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HONORING “TOY STORY” TURNING 20
To celebrate Toy Story turning 20, John Lasseter and three of his associates talked about the early days of Pixar for almost two hours recently at the Castro Theatre. Judging from the large audience’s enthusiastic responses, hearing Lasseter, Ed Catmull, Pete Docter and Andrew Stanton discussing how the company grew from being a tiny experimental division of George Lucas’ ILM into a world famous studio was a highly successful and fascinating look behind the scenes. The benefit for the San Francisco Film Festival included lots of recollections of what it was like to be pioneers in computer imaging. The guests of honor saw computer art grow from being a medium that could barely create crude simple forms to one capable of producing Toy Story, the world’s first completely CG feature.
EAT DRINK FILM has published an impressive illustrated version of this article with rare photos and video clips. http://eatdrinkfilms.com/2015/11/19/toy-story-celebrates-its-20th-anniversary-in-style/
OUR NOVEMBER EVENT “NEW DIRECTIONS IN 21st CENTURY ANIMATION” INTRODUCED NEW APPROACHES TO CREATING GREAT ART FOR ADULTS
The event held at SF State featured new work by five seasoned Bay Area animators, Ben Ridgeway, Charlie Canfield, David Chai Dan McHale and Martha Gorzycki. Each has a highly creative personal approach to this fine art and the works are created for intelligent adults, not kids.
In Ben Ridgway’s retrospective he showed a variety of works that explore his visionary adventures into unknown worlds. His art is a rich aesthetic experience full of wonderful abstract images that form imaginary structural forms.
In his power point presentation he showed both films and bronze sculptures created using his computer files used to make some of the forms in his recent movies. His cast bronze sculptures are being sold to fine art collectors. Examples of his work can be seen at https://benridgway.wordpress.com/ Ben teaches animation at SF State University.
THERE IS LOTS OF COOL BILL PLYMPTON STUFF YOU CAN BUY AT HIS ONLINE STORE
If you order a Blu-Ray of Cheatin,’ his latest feature (only $20) he will include a signed holiday card with it! The card is actually a small 8 page comic book. Order now from http://www.plymptoonstore.com/
YOU CAN BUY “ANIMATION – A WORLD HISTORY” AT A DISCOUNT
Giannalberto Bendazzi created Cartoons, a remarkable reference book, in 1994. Since then he has expanded his research and the results are the three volume set Animation: A World History. It is the largest, deepest, and most comprehensive text of its kind. He sees animation as an art form that deserves its own place in scholarship. He goes far beyond Disney, to give us glimpses into the animation of Europe, Russia, Africa, Latin America, and other often-neglected areas. Discover lots of important artist whose work is well known elsewhere, but not in the US. www.routledge.com.
If you order from the publisher you can get a 20% discount by entering the code FOC20. The shipping is free.
14TH EUGANEA FILM FESTIVAL July 2015
Este, Euganea and Padova, Italy
by Nancy Denney-Phelps
I have never spent much time at Italian animation festivals so I was delighted to accept the invitation to be on the animation jury of the 14th Euganea Film Festival. The festival takes place over 3 different weekends in 3 different Northern Italian cities, where over 60 films were screened. The first weekend was in the beautiful city of Este, in the Province of Padua in the Veneto region of northern Italy, and was devoted to animation. The documentary and short live action films were shown in two other cities on following weekends with different juries.
You can find out more about the festival at www.euganeafilmfestival.it
SEE “MELTING POP” ALEXANDRE DUBOSC’S NEWEST ANIMATED ZOETROPE CAKE
Almost a dozen people e-mailed me in October about how much they enjoyed this work by French artist and animator Alexandre Dubosc. It is an impressive zoetrope filmed with close-ups of a rotating multi-layered cake. thisiscolossal.com/…/andre-duboscs-newest-animated-zoetrope-cake-melting-pop
While a lot of people are excited by Melting Pop there have been older examples of the rotating layers concept that are impressive. In 2009 Nik Phelps did the soundtrack for Eric Dyer’s Bellows March, an abstract sculpture in layers that used parts created with a computer and a 3D printer. See a long excerpt at https://vimeo.com/21324452
Did Dyer develop the technique? One of his Vimeo pages says, “I have dug up the zoetrope, a pre-cinema optical toy, and am using it to create and explore a visual language of loops and spirals. When spun, the complex circular sculptures, dubbed cinetropes, are a blur to the human eye but come to full animated life when viewed through shutter glasses or the lens of a fast-shutter video camera. The Bellows March runs anthropomorphized concertinas through a cycle of destroy-create-destroy, and bridges digital and physical animation processes via 3-D printed, hand-painted cinetropes.” https://vimeo.com/17314292
DOING IT MY WAY, JOHN KORTY’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH ANIMATION
John Korty, a man who thinks outside the box, has had a remarkable life as a filmmaker. In October, before a large audience in Berkeley, he described his years as an animation pioneer. That part of his career included his receiving an Oscar nomination in 1964 for an anti-smoking cartoon, his producing dozens of animated shorts for Sesame Street and his directing an animated feature with George Lucas as his executive producer. He also went into live action film work which resulted in his directing several features, documentaries and TV specials. Along the way he won an Oscar, two Emmys and other honors.
John’s career in film began in 1952 when he was 16. He saw the experimental work of Canadian animator Norman McLaren and immediately knew he wanted to become an animator. After he discovered the work of McLaren, he went to a camera store and bought a 16 mm home movie and a bottle of bleach. Then he stripped the emulsion off of the film and began to use India ink, a match, tooth brush and other simple tools to draw and paint on the blank film. He was making his first experimental movie. For a soundtrack his first film used a 78 rpm record of Edvard Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King. He even timed out the music using a stop watch so his art would sort of synchronize with the music. He was pleased with his work, but said he never showed it to the public.
One of my favorite records growing up was Jacobs’ Wide Weird World. It includes the soundtrack used by Korty to make Breaking the Habit. If you like strange and unusual humor you can listen to the soundtrack Korty used and other crazy moments on the record. The recording can be heard on the Internet. Visit Wide Weird World of Shorty Petterstein Henry Jacobs MP3s (Shorty is a hip character that Jacobs invented) http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2006/10/wide_weird_worl.html
“SCRATCH, CRACKLE & POP: A WHOLE GRAINS APPROACH TO MAKING FILMS WITHOUT A CAMERA,” BY STEVEN WOLOSHEN — A BOOK REVIEW BY NANCY DENNEY-PHELPS
Canadian animator Steven Woloshen is the undisputed master of camera-less filmmaking. His first book Recipes for Reconstruction: The cookbook for frugal filmmakers is an easy to follow guide to making films without a camera or fancy equipment. His follow up book Scratch, Crackle & Pop!: A whole grains approach to making films without a camera takes film making to the next level. It does require some tools, supplies and commitment.
Steven gives a detailed list of all equipment that is needed as well as a complete explanation of use of such tools as a film synchronizer along with suggestions for locating the needed items. He also goes into how to set out all of your new equipment and how to organize your workspace. Two small samples of 35mm leader are also included so that the readers can familiarize themselves with the look and feel of the film.
The three film examples in the Scratch section begin with a simple exercise on a strip of blank leader. This takes the readers through the process Steven used to create three of his films. The next section, Crackle, is illustrated by four more detailed studies which go further into the process used to hand paint on film.
Pop gets down to the nitty gritty of working with a lab. Five more case studies go in depth into the pros and cons of working with a lab and how to avoid some pitfalls you might encounter from labs that are not used to processing hand made films. This section is illustrated with five more step by step case studies.
Thirteen full page color photographs from Woloshen’s films give added visual illustrations to the case studies. An extensive list of recommended viewing features titles by such well known animators as Stan Brakhage, Paul Bush, Caroline Leaf and Norman McLaren who have used techniques similar to those covered in the book. There are also suggestions on how and where to find hands on workshops and how to collaborate with others on group projects.
A DVD includes of all thirteen films by Steven that are used as case studies in Scratch, Crackle & Pop! The DVD alone is worth the $60.00 price of the book.
Even if you never intend to try your hand at camera-less film making the book is a useful resource tool for anyone seriously interested in animation and knowing how cameraless movies can be made. It will give you an understanding of the processes used when you watch a camera-less film. http://www.awn.com/users/nancy-denney-phelps https://scratchatopia.wordpress.com email@example.com
REMEMBERING JANE AARON
Marv “Bambi Meets Godzilla” Newland wrote us, “The sad passing of Jane Aaron has just become known to me via your recent newsletter. I had no idea she was ill. We spent many fine times at festivals all over the world. She was a bright light, talented, warm hearted and we all deserved to have more of her in this session of conscious existence.” If you haven’t discovered her experimental animation search for her name on your computer or type in Travelling Light (1985), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMmHtgO7lfU and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0efertdbm2I for Set in Motion (1987).
Frank Mouris (Oscar for Frank Film) wrote on Face Book, “Full moon, blue Monday: it was with deep sadness that we learned today of the loss of yet another superb animator before her time. As with Karen Aqua and Michael Sporn, Jane Aaron chose to keep her privacy to the end. After her diagnosis, she had 16 months with her family. There will be a proper memorial in New York City later, as well as a screening of the restored versions of her seven superb films. Our hearts go out to her husband Skip, their son Tim, and her brothers Peter and Andy. I know nothing else. It is enough to know that her films were exquisite, unique and much loved, as was she.”
THE (ALMOST) YEAR OF THE WOMAN ORGANIZED BY MEN
Annecy International Animation Festival, June 15-20, 2015, Annecy, France
By Nancy Phelps
It is a well-known fact that animation has been considered a man’s world for far too long. Even though Lotte Reiniger created the classic Adventures of Prince Achmed in Germany more than a decade before Disney made his first animated feature film, he always seems to get the credit for creating the first surviving animated feature.
At Disney’s studio, women were only considered good enough for such routine duties as ink and paint work. It wasn’t until 1942 that Retta Scott became the first woman to receive a Disney screen credit for her work on Bambi. Even though women do work in all branches of the industry now, Hollywood still has a glass ceiling that is very hard for women to break through, and very few women ever get the opportunity to direct an animated feature.
When I first heard that Annecy had decided to pay tribute to female animators in 2015, I assumed that women would play a big role in organizing the event. Alas, that does not seem to have been the case. The catalogue lists three men in charge of film selections. The women listed as being on the festival’s staff were not film programmers! They were the Guest Hospitality Hostess and a receptionist. Just like in Hollywood it would seem that there is also a glass ceiling at the Annecy Festival. I do believe that Marcel Jean is doing an excellent job of trying to bring the festival into the 21st century and has made some very positive changes, but I also realize that as Artistic Director he can only do so much and I feel that that was very evident this year.
A new film by Australian animator Adam Elliot is always an anticipated treat and Ernie Biscuit did not disappointment me. Ernie is somewhat related to Adam’s other award winning films such as Harvie Krumpet which won three awards at Annecy as well as the Academy Award for Best Short Animation in 2004 and his Mary and Max which received the Grand Prize in Ottawa and the Annecy Cristal for best feature in 2009. The title character of Adam’s new film is a deaf Parisian taxidermist whose world is turned upside down when a dead pigeon arrives on his doorstep one day. Fate somehow lands him in Australia. Noted Australian actor John Flaus provides the narration as he has on several of Adam’s other films.
Adam describes his films as “clayographies,” clay animated biographies loosely based on his family, friends, and acquaintances. He told me that “despite the lower production values and static nature of this film, it is quite fast paced and there are plenty of moments and details that can be missed.” He added “Ernie is a deliberately lighter and fluffier film which I made for my own sanity and to regain my passion for the art form..” Adam made the film almost single handed, writing the script, animating, directing, and editing it on his own, and he says that he really enjoyed the process and creative control that this gave him. He also said “I wanted to make a film where there is a much happier ending than in my other films.” He is now in the early stages of writing his next film. You can keep up to date with what Adam is up to on his website: http://www.adamelliot.com.au
You can read this entire article on Nancy’s online blog at http://awn.com/blogs/sprockets
GOING OUT OF BUSINESS???
FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES ARE FACED WITH CLOSING OR MAKING SERIOUS CHANGES By KC
A recent New York Times headline read, “Barack Obama Pushes For-Profit Colleges to the Brink.” The US government is finally cracking down on schools run as a business that thrive on students who get government loans, drop out and eventually default on their loans. They are not objecting to the schools making a profit, but are objecting to the high default rate on the loans. Too many former students, even graduates, can’t repay their loans because they couldn’t find high salary jobs. That means the taxpayer winds up paying for the student loans.
If the schools really placed their students in well paying jobs Obama wouldn’t be objecting and more students would stay in school expecting a great paying job upon graduation. The government’s solution to the mess is to fine schools for not doing their job right and forcing them to either close or clean up their act. The list of schools creating this student loan crisis is getting quite long and several are located in the Bay Area.
Schools have been exploiting students for decades by having what is called an “open enrollment” policy. That means anybody who thinks they have the talent or the aptitude to succeed in a trade regardless of their education, intelligence, skills, etc. can pay and attend that school without the school making a serious, honest evaluation of the person’s chance to succeed. “No minimum qualifications necessary.” The schools do get some good students, but also lots of duds. They seem to promise the suckers as well as the qualified students the moon. That includes great high paying jobs upon graduation. Don’t you wish life was that easy?
Do high paying entry level jobs even exist? Don’t worry, the schools claim they have excellent placement records. Oh no! Obama’s researchers and lawyers have finally come to the conclusion somebody has been lying to a lot of students.
“FORBES MAGAZINE” HAS JUST PUBLISHED TWO SERIOUS CONTROVERSIAL IN DEPTH ARTICLES ABOUT THE ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY by KC
Caution, these articles are not nice puff pieces although the school’s president is depicted as living a rather comfortable life. The article is quite negatively biased so I asked two other people to share their opinions as well. I want to note that while some for-profit schools are not accredited with WASC, years ago the Academy worked hard to gain full accreditation.
One of the many things the Forbes article points out is the school’s low graduation rate. “Just 32% of full-time students graduate in six years,” while the author points out that “selective art schools like Rhode Island School of Design and Parsons graduate 90% of their students.” Elisa Stephens, the school’s owner claims that once students get their portfolios together they go get jobs in their field. They can do that before they graduate and “the diploma won’t make one bit of difference.” True, but what proof is there that they drop out because they actually get jobs in their field? Do they drop out for other reasons? If they all got great jobs, why the high default rate on the loans? That is an issue the government has raised with many schools as testimony has proven many schools have fabricated information to satisfy the government watchdogs.
The Forbes article raises many questions about the school and while some of the information may be biased and controversial, much of the information in it has appeared in print before so should we assume it is accurate? It also includes information about the property the Academy or the family owns and other topics.
I’ve worked with several well educated graduates from the Academy who speak highly of the school, but others don’t. I also know people who teach there and are quite positive about the AAU, but I also know former teachers that are critical about the institution. If you are curious about the story search for Black Arts: The $800 Million Family Selling Art Degrees and False Hope on the Internet.
The second article is How-A-For-Profit-University-Flouts-San-Francisco’s-Land-Use-Laws http://www.forbes.com/sites/katiasavchuk/2015/08/19/how-a-for-profit-university-flouts-san-franciscos-land-use-laws/
A COMMENT ABOUT THE AAU’S EXCEPTIONAL CLASSIC CAR COLLECTION
When I told an animator who drives a 1930 Plymouth about the Forbes article, he told me to read Just How Much Is Academy Of Art’s Vintage Car Collection Worth. It confirms that the school’s magnificent world classic car collection is worth untold millions. Auto design students are allowed to look at it, but please, no touching allowed.
“WALT AND DALI: ARCHITECTS OF THE IMAGINATION” IS A MUST SEE EXHIBIT IF YOU ENJOY DALI’S ART
The current temporary show at The Walt Disney Family Museum is a world class exhibit. There are about 50 paintings and drawings by Dali (lots more than that from the Disney studio of course) hundreds of photos, lots of surreal film clips, etc. I spent about two hours enjoying the show so if you go allow yourself plenty of time to see it. Show ends January 3, 2016. Read my review of the exhibit at http://eatdrinkfilms.com/2015/08/28/walt-and-dali-architects-of-the-imagination-at-the-disney-museum/
MORE IMPRESSIVE QUILTED ANIMATION BY NINA PALEY
Plus there is a link to a text that details how she creates her work – fully illustrated! http://blog.ninapaley.com/category/animation/page/2/
A different blog by Nina mentions a really creative ad for a nude drawing class that makes excellent use of stop-motion animation. The text that goes with the ad says, “Hands down the most clever and creative advertisement for a NUDE life drawing class!” www.artFido.com/popular-art
OBSCURA DIGITAL USED ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST ICONIC BUILDINGS AS THEIR SCREEN TO SAVE ENDANGERED SPECIES
They projected images of endangered species from around the world on the upper 33 stories of the Empire State Building! Forty high power digital projectors were used to fill the 375’ high by 186’ wide space. Obscura is a SF company founded in 2000. See a 1 min. clip at https://vimeo.com/135537038
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 10 AM, FREE ANIMATION WORKSHOP FOR KIDS
Learn basic animation techniques from Cuban animators Mario and Daniel Rivas, and Manuel Guerra. From idea to character design, storyboard, backgrounds, and more, learn to create your own animation! This FREE workshop will be taught in Spanish and English and is recommended for children ages 10-12. Advanced reservations required (707) 284-1272 or online at www.schulzmuseum.org/learn/classes-camps
SIGNE BAUMANE’S “ROCKS IN MY POCKETS” IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR HOME USE
It is available on VHX, Vimeo on Demand and from iTunes. It can now be seen with subtitles in Latvian, German, Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, Czech and English. http://www.rocksinmypocketsmovie.com/
The NY Times said of her work, “With ‘Rocks In My Pockets,’ Signe Baumane presents a sharp, surprising and funny animated feature, plumbing the depths of depression via her family history. Guided by Ms. Baumane’s almost musically accented voice-over, this hand-drawn debut feature is based upon the mental struggles of her Latvian grandmother and other relatives. It’s told with remorseless psychological intelligence, wicked irony and an acerbic sense of humor.”
CARTOON ROOTS: THE BRAY STUDIOS-ANIMATION PIONEERS
will become a Blu-ray and DVD. cartoonresearch.com/…/bray-studio-kickstarter-project. http://www.tommyjose.com/products.html
SHAUN THE SHEEP IS THE HERO OF BOTH A FEATURE AND A BRITISH CHARITY
Aardman Animation, co-founded in 1972 by Peter Lord and David Sproxton, is not only the home of Wallace and Grommit and Shaun, it is also committed to raising money for charity through their Wallace and Grommit Charity Foundation to improve the quality of life of children in hospitals and hospices.
Nancy Phelps wrote us in August, “Peter Lord and I were both guests at the Euganea Film Festival in Este, Italy recently. He told me that Shaun has been spotted all over London on the ‘Shaun in the City Trail.’ There are 50 giant plexiglass Shaun statues decorated by prominent artists, designers, and celebrities and another 70 in Bristol. On October 8, all 120 of the Shaun statues will go on the auction block. Money raised from the sale of the sculptures will benefit hospitals and hospices throughout the United Kingdom.”
“Peter and Aardman Animation have every reason to be proud of the work that the Wallace and Grommit Charity does. Their auction in 2013 of Grommit statues in Bristol raised 5 million pounds for the Bristol Children’s Hospital.”
Interested in having your very own unique Shaun the Sheep statue? You can register and bid online from anywhere in the world during the auction. Even if you are not bidding, you can join in the fun by watching the auction which will be streamed live on the 8th at: shauninthecity.org.uk Nancy’s article about the movie is at http://eatdrinkfilms.com/2015/08/13/shaun-the-sheep-movie-pure-entertainment-flawless-claymation
THE ALBRIGHT KNOX ART GALLERY IN BUFFALO IS PRESENTING “SCREEN PLAY: LIFE IN AN ANIMATED WORLD”
The exhibit “Screen Play: Life in an Animated World, ” presents 47 pieces spanning roughly a quarter-century. It features work by over 30 artists from around the world working in a wide range of techniques (hand-drawn, cel, stop-motion, 3D video projection and video game design). The show totals 14 hours of watching (admission tickets include a free return visit). There are multi-screen video installations by Harun Farocki, Pierre Huyghe, Philippe Parreno, Cao Fei, Jon Rafman, Tabor Robak, William Kentridge and other artists. The exhibit ends Sept. 13. www.albrightknox.org
ANIFILM INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ANIMATED FILMS – Trebon, Czech Republic, May 5 – 10, 2015 by Nancy Denny-Phelps
When ANIFILM International Festival of Animated Films comes to town for one week each year the historic spa town of Trebon becomes the animation capitol of the Czech Republic, The festival combines the best of the new animation with screenings of historic Czech films. It is a puppet animator’s dream, with screenings of films by puppet masters Jiri Trnka, Vlasta Pospisilova and other stop-motion artists. There were even live puppet shows in the park which surrounds the castle in the center of town.
I was honoured to be invited to serve on the feature film jury along with two old friends, Italian composer and sound designer Andrea Martignoni and Paris based animator Bastien Dubois. We watched and thoroughly discussed 9 feature films in 4 days and gave special presentations. We were kept quite busy.
ANIFILM had two special exhibitions that I visited. The Re-Cycling Project celebrated the 100th anniversary of Norman McLaren’s birth. The project brought together 10 noted European animators who each created 1 minute of animation drawn directly on film in their individual unique styles following a basic set of rules. Each animator selected one common object such as scissors or a key which they sent to Paolo Polesello, co-producer of the project. She then randomly distributed the objects to the participants without telling them who had provided their object or why. The animators were Spela Cadez (Slovenia), Rastko Ciric (Serbia), Vessela Dantcheva (Bulgaria), Magda Guido (Italy), Joni Mannisto (Finland), Regina Pessoa (Portugal), Ulo Pikkov (Estonia), Marina Rosset (Switzerland), Gabor Ulrich (Hungary) and Petra Zlonoga (Croatioa). The original soundtrack was created by my fellow juror Andrea Martignoni in collaboration with Gianluca “Shango” Pellegrino and Zerorchester.
This is the first animation project funded by Fondo Audiovision FVG. Exhibition curator Paolo Polesello was present at the opening reception to talk to the guests about the actual objects which were on display along with animatics and stills from the film. The film ran continuously on a monitor in the exhibit. You can see the film and learn more about the project at: www.vivacomix.net/home/re-cycling/ The first part of the page is in Italian with English below.
I am very lucky to be invited to many wonderful festivals and ANIFILM is definitely on the top of my list of favorites. The hospitality was first rate and the festival staff went out of their way to help make jury duty a real pleasure. You can learn more about ANIFILM at: www.anifilm.cz
LIFE IS SHORT AT THE 13TH FIKE INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, June 9 – 13, Evora, Portugal by Nancy Denny-Phelps
The motto of the FIKE International Short Film Festival is “Life is Short.” and the five day festival did seem to literally fly by. FIKE is a showcase for short live action, animation, and documentary films. I seldom have the opportunity to see short live action films and so it is a special treat for me. Watching films coupled with the warm hospitality of festival director Joao Paulo Macedo made it five perfect days for me.
The highlight of the animated films was Fuligem (Soot) from Portuguese animators David Doutel and Vasco Sa. The beautifully animated fourteen minute film is the story of two young brothers as remembered by one brother on his trip back to the abandoned railway station where the boys used to play. The story is also a sad reminder of the numerous railroad stations that have actually closed in Portugal, leaving remote small towns isolated. The beautifully animated film has already garnered several major awards including the Grande Prémio Cinanima 2014 at the Cinamina International Animation Festival in Espinho, Portugal last fall. The win was a double victory because Fuligem was the first Portuguese film to win the top International prize at the festival and that win qualified it for the Academy Awards. At FIKE Fuligem walked away with three awards: Best Portuguese Short Film, the Regional Directorate of Culture Award, and Best Animation.
David and Vasco are just as nice as their film. I had met them at Cinamina so it was great fun getting to know them better. They told me that they are working on a new film, Augure, which will also be in 2D traditional animation. The story involves two cousins, a white bull, and an ethical dilemma.
Fuligem’s producer Rodrigo Areies told me that his production company, Bando A Parte, produces live action and documentary films as well as animation – not only in digital form but also on 35MM and 16mm film. Areies believes, as I do, that no matter what technical advances are made a movie still looks best on film. He produced Double Play, a documentary portrait of the friendship between filmmakers James Benning and Richard Linklater as well as working with such other renowned film directors as Peter Greenaway.
You can read her entire article at www.fikeonline.net
There was no newsletter in August.
ASIFA-SF IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THE WINNERS OF OUR 4TH ANNUAL SPRING SHOW
Our audience gave The Best in Show and Best Commissioned Film Award to Charlie Canfield’s Amour Vert: Earth Day Cartoon. The Best Independent Short prize went to Dan McHale’s Splotch. The Experimental Animation prize went to Ben Ridgway for Inner Space. The Best Student prize went to Anne Ross (SF State) for The Visioner. Coming in second in the independent category was a tie between David Chai’s Behind My Behind and Debra Solomon’s My Kingdom. In the student category Siqi Song’s Food (Cal Arts graduate program) came in 3rd. John R. Dilworth’s Dirty Birdy Redux won the Most Autrageous Humor prize and one person called Food “most disturbing.”
The voting might have changed as excellent work was submitted, but wasn’t shown due to technical problems in the booth. The works were Tony Claar’s (Unwelcome Guests, Canlum Cen’s Where (Cal Arts) and a compilation reel of work from Canada College. The last two will be shown at our ASIFA-SF summer party. Tony’s latest film, his new logo for Luna Tickle Toons, and other shorts by him can be seen on his YouTuve page: www.youtube.com/channel/UCeLKVgD2oLqj0tnbqJhEG-g
BEN RIDGWAY’S “INNER SPACE ARTIFACTS” GOT A VIMEO STAFF PICK AWARD
It is/was also on their splash page. We showed it in June and will show it again July 12 at our Summer Party at Oddball Film. https://vimeo.com/channels/staffpicks
VIDEOS OF THE LIGHT SHOW ON THE 100TH BIRTHDAY OF SF’S CITY HALL
There are numerous, not so great videos online of Obscura Digital’s show. Their website may have a better video up soon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k659IT4_4N0
WRITER NEEDED TO COVER OUR LOCAL ANIMATION COMPANIES
This might be a good way to network and to let our members and friends of ASIFA-SF get to know what you exist. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
READ AN EXCELLENT, FRANK INTERVIEW WITH CHINESE INDEPENDENT ANIMATOR LEI LEI
We showed his work honoring Norman McLaren at our Spring Show and will show it again at our Summer Party. He is quite frank about the sorry state of independent work in China. There is no government support for it and the government has stopped funding festivals that featured it so they are gone. It is an important look at China today. http://www.awn.com/animationworld/lei-lei-china-s-rising-indie-star
MEETING ANIMATION MASTERS AT FETE DE L’ANIM, TOURCOING, FRANCE
By Nancy Denney-Phelps
Each year the Fete De l’Anim (March 27-29) brings students from all over Europe together to meet a small group of international professionals for three days of master classes, screenings, and hands on projects. It is a marvelous opportunity for students to hear some of the top professionals from the world of independent animation as well as people from such studios as Picar and Disney talk about the processes they use to create their work. The students also have the opportunity to ask questions and show their porfolios to the masters and get feedback.
You can find out more about this year’s festival and see photos at: www.fete-anim.com
WOULD ANYBODY WHO LIKES TO WRITE ARTICLES, LIKE TO EXPLORE AN INTERESTING WAY TO NETWORK WITH LOCAL COMPANIES? BECOME A REPORTER FOR OUR NEWSLETTER COVERING WHAT LOCAL STUDIOS ARE DOING
This might be a good way to meet the right people and to let our members and friends of ASIFA-SF get to know that you exist. Contact email@example.com
ENJOY AN ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH SALLY CRUIKSHANK
Her Quasi at the Quackadero was made when she lived in Berkeley. It is part of the Library of Congress’ National Registry of Films, films to be preserved for posterity. http://www.artofthetitle.com/feature/sally-cruikshank-a-career-retrospective-part-one/
NINA PALEY’S QUILT OF HORSES COMES TO LIFE USING ANIMATION
She designed a quilt based on 12 photographic images of a horse galloping that were taken by Edweard Muybridge in 1878. She then photographed her 12 quilted images and turned them into an animation loop. See this unusual animation at: http://blog.ninapaley.com/2015/04/29/horse-quiltimation/
“ALL THINGS FALL” IS AN AMAZING 3D PRINTED ZOETROPE
It is a detailed circular sculpture made with 350 different figures, environmental elements and architectural pieces. Every thing was created using a 3D printer. It becomes animated when the carousel is spun in front of a synchronized strobe light. The motion is based on two paintings by the Baroque Flemish master Peter Paul Ruben. It depicts The Massacre of the Innocents, a biblical story about the murders ordered by King Herod to prevent the prophesied birth of Jesus. Herod had all newborn sons in Bethlehem put to death. The artwork is credited to Matt Collishaw from the UK. https://vimeo.com/125791075
SEE ON YOUTUBE “LOONEY TUNES FUNNY PAINTINGS CLIP”
It is a great moment from the feature Looney Tunes Back in Action. This delightful sequence in a museum was animated by Eric Goldberg. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97PLr9FK0sw
HARD TO FIND MARV NEWLAND DVD IS NOW AVAILABLE
The Best of International Rocketship is now available from Amazon. It contains work he and his employees made including Bambi Meets Godzilla, Pink Komkomer. Sing Beast Sing, Dog Brain, Black Hula, Anajam, Lupo the Butcher and 4 or 5 more gems. http://www.amazon.com/Best-International-Rocketship-Marv-Newland/dp/B00WOLG12Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432503237&sr=8-1&keywords=International+Rocketship+dvd
ANNUAL 2 WEEK SUMMER PROGRAM ON ANIMATION INSTALLATIONS IN PORTLAND
Boundary Crossings Institute in Animated Arts at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) is a two-week intensive institute for animation professionals and students interested in a hands-on exploration of animated installation as a medium. Details about this program ar at: pnca.edu/programs/c/boundarycrossing.
NANCY DENNEY PHELPS SHARES WITH US HER KNOWLEDGE OF BULGARIAN ANIMATION by KC
She was invited to Sofia, Bulgaria to select films for the 6TH Golden Kuker International Animation Festival. In her discussion about her experience in Bulgaria what I found quite interesting was her meeting Boryana Mateeva, the head programmer at the Bulgarian National Film Archive.
The 6th Annual Golden Kuker International Animation Festival in Sofia was May 4-10. Nancy’s article about being a judge for the festival is on her blog hosted by AWN.COM. Visit Nancy’s Animated World at http://www.awn.com/blogs/sprockets You can find out more about the festival at: www.animationfest-bg.eu
ARE YOU TOO OLD FOR THIS FABULOUS, EXCITING OPPORTUNITY?
The Boy Scouts of America has just approved the creation of a merit badge in animation! For information about the badge” http://usscouts.org/usscouts/mb/mb158.asp
BUMMER! HELP FIND THE CARTOON ART MUSEUM A NEW HOME
I just got an e-mail that reads, “Following a notice to vacate, the Cartoon Art Museum will be closing its doors at 655 Mission Street on Sunday, June 28, 2015. The museum, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, began preparing several months ago for a possible relocation and will now continue those efforts in search of temporary gallery space as well as a new long-term home.”
ASIFA-SF wishes them well and hopes they can find a great location that is affordable. Know of such a location? Let them know (415) 227-8666, extension #313. Their director is Summerlea Kashar: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE GLAS ANIMATION FESTIVAL IS COMING TO BERKELEY IN MARCH 2016
The festival has announced several programs and their call for entries. Jeanette Bonds is their director. www.glasanimation.com
MAY 2 – OCT. 15, ANIMATING COMICS
2015 is the 50th anniversary of the Peanut’s TV specials so the Charles Schultz Museum is honoring the 70+ specials that have been released. 2301 Harding Road, Santa Rosa, CA. www.schultzmuseum.org
Thursday, May 14, STORY AND TECHNOLOGY WITH BRENDA CHAPMAN,
She directed Prince of Egypt (1988), joined Pixar in 2003 where she created, wrote and directed Brave (Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe winner). She is currently developing projects for Chapman Lima Productions, Inc., with Kevin Lima. 6:30 pm social hour (drinks and snacks provided), presentation at 7:30. Zynga Theater – 699 8th St, San Francisco, CA 94103 Online registration is required – register at https://tinyurl.com/storyandtechnology, $7.00 for the San Francisco ACM SIGGRAPH members, $15 for public.
EXCELLENT WEBSITE HONORS WOMEN WHO ANIMATE
FREE COPIES OF PIXAR’S RENDERMAN SOFTWARE for non-commercial use is available.
Visit Cartoon Brew, March 29, 2015 for details.
AN EXCELLENT LONG INTERVIEW WITH PAUL DRIESSEN
Visit Cartoon Brew, March 30, 2015.
SEE BRAD BIRD’S PENCIL TEST FOR “THE SPIRIT,” A PROPOSED FEATURE THAT NEVER WENT INTO PRODUCTION
The 1980 pencil test for the film’s trailer is impressive, especially if you love the Will Eisner comics it was based on. Jerry Beck writes that Brad Bird and Gary Kurtz (Kurtz was the producer of the first two Star War movies) made the trailer for the proposed film using Bird’s former classmates from CAL Arts. www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqcJ2dFHNWM
Brad Bird is currently working on an Angry Bird feature with a $180 million budget.
ANIMA BRUSSELS USHERED IN THE YEAR OF THE SHEEP IN GRAND STYLE, FEBRUARY 13 – 22, 2015 AT THE FLAGEY IN BRUSSELS, BELGIUM by Nancy Denny-Phelps
ANIMA Brussels ushered in the year of the sheep in grand style with the Belgian premier of Shaun the Sheep Movie on their opening night. Aardman Studio is back doing what it does best, pure entertainment using flawless claymation. The 85 minute film brings Shaun and his fellow sheep to the big screen with all of the usual suspects from the television series.
The film opens with Shaun deciding that he wants to take a day off from the boring routine of barnyard life at Mossy Bottom Farm, but first he has to devise a plan to put The Farmer to sleep. The plan works better than expected when the trailer that The Farmer falls asleep in breaks loose from its moorings and The Farmer, Blitzer the dog, Shaun, and the entire flock find themselves in the big city. What follows is pure slapstick comedy. There is delightful music and, as in the TV series, no dialogue, which will make the film even more popular worldwide.
Signe Baumane charmed the audience with her humor and candor when she introduced her award winning feature film Rocks in My Pockets. Signe lays her soul bare in her film which tells her very personal story of her life and speculates on the madness that has run through the history of the women in her family. She ponders on her share of their DNA and wonders if she can escape the family destiny. With equal parts humor and irony she has turned what could have been a very tedious, dark film into a delightfully entertaining trip through her mind. What makes the film an even more amazing success story is that in this day and age of slick, big budget studio animated features Signe managed to finance the film on her own with a successful crowd funding campaign and money from working on commercial projects while creating a feature film almost single-handedly.
She is a brilliant story teller and animator so it is good to see that she is finally getting the recognition she deserves. If you have not had a chance to see Rocks in My Pockets you can choose from three ways. At www.rocksinmypocketsmovie.com you can purchase the DVD, rent a stream, or buy a download. You can also become an affiliate and share in the profits for every copy that is sold to someone you recommend the film to. It is a film that you can enjoy over and over again.
You can see pictures and learn more about ANIMA Brussels at www.animafestival.be. The 2016 edition will take place February 5 – 14.
On Friday, April 17, BILL PLYMPTON’S CHEATIN’ OPENS AT THE ROXIE in San Francisco and at the Elmwood in Berkeley.
I’ve seen his latest work and I should share with you this warning –“Everyone who believes in family values should boycott this depraved feature!” Bill has created a finely animated noir feature that shows off his new rich style of hand drawn animation, but if you believe the rumors circulating among conservative Christians, avoid this film as it is sure to be a hit among thrill seekers looking for kinky sex and violence. The not so nice married couple in this film spends most of their time in bed having extra-marital sex with more partners than your favorite ice cream store has varieties of flavors. Of course there is a surprise twist or two to Bill’s twisted plot. It won a special jury prize at Annecy 2014 and honors at other film celebrations. http://cheatinmovie.com/
On Sat. April 18, 8:30 PM, AN EVENING OF EXPERIMENTAL CLASSICS AND NEW WORKS
At ATA’s Other Cinema in San Francisco, located at 992 Valencia right in the heart of a really hot, lively, up and coming business district. ATA has been around for decades and the admission is still only $7!
ATA’s impresario Craig Baldwin is presenting new works by well established animators Martha Colburn and Kelly Sears plus classics by Len Lye, Oskar Fischinger, Hy Hirsch, Mary Ellen Bute and Lillian Schwartz. He also is presenting works in what he calls “stereo-scopophilia” and “ChromaDepth 3-D” (I have no idea what they are, nor do I know what you will see if you “come early for the live-projected psychedelia of Canadian AV avatars Fleshtone Hacking.” www.othercinema.com
Saturday, April 25, at 8:30 PM, SOCIAL (SUR) REALISM, a program presented by Dr. Jeffrey Skoller, a U. C. Berkeley professor.
He will present a lecture full of film clips that illustrate the new “liberated” genre of the animated documentary. The clips come from works by Jacqueline Goss, Ken Jacobs, Kota Ezawa, Chris Marker and others. Plus there will be an “opening half-hour complement of related media-artworks, boasting Chris Marker’s rarely screened Three Cheers for the Whale.” www.othercinema.com
DISCOVER HOW MARTY COOPER ANIMATES – THIS DEMO BY FORMER SAN JOSE STATE STUDENT MAY INSPIRE YOU!
This is an amazing 8 minutes video. Marty has created a cool 7 Up commercial. Now discover who he is. By the way he is wearing a SJSU Shrunken Head Animation Society T shirt. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivQKRnGwNmQ
SEE BILL PLYMPTON’S NEW FEATURE ONLINE
If for some reason you can’t see Cheatin’ in theaters, it will be available on Vimeo On Demand starting April 21. You can also preorder it now. $4.99 to rent, $9.99 to buy. https://vimeo.com/ondemand/cheatin/76084888
GET A FREE ONLINE SUBSCRIPTION TO CINE-SOURCE MAGAZINE ONLINE, BRINGING YOU NEWS ABOUT BAY AREA FILMMAKING INCLUDING ANIMATION
Just send your request to email@example.com
DON HERTZFELDT’S “WORLD OF TOMORROW” WINS THE BEST ANIMATION PRIZE AT SXSW
The short also won the best animation honors at Sundance earlier this year. See it online on Hertzfeldt’s website. www.bitterfilms.com
JEFF HALE’S REMARKABLE ANIMATION CAREER (Excerpted with links from the full newsletter article.)
Jeff Hale, who died at 92 in February, had a career in animation that spanned over 50 years. He directed and animated award winning shorts, work for Sesame Street, part of the feature Heavy Metal (1981), TV shows and commercials. He worked at the National Film Board of Canada, ran his own studios in London and San Francisco and worked freelance. His best known works include The Great Toy Robbery and the controversial Thank You Mask Man.
Jeff was born January 5, 1923 in Margate, England and he died in late February, 2015 in Oregon. During a long hospital stay when he was a young teenager, he began to draw. The love of drawing resulted in his attending the Royal College of Art in London. He graduated just as WWII was ending.
His career in animation began with a job at William Larkin and Company in London where Peter Sachs taught him the basics. Sachs joined Larkin in 1940 and he had once worked with George Pal, a great stop-motion artist. At Larkin Jeff’s young co-workers included Bob Godfrey and Keith Learner.
In 1954 Jeff felt confident enough to form his own studio, Biographic Films with Learner and Godfrey. Biographic was created specifically to make commercials for ITV, the UK’s first commercial TV broadcaster. The first spot aired on the first night ITV went on the air (September, 1955) was by Biographic.
In 1959 Jeff was invited to join the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in Montreal. Among his first assignments were short segments for non-commercial Canadian TV. Hors-D’Oeuvre (1959-’60, https://www.nfb.ca/film/hors_doeuvre) is a collection of one-minute segments created by several NFB animators for Canada’s channel 6. Most are humorous playful moments influenced by the wacky things The Goons Show was doing in England. A second compilation of their TV material was assembled into the film Pot-pourri (1962).
Jeff’s most celebrated film made at the NFB is The Great Toy Robbery (1963), a spoof on the American western in which Santa driving his horse drawn sled full of toys across a desert is robbed at gunpoint by an evil gang. It was originally conceived as part of Christmas Crackers, but as the project developed the NFB realized it would be a stand alone film. The cartoon marked the beginning of a close friendship between Jeff and Derek Lamb and they eventually would collaborate on other successful projects.
Magnuson was a close friend of Lenny Bruce and Hale became the director of the controversial animated classic Thank You Mask Man, (1969). The soundtrack, assembled by Walt Kramer, was edited together from material in Magnuson’s extensive library of Lenny Bruce’s live performances. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWGO3ePMcMg
Several times in recent years Jeff told me he wanted to find someone to publish his humorous art as cards, on T shirts, mugs or in some other way. His daughter Margot would still like to see that happen along with finding a gallery that would be interested in exhibiting his paintings. Margot Hale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff made at least two on-screen appearances. In 1982 an hour-long TV special aired on public television called The Animators. The documentary included interviews with Jeff Hale, Marcy Page, Sally Cruickshank, Bud Luckey and Rudy Zamora Jr. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cul_G3PJBos. Bud went on to become a highly respected character designer at Pixar. While he was at Pixar he created Boundn’, a short which received an Oscar nomination in 2004.
Jeff also played Augie ‘Ben’ Doggie in the Star Wars spoof Hardware Wars (1978, directed by Ernie Fosselius). The film, certainly the best parody of the feature, was widely seen in theatres and at fan based conventions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ymFxkFfIhU
This tribute to Jeff was compiled by Karl Cohen, who is president of ASIFA-SF and teaches at SF State. (email@example.com) He was assisted by Geraldine Clarke (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Margot Hale (email@example.com). Jeff is survived by his daughter Margot and a son Nick who lives in Talent, Oregon.
VINCE COLLINS’ ANIMATION HAS BEEN CENSORED ON THE INTERNET
Vince told me, “They took Malice down from Facebook, but it was put up on Dangerous Minds,” a site that is on Facebook. It also vanished from the French website after getting over 11 million views. As for the graphic images in Malice in Wonderland, they were dreamed up by Miwako, his wife. The text by Laughton Sebastian Melmoth includes the descriptive sentence “Malice in Wonderland (1982) is an imaginative and richly Freudian retelling of Lewis Carroll’s famous tale in which Alice repeatedly disappears up (or down) various orifices.” Vince has lived in San Francisco for several decades and he drives a very cool looking 1930 Plymouth with a V8 under the hood. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=789587811096205&id=101990813189245
SEE HOW KAREN LITHGOW IS SELLING HER ANIMATED ALGEBRA VIDEOS ON THE INTERNET
She has an educational distributor and also markets her products herself. She is selling low cost downloads of Flash SWF files to using the Internet. www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Animated-Algebra
NINA PALEY HAS THREE RECENT WORKS ON VIMEO
SEE “GOTHAM CITY” AN EXCELLENT TIME- LAPSE FILM SHOT AT NIGHT IN SAN FRANCISCO
by Toby Harriman vimeo.com/119318850
LOCAL NEWS ITEMS WANTED
This is our newsletter so please share with other members local animation related news that you are aware of that others might be interested in hearing about. Send tips, articles, rough notes, press releases, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE 2015 ACADEMY AWARDS BECAME A CONTROVERSIAL EVENT by KC
Most annual Academy Awards ceremonies run smoothly with the only “serious” issues being who was the best or worst dressed actress? This year things went quite differently as a few hours after the nominations were announced George Lucas was on national broadcast TV attacking how the Oscars were run. Within hours other voices joined in. The critics raised several issues including why the Academy had snubbed The Lego Movie, one of the biggest award winning animated features of 2014!
FOR MORE ON THE OSCARS READ “PROOF THAT OSCAR VOTERS ARE CLUELESS ABOUT ANIMATION”
On www.cartoonbrew.com 2/22/15
2015 OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL SEEKS SUBMISSIONS
It is N. America’s only major animation festival and is highly competitive. It runs Sept. 15 – 20. No entry fee. Categories are undergraduate, graduate, experimental, narrative shorts, features, commissioned, children’s shorts and children’s series. www.animationfestival.ca
“LESLEY THE PONY HAVE AN A+ DAY” WAS A HIT AT THE KLIK INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL
by Nancy Denny-Phelps, 4 through 9 November 2014
KLIK International Animation Festival in Amsterdam (Nov. 4 – 9, 2014) is always a perfect blend of excellent animation and fun, Fun, FUN, but when Lesley the Pony pranced into the Eye Film Center this year he brought a whole new meaning to fun! The spirit of Lesley the Pony, created by Christian Larrave as his junior year project at the Rhode Island School of Design (USA), fit right in with this year’s festival theme of Gender Bending: Girls, Boys, and Beyond.
Lesley, the happy pink pony, prances along on the way to Merryville to visit the Duke in time to a song that will stay in your head forever. When he arrives and meets the Duke the genial conversation turns dark after a few minutes when the Duke tells Lesley that he and the Duchess are separating and that he has always fancied Lesley more than anyone in his kingdom. After that confession a very confused Lesley gallops off emotionally unsure of what to do next. What follows is a stream of violence as the pink pony unleashes chaos and a flow of blood. The grinning elves and happy tulips are no more. Lesley pranced on and on throughout the entire festival seeking answers.
The 2015 edition of KLIK will take place from 27 October to 1 November. You can find out about submitting your film for the next edition, find out the answer to the all-important question of what is the 2015 festival theme, or just learn more about the festival at: www.klikamsterdam.nl
“SONG OF THE SEA,” CAN A FILM BE TOO WONDERFUL TO REVIEW IT OBJECTIVELY?
By Karl Cohen
Do you dare go on an enchanting animated magical adventure into a world you have never seen before; a world occupied by playful seals, helpful spirits and fairies and an evil witch? Song of the Sea depicts such an enchanted world where the artwork is at times breathtakingly beautiful and it doesn’t look like anything you’ve seen before. Although this film is set in the present in Ireland, it depicts a journey to a land where fairytales happen. It is nothing short of wonderful magical experience.
The exhibit “The Art of Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells” is at the Cartoon Art Museum through June 21. It features original and digital concept art from the studio’s two Academy Award-nominated feature films. This behind the scenes look is being made possible by the generous support of Cartoon Saloon that helps produce Moore’s projects. The Cartoon Art Museum is located at 655 Mission Street in San Francisco. 415-CAR-TOON • www.cartoonart.org
THE WALT DISNEY FAMILY MUSEUM TO RECEIVE A SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD AT THE 42ND ANNIE AWARDS
ASIFA-Hollywood will be honoring The Walt Disney Family Museum at the 42nd Annie Awards™ with a Special Achievement Award for its unique and significant impact on the art and industry of animation. Ron Miller, Walt Disney’s son-in–law and the president of The Walt Disney Family Museum’s Board of Directors, will be attending the award ceremony to receive the honor. The Annie Awards ceremony will take place at UCLA’s Royce Hall on Saturday, January 31, 2015, and can be viewed online at annieawards.org/watch-it-live.
Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 1:00 pm TALK ABOUT MAKING “FROZEN,” THE CHARACTER OF COLD
A special appearance of Frozen effects animators at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, CA. Join Disney’s effects animators Ian Coony and Dan Lund who will share how the character of cold was brought to life using windblown ice, snow, and a glistening palace of ice in Frozen. Check the museum’s website for details. www.SchulzMuseum.org.
SOMETHING AMAZING IS COMING TO SF IN 2016
The Exploratorium is going to exhibit a few of Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests, outrageous mechanical creations here in the summer of 2016. They are wonderful looking wind propelled sculptural constructs that can walk. The touring exhibit is being organized by the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts. Visit his website to see short videos of his work in action. http://www.strandbeest.com/
“LIFE IS SHORT” FIKE 12TH INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 21 through 25 October 2014 – Evora, Portugal by Nancy Denny Phelps
Nik and I love Portugal, the food, the wine, the people, so when I was invited to be on the jury of FIKE and Nik was asked to give a workshop we were very excited. We had never been to Evora before so we weren’t prepared for the unique beauty of the historic town.
Located in the heart of Southern Portugal, Evora became the second city of the kingdom of Portugal when King Manuel built a royal palace there in the 16th Century. In 1986 the city center was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, however the rich cultural heritage of the area dates to the Neolithic era. West of the city there is an area rich in megalithic monuments erected during the early, middle, and late Neolithic period over 5,000 years ago. There is also evidence of the Roman settlement including the ruins of a temple and an aqueduct. All of this and I got to watch film too!
Portugal has a great tradition of puppetry and the festival got off on a high note on opening night with the world premiere of Vladimir. The film is a work in progress by Ana Bossa and Nuno Bouca inspired by puppeteer Manuel Costa Dias and his puppet Vladimir. Dias’ artistry is truly magical. He has created a unique universe which transports the viewer into total belief of Vladimir’s world. His animation magic made me forget that Dias was manipulating a puppet. Following the film we were treated to an appearance by Dias and Vladimir. You can see a short clip of the film at: Vimeo.com/108724959
Following the last screening each evening there were concerts at different venues. The performances ranged from classical and pop to DJ’s for dancing. Rastko and Nik love to play together whenever they are at the same festival. One night the duo gave a concert at a local club playing blues, Beatle songs and of course songs composed by Rastko for his Rubber Soul Project.
Using titles from the Lennon/McCartney songbook which the pair never wrote words or music for, Rastko wrote songs that could easily be mistaken for the Beatles if you didn’t listen to the lyrics carefully. In 1996 Rastko and his Serbian band released their first album The Rubber Soul Project: An Imaginary Project. A documentary was also made about the group and the making of the recording. He is currently putting the finishing touches on a new Rubber Soul Project album. Nik makes a guest appearance on the new CD. You can learn more about the project and the CD at: En.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_Soul_Project.
As we sat in a sunny outdoor café at the airport Nik and I reflected on the wonderful time we had at FIKE and how much we would miss Evora. I urge all animators to submit their films for the 2015 edition of the festival and encourage anyone who is lucky enough to be invited to FIKE to accept the invitation because you will have a wonderful time. You can learn more about the festival at: www.fikeonline.net
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 8 PM
Coppola Theatre, SF State in the Fine Arts Building, Room 101
RON DIAMOND (AWN.COM AND ACME FILMWORKS) PRESENTS
THE ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS: OSCAR TOUR
SEE THE FIVE NOMINATED FILMS FOR THE OSCAR FOR BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Q AND A WITH SEVERAL OF THE CREATORS OF THESE SHORTS
THE 5 NOMINATED FILMS ARE:
The Bigger Picture
By Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees, a graduation film from the National Film and Television school, Third Prize Cannes Film Festival 2014. A prize winner at Annecy (Graduation Cristal), Manchester Kinofilm (Best Animation ), Edinburgh International (Most Innovation), Anibar (Grand Prix), Hiroshima (Grand Prix), Fantoche (Grand Prix) and prizes at Leipzig, Bradford and other festivals.
The Dam Keeper
By Pixar artists Robert Kondo, Dice Tsutsumi, (Toy Story 3 art director) and Robert Kondo (Monsters University art director + set design and shading). The 18-minute film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival.
A comedy by Disney artists Patrick Osborne (supervising artist on Paperman) and Kristina Reed, that combines hand drawn art with 3D CGI. It premiered at Annecy & debuted in theaters with Big Hero 6.
Me and My Moulton
By Torill Kove who’s My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts (2001) was nominated for an Oscar and whose The Danish Poet (2006) won the Oscar® for Best Animated Short. Her latest NFB/Mikrofilm film, Me and My Moulton, recalls memories of growing up in a creative and unconventional family in Norway.
A Single Life
By Joris Oprins The TIFF catalog says, “Upon playing a mysterious vinyl record, Pia begins to travel through space and time, experiencing her own reality at different ages and stages in this vibrantly animated witty ditty showcasing a life in (one) song.”
This event is hosted by the Animation Society of SF State and ASIFA-SF
To learn more about Acme Filmworks visit www.acmefilmworks.com
TERRY GILLIAM’S ANIMATED CHRISTMAS CARD
Thursday Jan. 22, 8 PM, Karl Cohen presents his FORBIDDEN ANIMATION PROGRAM (updated, outrageous 16mm films) based on his book “Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons & Blacklisted Animators.”
This is a survey of works too wild for Hollywood’s censors. It was presented in lots of independent theaters in the US, Canada and Europe ca. 1996 – 2000. Cohen will present an intro, a Q&A, and sign books.
At Oddball Films, 275 Capp St. 3rd floor (Capp runs between Mission and S. Van Ness, on Capp near 18th St.). The program is part of Oddball’s Cinema Soirée series. For details visit www.Oddballfilms.Blogspot.Com
HIGH QUALITY/LOW COST ANIMATION AND MULTIMEDIA CLASSES AT CANADA COLLEGE
Canada College’s Multimedia Art & Technology department (soon to be rechristened Digital Art & Animation) is offering a wide variety of courses in the upcoming Spring semester. Classes are in 2D and 3D animation, Flash, animation drawing, motion graphics After Effects, digital photography, web design, digital painting and much more. Faculty are industry-experienced and have worked at places like Disney, Pixar, WildBrain, and Maxis/EA. Tuition is only $46 per unit (an incredible bargain compared to state schools, private colleges, and continuing ed programs), and financial aide is available to those who qualify. For more information, contact Paul Naas, MART program coordinator, at email@example.com, or visit the following websites: MART department: www.canadacollege.edu/multimedia and Canada College: www.canadacollege.edu
NEWS ABOUT THE WAGE FIXING SCANDAL CONTINUES TO TRICKLE OUT
Blue Sky was also involved, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s role in it grows, horror stories are being revealed, etc. For nasty details read VFX Soldier posting about the Sony hacks in December and Cartoon Brew postings on Dec. 3, 4 and 12. www.cartoonbrew.com and www.vfxsoldier.wordpress.com
RALPH BAKSHI TALKS ABOUT SURVIVING IN TOUGH TIMES
This is an old taped interview (2008), but his colorful comments/rants are still relevant. www.youtube.com/watch?v=WApcUBcVMos&app=desktop
KROK SAILS SMOOTHLY THROUGH TROUBLED WATERS by Nancy Denney-Phelps
Each year I look forward to the KROK International Animated Film Festival (It was held Sept. 29 – Oct. 5 on a boat on the Volga River, Russia). KROK is a joint Russian-Ukrainian festival attended by animators from around the world. This year given the political situation between Russia and the Ukraine I gave a lot of thought as to whether I should go or not, but in the end I decided that I was going to support the festival and the animators not a government. I’m certainly glad that I did.
The festival was its usual mix of excellent films, great fun, and friends. Even though the cruise was shorter than usual, just seven days, the trip up the mighty Volga, where forests of birch trees dressed in their fall foliage of red and gold graced the banks, was beautiful.
One year the festival is devoted to student, graduation, and first professional films and the next year it is for professional films. 2014 was the student year. Although I think that this has not been one of the strongest years for professional films there have been some very good student works and we had the opportunity to watch outstanding animation in the 11 competition programs.
As always KROK goes by so fast but I am already looking forward to KROK 2015. To submit film to KROK 2015 and find out more about the festival visit their website: www.krokfestival.com