Thursday, 20 July 2017

Clubbing Together

https://www.facebook.com/events/492606254424278
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

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/soundcloud/iSrI/~5/z78jqh9yELc/332782563-skwigly-intimate-animation-2-04-12072017-chintis-lundgren-drasko-ivezic.mp3
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

https://www.animamundi.com.br/en/
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.

http://www.blackcatpictureshow.com/
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.
http://www.cardiffanimation.com/
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.
http://www.skwigly.co.uk/producing-animation-jelena-popovic/
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

Eastbound

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:
http://animafest.hr/en/2017/program/maureen_furniss_a_new_history_of_animation_ben_mitchell_independent_animation_developing_producing_and_distributing_your_animated_films_simon_bogojevic_narath_saturns_circle/1
ANIMAFEST PRO: BOOK PRESENTATION
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.
ANIMAFEST PRO: MAKING INDEPENDENT ANIMATION NOW
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 http://www.skwigly.co.uk - 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).
http://shortsightedcinema.com/the-shortest-nights-17/
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):