9Cssps9InwkFqa
Continuing the migration of my musical back catalogue to some of these modern distribution channels - what with me being so hip and down with the youth and all - February's re-release is my 2010 album The Book of Women.
This one was originally put out when my attentions were mostly focused on The Naughty List and, in a limbo between the eras of MySpace and Bandcamp, didn't really get much momentum compared to the albums that came before and after. It was a lot of fun to do, however, and has a lot of great musician pals of mine guesting on it, not to mention fond memories associated with it. So if you're in the mood check 'er out for free on Spotify (you can stream below) or grab it for keepsies on iTunes/Apple Music, Amazon, Bandcamp or even on compact disc if you like your unfashionably retro music formats. The CD has the added bonus of featuring a photo of me on the back looking like a bell-end if that's an incentive at all.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

That Gumball you like is going to come back in style

Here's an interview I've been sitting on for ages that I hope you all get a kick out of. As part of 2017's Annecy coverage I got to meet three folks who've been on my interview wish-list for a good long while now: Creative duo Becky & Joe (who created the brilliant, Rainbow-meets-Requiem For A Dream horror series Don't Hug Me I'm Scared to tremendous viral success) recently brought their penchant for puppetry to The Amazing World of Gumball's season 5 episode The Puppets, and MANOMAN director Simon Cartwright of Cartwright Gantz who directed the accompanying webseries Waiting For Gumball (Simon previously appeared on episode 32 of the podcast).
Also at this junket were James Stevenson Bretton and Tom Stuart of Blink Industries as well as Ben Bocquelet (marking his second Lightbox appearance) and Mic Graves, Gumball's series creator and director respectively.
I'm still a little in the dark as to whether or not The Puppets and Waiting For Gumball were released/broadcast here in the UK, but they definitely came out in the States a few months' back. Either way they're great fun and it was a treat to chat with everyone involved. If you dig it you might want to check out the other interviews from this particular junket - with Simon Landrein (guest artist) and Ben Locket (composer).

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

The 'Cast Continues

http://feeds.soundcloud.com/stream/388381550-skwigly-skwigly-podcast-76.mp3
For episode 76 of the Skwigly Animation Podcast I was thrilled to speak with Cartoon Saloon co-founder Nora Twomey, director of the animated feature film adaptation of Deborah Ellis’s The Breadwinner that just got itself an Oscar nomination.
Fulfilling a variety of key roles at the studio, Nora’s has served as Creative Director on projects such as preschool series Puffin Rock, as well as co-directing the 2009 feature The Secret of Kells alongside co-founder Tomm Moore, directing the short films From Darkness (2002) and Cúilín Dualach (2004) and serving as Head of Story on Song Of The Sea (2014).
Having received its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, The Breadwinner has gone on to receive a Golden Globe nomination and multiple nominations for the Annie Awards and the Canadian Screen Awards, winning Best Animation at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards and Leeds International Film Festival.
Also discussed in this episode: A look at the other animated Academy Award contenders, BAFTA nominations and early impressions of Aardman's Early Man,  Stream this episode below or direct download:

Monday, 15 January 2018

Kickey Muck

https://www.thenewcurrent.co.uk/benmitchell-klementhro
As part of their coverage of this year's edition of British Shorts in Berlin (which had the good manners to screen Klementhro on Friday), the fine folks at indie film mag The New Current interviewed me about it. Have a read here for some wafflings about making indie animated films, managing Skwigly and putting together my book.
Elsewhere the new Bertram Fiddle game A Bleaker Predicklement (from pals Rumpus Animation and featuring yours truly attempting a variety of dubious regional accent) has this week expanded its release to include Android, so get downloadin' for Pete's sake!
You'll marvel at Blacksmith and Little Wacksmith's geographically inexplicable voice characterisations
If you want to get caught up then throughout this week you'll be able to get yourself a copy of the first game A Dreadly Business - one of the major case studies of aforementioned book, don'cha know - for free! If that doesn't kick Blue Monday up its blue arse I don't know what will.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Ich bin ein Berlin-type guy

http://www.britishshorts.de/programmEN.html?id=1157852577126700000
I'm pleasantly surprised to say that, as Sunscapades nears its finish line (for real this time), my previous film Klementhro still has a bit of life in it yet. This coming Friday (12th) it will get its first (and possibly last/only) 2018 screening in Berlin at the 11th Lichtspielklub Short Film Festival (AKA British Shorts), a fantastic-looking event I'm disappointed to not be able to attend in person. The screening will take place at the Sputnik Kino at 7:30pm, click here for more info on what else is playing. Having a skim of the programme it looks like there are some belters representing the animation side of things, including recent work by Robert Morgan, Joseph Wallace, Liam Harris, Sara Barbas and Will Anderson among others, so give it some love if you're in the city.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Reel Gone

It's been a good long while but I've given the ol' showreel a bit of an update:
Hopefully over the course of this year I'll be able to do a complete revamp with footage from some of the recent projects I've worked on that I'm not allowed to share just yet. In the meantime this one is structured in much the same way as it's been for the last few years with the addition of some first looks at several scenes from Sunscapades and a couple snippets from stuff like Klementhro and Lendas Animadas.
Hope it entertains for a minute and a bit. If it moves you to hire me that'd be even better. I brighten any workplace with my puckish-yet-unobtrusive bon mots and have been told I make a tolerable cuppa.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

If you have 48 minutes to kill

https://open.spotify.com/album/4FCECZYmFFHJYl5ReoyECl
Happy new year, ya filthy animals.
Alongside the usual animationey chunks I'll be expectorating into the world over the coming months I'm keen to have 2018 be a year for some new - or, at the very least, unheard - music of mine. Rather than get ahead of myself and outline what I have planned - because whenever I do that on here it pretty much guarantees it won't pan out (remember when Sunscapades was supposedly going to be done by last May?) - I'm first going to tackle the long-overdue expanded digital release of some old albums.
Kicking things off I'm happy to say the fifth Struwwelpeter album The Birdcage, originally released May 2015, is now available on a wider variety of platforms as of today. These include iTunes/Apple Music, Amazon and Spotify among others. You can give the Spotify version a whirl below - it's free, fun and the health risks are slim:
Hopefully some of the other Struwwelpeter albums will see the light of the day as well, which would be nice as a lot of them have been OOP for a fair few years now. I'll play it by ear. In the meantime the original digital release is still available on Bandcamp and, for you old-fogeys, compact disc. Whatever's your pleasure.

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

http://2017.pifpaf.cz/en/programs/aniscreen-in-the-antikvariat-bookshop/
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.
http://shortwaves.pl/en/the-shortest-day-international-short-film-day/
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)