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.

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).

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!