365 – April

1 May 2013

Our favorite animator brothers,  Brothers McLeod, have a new monthly episode ready from their 365 series…

1 second a day to create one monthly film and to showcase the versatility and richness of Greg & Myles’ universe, whose daily pieces could perfectly be used as a basis for much longer works, Caterpillar Fightings, shoes, over active brains, flying cows… all sorts of creatures from their twisted heads fit in. And the best thing is that there’s still 8 more films to go.

Quite  unbelievable to see they still find time each day to pull out a tiny animated piece while still delivering their many other works. Previous 365 works this way.

365 – March from The Brothers McLeod on Vimeo.

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Takashi Murakami’s ‘Jellyfish Eyes’ premiered in LA.

Takashi Murakami. 'Jellyfish Eyes'.
15 April 2013

Not to be confused with cult writer Haruki, Takashi Murakami is more the ‘Jeff Koons of contemporary Japanese art’ type. His feature length debut, Jellyfish Eyes, had its international premiere at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monday, April 9, and featured some interesting animated allusions to real life.

The film is set in a small Japanese town where a young boy, Masashi, befriends a series of bizarre computer-generated creatures after moving to a new town. Haven’t we all. See the LACMA website for more details.**

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Doomed: a biological cartoon!

9 February 2013

Back in the summer of 2011 we approached Guillermo Garcia Carsi for a little chat, his shiny “DOOMED” series pilot was doing the festival & production houses tour looking for funding. In chat with Spanish TVE, with other European channels… but we really never heard much more about it.

Guillermo has, since then, been involved in many other animated projects and side jobs. Maybe the failures of the natural selection is something humans don’t like to be reminded about, maybe “Doomed” was too forward-thinking… we might never get to meet all those creatures, but at least his very own El Señor Studio has just uploaded that great pilot for everyone to enjoy.

This is also the story of the relationship between these creatures and its Narrator. The character of the Narrator was a documentary star, but unfortunately for him, the good times are over and he is forced to accept this strange documentary, which he considered far below its potential.

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Ralph Bakshi’s Last Days of Coney Island

2 February 2013

Generation Y has probably never heard of Ralph Bakshi, one of the big names in American alternative animation who produced some not-that well known classics in the 70s amd 80s, like Wizards or even adapting Crumb’s Fritz the Cat.

Many of his animated films can be found on that other parallel youtube universe where films are split in episodes and international accounts, but that’s another story. The important bit today is that Ralph Bakshi is back to work, or at least he’s willing to do some new animated series…. the “Last Days of Coney Island“.

He just recently created a crowdfunding page on KS to raise some $$ for the first part of a series… an animated cop, mafia, horror movie set in the 1960s in Coney Island, with political overtones both realistic and outrageous. The stories would take place on and around Coney’s garish, freaky midways and in it’s dark alleyways. They discuss America: Kennedy’s assassination, the mafia, Bobby Dylan, Vietnam, Dick Tracy, Miss America, and a large etc.

 $165K is a rather ambitious goal… but taking into account the history and relevance of Bakshi’s works we thought he may well need some good attention and support to reach that figure, and you could be interested in grabbing one of the many original drawings. More info this way.

Ralph Bakshi's Last Days of Coney Island still2
Ralph Bakshi’s Last Days of Coney Island still
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Animated Berlinale Shorts

22 January 2013

Today we learned that Simon’s TPB AFK will be premiering at next month’s Berlinale,  but we liked just as much the idea of having 4 animated competing films fighting in the Festival’s shorts competition.  With them, another 23 films will be competing for the Golden Bear and Silver Bear Jury Prize (both of which are presented at the Award Ceremony), the DAAD Short Film Award, and a short film nomination for the European Film Prize.

Poster from Merlin Flügel's Echo
Poster from Merlin Flügel’s Echo

4 great pieces which include German directors Merlin Flügel (with his short Echo) and Xenia Lesniewski (with Hypozentrum) as well as Korean director Joung Yu Mi (with Love Games) and Nordic Ewa Einhorn & Jeuno JE Kim (with Whale Women).

(Xenia’s Remisequenz from 2011)

To be fair selection amongst these 4 is pretty though already so imaging having to compete with another 23… the full list of short films this way.

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Geoffrey Lillemon explored.

Geoffrey Lillemon. Lucid Dreams.
2 January 2013

Geoffrey Lillemon‘s online campaign for Bernhard Willhelm’s Women SS 2013 brings to mind a picture of Stelarc‘s younger, crazier brother. Using Faceshift and 3D Studio Max, Lillemon creates a colourful, vivid bunch of virtual models with an elfin appearance; resembling 1980’s Troll toys as much as they do Future Sound Of London. Each project in the collection is represented by different custom-designed creatures, which, paired with intensely patterned, vertigo-inducing design and the shape-shifting cut of the clothes themselves, create an atmosphere of digital, GIF-based sensory overload. Back in the day, the psychedelic gurus of the 60s sought a new frontier for their mind-broadening pursuits in the digital world; works such as this seem to be their distant, less ideological echoes.

© Geoffrey Lillemon
© Geoffrey Lillemon

Continue reading Geoffrey Lillemon explored.

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17 December 2012

Some say today is our lucky day… mainly because 2 of the films which competed in this year’s Canadian animation festival “Sommets du cinéma d’animation de Montréal” have been released on-line for public screening. On one side we have Edmond était un âne by Franck Dion, and on the other we get the latest jewel out of Shin Hashimoto‘s head: “Beluga“.

Shin’s surreal work proposes an extremely noire animated piece on human incomprehension, social marginalization and unconscious suffering. A must-watch but rough piece with music by Marei Suyama and which also got an “alternative version” using some of Lennon’s best-known hits to sweeten the sip…

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Outer Osmo Ghost Mode

1 December 2012

Earlier this month L.A’s Museum of Contemporary Art teased us with their avatar futuristic animated piece “Outer Osmo Ghost Mode”, something that looked like one of Disney’s 80s underground projects, a week after we finally have the 10min piece…

The story is that of Elda and Dell Banner, two online avatars stuck in the home map of a proto-virtual internet exploration program, Osmo. Unfortunately they’ve been left behind in this ghost world by their physical creators, an actual married couple.

A project pushed by MOCAtv and Gleam House is the perfect expression of two artists obsessed with psychedelia… on one side our admired Alan Palomo (from Neon Indian) who had to add that futuristic-but-outdated score; and on the other animtator Johnny Woods who is no stranger to these parallel universes, nor Alan’s own psyche. A project worth saving in your datadrives.

Outer Osmo Ghost Mode
Outer Osmo Ghost Mode still
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Un Monde Truqué retakes production

27 November 2012

Well it looks like the path for production and release of French bd legend Tardi’s Un Monde Truqué has just been cleared … once again.

Un monde truqué
Un monde truqué

In production since only-god-knows-when (over 5 years, already in 2009 this was big news, then last summer we were re-reassured the film was again in the right pipe…) “Un Monde Truqué” just got the support from Arte France Cinéma who apparently shall be co-participating in the project funding in what will be their first feature animated film…

If not, production should re-start next summer and Je Suis Bien Content (the studio behind the critically acclaimed Persepolis adaptation or the more recent Le jour des corneilles) will continue behind the artistic maneuvers with directors  Christian Desmares & Franck Ekinci, the scenario co-created by  Benjamin Legrand and the artistic supervision of Jacques Tardi himself.

Time will tell if this steamy and Napoleonic VI-reigned scenario will finally come to our theaters in 2014 or … but if we believe ARTE’s own PR things should come.

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Le Voyageur

22 November 2012

Belgian animation school La Cambre have been uploading some of their students’ works lately and we always welcome the unlocking and uploading of shelved stories that otherwise we wouldn’t probably see. Like Johan Pollefoort’s Le Voyageur which won Krog festival animation prize back in 2007 as well as a few other awards and mentions (Anima, Annecy..).

Le Voyageur is Johan’s personal adaptation of Charles Baudelaire’s “Voyage” poem, willing to condense in 6 minutes without dialogues the adventures of a young African girl who after leaving her own village and continent will have to face new horizons, jumping from owner to owner like a doll.

Quite interested in the way we relate with death and its iconography, Johan experimented with macabre dances in his latest film “Bal des Pendus” which also received quite a few good critiques when it was presented a couple of years ago and that we’re still awaiting its full on-line release…

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12 November 2012

This is the bad thing about festival submission, you get your film locked up and you’re unable to upload it on-line for quite a while… but if you’re lucky enough you could get some cash and some respect from all those animation and indie film festivals that keep multiplying themselves each year despite of the crisis.

Stephen Irwin‘s disturbing “Moxie” has been in the festival limbo for nearly 1,5 years… and finally we get the full version on vimeo. His pyromaniac and deeply perturbed bear gets a warm on-line welcome after winning last year’s Ottawa International Animation Grand Prize or the just announced Best British Film award at last week’s London International Animation Festival 2012.

Much in line with the Brit animator this week we also got to know that one another festival prize winner just made its on-line debut (the also multi-award winner and Irish animator Eamonn O’Neill and his “I’m fine thanks”), and we’re left wondering if from now on, to win these prizes all animators will have to talk about their ugliest demons….

Moxie poster
Moxie poster
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New Tokyo Ondo

8 November 2012

Self-produced piece “New Tokyo Ondo” by Misaki Uwabo is one of those “once in a million” student pieces that make a personal statement while leaving an unforgettable sweet taste in your long-term memory.

Re-Uploaded to youtube a few days ago but gone viral today NTO was presented last year as one of the graduation films @ Tama Art University which entered last year’s Creators Festa 2011. Also earlier on this year it was screened at the Ginza Apple store. Misaki is certainly willing to go back to Tokyo and its shopping jungles.

NTO still
NTO still

This is how Misaki summarized her story last year… “This is the nonsense animation conceived and made from the idiom “it reaches.”His hand is so long that almost reaches the NEW TOKYO night view. They run on their arm to aim for NEW TOKYO”.

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6 November 2012

Teeny tiny trailer that Sean Buckelew posts on his page for his upcoming “Another” animated project (previously known as “Ursa Major’) but small teasers, if well built, can be the most compelling of all.

This young animator (who btw is trying to get into CalArts) has been developing Another for quite a few years now but the time for festival submission and public screenings has finally arrived. Let’s see what the judges have to say about this piece and if they get to understand Sean’s profound role-substitution-in-a-stable-family-ecosystem-message, or they just simply like it like we did.

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Moth City

1 November 2012

We are lacking quality graphic on-line novels and to be honest, it’s been a while since we’ve read an engaging and superlative interactive novel. Hopefully Tim Gibson’s upcoming “Moth City” will take us into one of those alternative universes where things could go inexplicably wrong.

Tim will be telling us the story of Governor McCaw, a man who apparently has everything (beautiful daughter, beautiful mansion…) but whose weapon-industry job and company are at stake when one of his chief scientists is murdered. As you can imagine the dark secrets of his mini-empire built on top of an island (Moth City) start to come out and …. that’s all Tim can tell us for now.

Dr Boyes, one of the characters from from Moth City (image via Tim Gibson)
Dr Boyes, one of the characters from from Moth City (image via Tim Gibson)

The comic is about to launch …. and while we all wait you can have a look at part of his creative working process, have a look @ more artwork, or register so you get the Moth citizenship just like us!

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The Big Boy

23 October 2012

Korean illustrator and animator Lee Kyutae (aka Kokooma) is back with one of his magnificent animated pieces hoping to captivate as many people (and awards) as he already did with his previous Look Around short.

Taking the always effective giant fable to a very local Korean environment Big Boy (in a similar way to “Giant”) sets out the always contradictory human nature and our almost instantaneous nature to crucify the unknown using Lee’s unique art, which, in case you haven’t discovered yet, we highly recommend you go & visit.

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True Vulture

19 October 2012

We wake up most weeks with something new from MC Ride’s Sacramento band, something we weren’t expecting because behind those gifted minds there’s something new to produce each fortnight, and for this week we dreamed of something more psy than psy, it has become true. Director and animator Galen Pehrson (+ his girl) & the experimental rap trio teamed up a few months ago to give birth to True Vulture, an animated dream LA’s MOCA seemed to have to, so they decided to support it.

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4 October 2012

When you talk “Japanese animation” there are some basics studios you can’t miss … from the biggies Toei, Sunrise, Ghibli to the smallees (studio 4C), and of course… Production I.G.

You could be thinking… they surely don’t need to crowdfund these people… with all their history & awards…. why should they choose a crowdfunding platform for their next project? Well, according to Masaaki Yuasa and his team… their “risky” project won’t get enough funding in the current conservative-crisis climax, so alternative ways are needed…

They’re willing to somehow “innovate” and try & freshen the current Japanese animation market which seems to be slightly sleepy these last few years. And while from what we’ve seen so far it doesn’t seem like Kick-Heart could be a new mindblowing surrealistic piece… well… we know that Mr Yuasa is capable of some serious groundbreaking works. And besides, it’s always interesting to see how such-talented artists turn to the public to fund their projects when their own studio wont.

Kickheart still
Kickheart still

“Kick-Heart” brings us a love story between Romeo, a successful pro-wrestler, and Juliet, a nun who lives a secret double-life as a female pro-wrestler. Romeo’s secret is that he enjoys taking a beating in the ring, while Juliet feels invigorated when facing her opponents as a wrestler. When the two meet in the ring, the fireworks fly. Their story is set in the colorful backdrop of the professional wrestling world.

We really hope this short animated film gets done, and we really hope you’ll support it to. More info on their KS page.

Kickheart still
Kickheart still
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Dishonored – The Tales from Dunwall

27 September 2012

With all the hype surrounding the upcoming stealth game Dishonored it’s quite gratifying to see that for the pre-buzz and on-line campaign of the game Bethesda have decided to produce some exquisite animation in form of a trilogy: The Tales from Dunwall.

A prequel created by Psyop & ROKKAN that have absolutely nothing to do with the look & feel of the game (hand animation mostly for the series) and which attempt to introduce us to that dark parallel world… those sterile lands where plague is rampant and the city is in disarray and on the verge of dystopia.

Today aired the last episode of the trilogy after telling us about  how Dunwall was revolutionized by a new energy source in “The Awakening” and warning us about the dangers of accepting supernatural abilities from The Outsider in “The Hand that Feeds”.

This last episode entitled “In the mind of madness”  introduces Piero, a key figure in the city of Dunwall, and who also plays a pivotal role in Corvo’s story…. 3 great animated shorts that give us a greater glimpse into that agonizing world.

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