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New York-based Brazilian filmmaker Guilherme Marcondes (Tyger, Into Pieces) is prepping a new ten-minute mixed-media short Caveirão for release this fall:
Shot in São Paulo, ‘Caveirão’ imagines the secret night activities of that city’s spirits. Inspired by the darker side of Brazilian pop culture, the film crosses over genres and techniques. Fantasy, horror and cartoon meet through live-action, 2D animation and 3D VFX. This is the first film from The Master’s Voice project about ghost stories based on urban folklore.
‘Caveirão’ literally means ‘Big Skull’. Besides obviously addressing the main character’s features, the name has few of connotations in Brazil. It nicknames the armored policecar that goes up the favela hills to terrorize drug-dealers (and the whole population living there). You would also use the word ‘caveira’ (skull) in everyday language as an adjective for something evil or ominous. At the same time, despite the dark imagery it conjures, ‘Big Skull’ sounds as goofy as a monster from a Scooby-Doo cartoon. That irony was certainly not lost when I chose ‘Caveirão’ as the name of my film.
Follow Guilherme’s new Facebook page for behind-the-scenes footage, animation tests, and updates on the film.
USC student Simón Wilches-Castro sent a message to let us know about his new short, Semáforo (Stoplight), inspired by the street performers of Colombia:
Due to the ongoing war in the Colombian jungles, many people are forced to flee their rural territories and find refugee in capital cities. Their only mean of acquiring money is to put on shows under the city stoplights. Some dress like clowns or do acrobatics, others spit fire or juggle; and some show the only thing they have left: deformities and amputations in exchange for some sympathy and change. This is the life of the people who live under a stoplight and the people who watch them.
Castro’s animation (made in Photoshop) is fun and creative, and he takes full advantage of the cinematic possibilities of the medium. The film will screen in competition at the Annecy festival next month.
This sequence—Transe Le Gros—by Julie Faure-Brac was made for “Incantations”, an interactive installation produced in collaboration with dancer Rachid Ouramdane. It premiered in 2009 at “La Nuit Blanche” in Paris. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen an animated piece capture the frenzied fervor of ritualistic practice and the disturbing sense of chaos and comedy that often accompanies such appeals to the divine.
You can see the other parts of Julie’s installation—Transe Le maigre and Transe Le rockeur—as well as how they were all combined together into an installation.
Vince Collins is an experimental filmmaker known for the films that he animated in the 1970s and 80s that featured his deeply-saturated, perpetually moving and morphing figures.
Malice in Wonderland (nsfw):
Fortunately, Vince is active online and his films are available to watch here, but unfortunately the early drawn films are marred by digital compression exacerbated by the rapid motion and color changes.
Life is Flashing Before Your Eyes:
For more about him, see recent interviews with Vince at NetworkAwesome.com and Vice. Vince’s website is here.
It makes some kind of bizarre sense that Vince is now making 3D shorts such as the crude, colorful Instant Clown Party which is either designed to entertain or drive you insane:
A man plus an ice cream cone is not the recipe for tension-filled drama unless the film is Stammer. This playful experimental piece by Chinese animator Shen Jie (b. 1989) reveals its story through a single repeating action that builds incrementally. The sound design adds the right touch of humor to complete the idea.
(h/t, Caleb Wood)
By: Jerry Beck,
Blog: Cartoon Brew
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Disney announced today that they will release a ‘lost’ Mickey Mouse short called Get A Horse! featuring Walt Disney himself as the voice of Mickey Mouse. The hand-drawn short “follows Mickey, his favorite gal pal Minnie Mouse and their friends Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow as they delight in a musical wagon ride, until Peg-Leg Pete shows up and tries to run them off the road.”
The never-before-seen work will be presented at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in Annecy, France on Tuesday, June 11. Lauren MacMullan (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Wreck-It-Ralph), Dorothy McKim (Meet the Robinsons) and animator Eric Goldberg (Winnie the Pooh, Princess and the Frog, Aladdin) will be on hand to present the film.
DreamWorks animator by day, independent filmmaker by night—David Stodolny keeps busy for sure. His pop culture parodies of The Hulk and The Hunger Games have earned him a growing online following. In his latest short, I Am Art, he stretches his range to satirize a more refined target: the fine art world.
The accompanying making-of video explains his thought process and visual approach to the film:
What’s that? You say that no one is making exciting 2D animation anymore? You say that you’d like to see some drawn animation that’s so fun and entertaining it’ll bring tears to your eyes? Well, we have just the thing for you. Kairos is a one-of-a-kind action-packed trailer for a new French comic book that looks pretty amazing in its own right.
The promo was produced by Studio La Cachette, a young Paris-based outfit founded by four Gobelins graduates: Nuno Alves Rodgrigues, Oussama Bouacheria, Julien Chheng, and Ulysse Malassagne.
Réalisation & Production: Studio La Cachette
Idée Originale & Direction Artistique: Ulysse Malassagne
Storyboard: Oussama Bouacheria
Dévelopement Visuel: Nuno Alves Rodrigues, Alice Dieudonné, Julien Chheng, Ulysse Malassagne, Rémi Salmon
Animation: Nuno Alves Rodrigues, Oussama Bouacheria, Alice Bissonnet, Julien Chheng, Hanne Galvez, Rachid Guendouze, Sandrine Han Jin Kuang, Ulysse Malassagne, Stéphanie Mercier, Bung Nguyen, Stéphanie Pavoine, Julien Perron
Décors: Alice Dieudonné, Ulysse Malassagne
Compositing: Ulysse Malassagne
Design Sonore et Mixage: Florian Calmer
Musique: X-Ray Dog
Winning an Oscar for best animated short can do many things for a filmmaker’s career, but it does not guarantee an endless stream of funding for the remainder of their lives. That is why Oscar-winning English director Daniel Greaves has turned to Kickstarter to fund his next project Mr. Plastimime. Greaves and London-based Tandem Films are asking for £33,450 (approx. $51,000). They have reached more than two-thirds of their goal with less than a week left in the campaign.
Greaves won the Oscar in 1992 for his short film Manipulation:
His new short Mr. Plastimime mixes clay animation with hand-drawn facial expressions and CG backgrounds. Greaves often mixes animation techniques in his work, such as in his well-received short Flatworld:
The rewards packages are well considered, and include artwork from the earlier films Manipulation and Flatworld. The new short Mr. Plastimime also appears to be well into production at this point. The project updates on Kickstarter show an impressive amount of visual development and dedicated craftsmanship, including hand-animated pencil tests by Greaves.
The Brothers McLeod, Greg and Myles, create animated projects and show them off on their studio website. They also have a blog here.
In 2013, they are producing one second of animation a day (besides their other work,) to complete a new film, 365.
You can see stills as they add them to the film’s page, and partial installments as they are posted monthly, such as the March segment:
The stills in this post are from 365.
Libidinis manages to be gently erotic even though the two main characters spend the film ripping off each other’s skin. The filmmakers, Spanish twin sisters Rosa Peris and Mercedes Peris, create a fluid, ethereal space with sensuous pencil and ink linework, and splashes of color in gouache, pastel and marker:
A man and a woman uncover each other, taking off their skin as an intimate act. They are interrupted by two children who attend the Love School. Libidinis is a short film produced by the research group Plastic Art Expression of Movement, Animation and Light-Kinetics (Universidad Politecnica de Valencia), specially made for the exhibition SKIN, which aimed to show the human skin as a humanistic study object. It was commissioned by the Wellcome Trust London and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).
The National Film Board of Canada has released a trailer and clip from Theodore Ushev’s new film Gloria Victoria which will screen at Annecy in June:
Recycling elements of surrealism and cubism, this animated short by Theodore Ushev focuses on the relationship between art and war. Propelled by the exalting “invasion” theme from Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony (No. 7), the film presents imagery of combat fronts and massacres, leading us from Dresden to Guernica, from the Spanish Civil War to Star Wars. It is at once a symphony that serves the war machine, that stirs the masses, and art that mourns the dead, voices its outrage and calls for peace.
Ushev draws upon the rich history of Modern art in Gloria Victoria, and turns it into a visceral and original animated experience. I saw a workprint last fall, and if it’s not plainly evident from these previews, it’s a mind-blowing art lover’s delight.
In Circle Line, London-based Adam Wells depicts the life cycle of a creative individual, and its accompanying compromises and heartbreaks. At least, that’s my reading of the short; I’m sure there’ll be other interpretations, too. In common with Wells’ earlier shorts Brave New Old and The Rest is Science, Circle Line shares a preoccupation with the inherent beauty of mechanical processes (especially moving sidewalks in this film) and physical routines.
I invited Wells to share with readers how he achieved the film’s distinctive look. He writes:
The project is CGI, but there are no character rigs. I use ‘point level’ animation on 2D planes, working directly on the postion, frame by frame. CG animation is often compared to puppeteering, and a lot of traditional animation lovers are put off by the asthetic. I am trying to build something that is fully CG and looks it, but is built from a more traditional technique, which is why I make such liberal use of stretch and smearing. (This does not require fancy CGI calculations, it’s just drawn polygons.) It’s a technique I have used for my larger project Risehigh.
Directed by Adam Wells
Sound Design by Nic Smith
Typography by Joseph Alessio
Shave It comes from directors Fernando Maldonado and Jorge Tereso of Bueno Aires, Argentina-based 3dar. The monkey at the center of the film is a stone-faced schemer with an environmentalist agenda. The filmmakers explain:
For us, it’s an ironic reﬂection about how nature adapts to the human invasion. We found a great inspiration in an Amazonian bird, the Lira, which imitates the sounds it hears in the environment. It does it with such a lack of criticism or judgment that it imitates the other birds singing, the power saws’ noise or the crash of the trees falling in the same way.
The filmmakers push all modes of stylization in this film from a hypersaturated color palette to 2D backgrounds/FX animation mixed in with the computer graphics. The angular monkey is a sight itself, with his shock of wavy electric-blue hair, floating ears, hinged mouth, and mask-like face that makes the stylized animals in DreamWorks’ Madagascar series look like naturalist depictions. All the elements are pulled together with expertise into a fun and attractive package. The development art posted on 3dar’s website gives a small taste of the effort that was invested to explore all the graphic possibilities.
Written and directed by
Graphic design and 2D animation
JUAN PABLO LANZO
Music and Foley
Illumination and Rendering
These two pieces of animation from Iran caught me by surprise because they are so different from the rest of the animation I’ve seen from that country. The first is a commercial for Lina Luke snack food directed by Moin Samadi. It has been accepted into this year’s Annecy Animation Festival:
The next is an energetic and funny hand-drawn piece called Evolution by Mehdi Alibeygi.
Director, Writer, Animator: Mehdi Alibeygi
Executive Producer: Moin Samadi
Sound and Music: Armin Bahari
Composite: Sare Shafipour
Logo Designer: Amin Maftoon
Produced by Raiavin Studio
As most Cartoon Brew readers are aware by now, we’ve had a “no crowdfunding” policy in place for a long time. But times change, and as more animation filmmakers incorporate crowdfunding into their production plans, we feel that it’s necessary to provide a platform for noteworthy projects that need funding. Starting today, we’re going to try something new by featuring a curated selection of crowdfunded animation projects on Fridays. We especially aim to give exposure to promising animation that may slip through the cracks due to a lack of exposure in mainstream media.
For starters, I’d like to highlight WONDER 365 Animation Project by Japanese filmmaker Mirai Mizue. Mizue creates his abstract films the old-school way by drawing and painting onto paper, but he uses digital compositing techniques to fantastic effect:
If you follow Mizue on Vimeo, you know that he’s been working diligently on WONDER 365 for the past 365 days in a row. Mizue received a grant from the Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan, which allowed him to hire over 150 painters to help color the film, but he’s still looking for funding to complete the music recording and post production.
The Wonder 365 crowdfunding effort continues through April 30. The project is currently 22% funded. Here is the film’s trailer:
Thumb Snatchers From the Moon Cocoon is an unabashedly wild, funny, action-packed gem of a cartoon. Self-conscious references to B-movie genre tropes appear throughout, but the short has a fresh outlook by focusing the action around its lead character—an over-the-top short-fused Texan sherriff.
The craftmanship of the short inspires admiration, as does Schaffer’s cinematic approach to stop motion, which deserves a big-screen Hollywood outlet. Thumb Snatchers is a CalArts graduation film directed and written by Bradley Schaffer, and animated by Cooper and Ashley Arechiga, who was also the lead puppet fabricator and effects artist. Check out the film’s official website.
(Thanks, Kevin Parry)
Barcelona-based Josep Bernaus gets a lot of mileage out of basic cube forms in his short The Lindy Cubes. The expressive movement was created in Maya with deformers. The tune is Slim Gaillard’s “Communication.”
By: Jerry Beck,
Blog: Cartoon Brew
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Canadian filmmaker Nick Cross (Yellow Cake, The Pig Farmer) took a break from production on his one-man feature Black Sunrise to make the animated short Perihelion.
Cross describes Perihelion as “a sort of animated tone poem…that toes the line between narrative and non-narrative, essentially having no real beginning, middle or end.”
The film draws upon his appreciation of fine art, particularly German Expressionism and Surrealism:
Visually, I was heavily inspired by the work of a number of German painters from the early 20th century. Notably: Otto Dix, Richard Oelze, Ingrid Griebel-Zietlow, Rudolf Schlichter and Max Ernst, as well as Francisco Goya. This is sort of a tribute to the work of these artists living in a time of Fascism and impending war, which really informed their work in a distinct way.
Fans of those classic artists will enjoy spotting the visual references, like this one:
America’s harshest social critics aren’t some distant foreign leaders; they’re French animators. Remember the 2009 Oscar-winning short Logorama and its merciless take on American consumerism? Now it’s Patrick Jean’s turn to satirize the United States. In his new short Motorville, he delivers a stinging commentary on America’s addition to other countries’ natural resources. The film was originally commissioned by the American broadcaster Showtime Channel, but after Jean submitted the film, Showtime decided not to air it. Some ideas, even animated, are too dangerous for mainstream America.
Jean’s previous film Pixels, which turned New York into a batch of pixels, was a big hit both online and offline. It not only won the top prize at Annecy in 2011, it also attracted the attention of Sony Pictures and Adam Sandler who are now trying to develop it into an 8-bit Ghostbusters-style feature.
The key visual element in Motorville is using a map of a major metropolis (in this case, Los Angeles) as metaphor for the human body. Jean generated the maps using open source data from OpenStreetMap.org, which lands him clearly in the emerging New Aesthetic camp. While Motorville is hardly the first time that map data has been turned into film art, Jean’s sharp and witty handle on the concept elevates this film into a league of its own.
Directed by Patrick Jean
Produced by Showtime Channel
Sound design: David Kamp
Additional animations: OneMoreProd, Stephen Vuillemin
Ben Crouse’s Old Portents & Hand-Out Hijinx is an atypical collection of vignettes that stack up into a funny film. The short’s fragmented construction feels like the contemporary equivalent of its viewing platform, the Internet, which is a similarly fragmented, non-linear experience that contains a surprise around every corner. Crouse doesn’t show much inclination toward cinematic or animation technique, but the film’s strengths lie in its memorable ideas and solid comedic voice.
Aardman veteran Darren Robbie (aka Chopsy) had the idea to make Making Stuff during an agency commercial pitch:
The line came to me while pitching on some commercial or other, and trying to explain what I loved about animation, and what was particularly hard with certain kinds of animation—trying to get that emotional connection out of a basically inanimate object. I think I was also attempting to explain to some agency people that, yes, I could animate a particular foodstuff (even though I didn’t have that on my reel) because, guess what…I’m an animator!
Robbie manages to pack a fun mix of animation techniques (stop motion, time-lapse, pixilation, hand-drawn, sand) into the film’s brief 90-second length.
Camera: Sam Morris
Modelmaking and studio space: Gary & Cat at ScaryCat Studio
Production assistance: Kev Harwood
Post: Emma Kingsnorth at UN1T
Music: Dave Reynaud
Audio track: Mcasso Music Production Ltd.
If you were planning to sleep tonight, then you may want to avoid this exquisitely creepy short:
It was made by Australian animator Felix Colgrave:
“When I made this film, I was exploring the idea of how living things are made of matter, and when we die and rot and we’re returned to the earth and yadda yadda, and then that matter then goes on to build other living things. Basically I cut out the middle man, and made the matter reorganise itself into new things the moment the consciousness died. Then i put them in onesies and gave the whole thing a silly name.”
Within 15 seconds of hitting the play button on Kou Kou by Takashi Ohashi, I did something I rarely do when watching films on my laptop: I turned off the lights at my workspace to create a dark theater environment. Good abstract animation, like a good song, demands the audience’s full attention, and I sensed this was going to be something special.
Takashi Ohashi, who has been featured on our Animated Fragments feature, has created a masterful piece of abstract animation with Kou Kou. Ohashi does something rare for abstract filmmakers, which is to organize his visual ideas with the clarity, pacing and dynamism of a more traditionally narrative storyteller. The second ‘movement’ that begins around the 4-minute mark packs a real punch. The competing red and blue offsets create tension and instability in the imagery, which serves to heighten the visual excitement.
To a non-Japanese speaker, the film is a beautiful visual experience, but the Japanese speaker will enjoy an additional layer of depth. Ohashi sent Cartoon Brew the following explanation of the film:
Kou Kou is a visual work based on an abstract animation synchronized with a song comprising the unique syllabic sounds of the Japanese language, without actually using any full words.
It is in the elements of sounds from which words are made that we find syllabic sounds. In the case of the Japanese language, the linguistic roots, or ‘Yamato Kotoba,’ each individual sound possesses a unique meaning. For example, words containing ‘su’ exhibit a frictional characteristic and hence are used to represent a linear or direct movement. In modern-day Japanese, ‘sasu’ or ‘susumu’ represent a concrete, tangible action.
Furthermore, words with fewer syllables are used to express simple onomatopeia-like words, whereas the more syllables a word contains, the more concrete it becomes.
However, although a given syllabic combination may not be understood despite its constituent syllables possessing their own meanings, there are particular instances where we are able to discover meaning from a meaningless word.
This is what I feel is most interesting about the Japanese language and why I’ve thought to express myself by combining just how good the combination of vowels and consonants unique to Japanese resonates with music synched to abstract animation.
This musical composition was made by recording 6 natural voice vocal tracks from singer Luschka and selecting lyrics with Japanese syllabic combinations which afforded expression. The track comprises words which themselves are meaningless, but carefully combining syllables and their respective unique resonances ensured highly musical peaks and troughs.
Director: Takashi Ohashi
Composer: Yuri Habuka
Mixing: Masumi Takino
Drums: Kyojun Tanaka (from DCPRG)
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Gary Leib loves Halloween. Two years in a row Gary has created an original Halloween window installation at Desert Island in Brooklyn. Gary’s sketchbooks are full of grotesque faces and mutant monstrosities.
Gary and Doug Allen are the artists behind the comic book Idiotland that was published by Fantagraphics in the mid ’90s. Gary also has created animation for the New York Times website, which can now be seen here.
Gary’s website is here with a handful of different work examples, a newer, active blog is here with a lot of sketchbook material, and an older Twinkleland website is here, which is the production company that Gary operates.
Gary was also the keyboardist of the Eighties New Wave/country music band Rubber Rodeo: