The Renter

20 September 2012

Quite a winner that has just been uploaded for everyone to watch. Jason Carpenter’s The Renter, which already accumulates around a dozen awards and many more nominations is finally amongst us. That awkwardly familiar and somehow atypical short happens to be (surprisingly enough) Jason’s first film…


The story of a young boy spending the day at an elder woman’s house… his own story and his own experiences when visiting “Mrs. Eldridge” being 8 y.o.(besides the soup sequence of course).

the renter still
the renter still

The Renter took him several years to come into its own… Jason started working on it while still @ Calarts  and by the time he graduated, despite having a finished storyline there was still too much left to consider it a finished film, but a couple of years ago his international festival tour begun… and we now finally get to enjoy it.

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17 September 2012

We love shadowy animation, ask Mr Malis if not, so when we discovered this morning that animators Julie Rembauville and Nicolas Bianco-Levrin had uploaded their 2011 film [R], we instantly felt the need of sharing.

Having just won the Grand Prix last summer @ the Italian festival Corto in Bra (plus a few others) and having screened at quite a long list of many other European festivals Julie & Nicolas present us a rather atypical explanation of how the latin alphabet was created… we could have stayed with the [R] alphabet … it sounded much sexier.

[R] still
[R] still
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Gobelins 2012

15 September 2012

Sci-fi, trippy, psychological and day-to-day stories are some of the proposals of the 3rd year students @ the well-known French animation school Les Gobelins which have just been unveiled like every course by their official Youtube channel.

We’re not extremely overwhelmed this year but when you reach such a level like that of this school’s students it’s quite hard to stand out, as a “coup de coeur” we’d like to highlight the extremely noir film by Charlotte Cambon de la Valette,  Stéphanie Mercier, Soizic Mouton & Marion Roussel (with great music by Laurent Courbier).

And we call it noir because despite the warmth of the family story we all could identify with… we suspect there’s been a murder in between all those doors, and we still haven’t figured out were the cat hides… or… if he’s been cooked.

The rest of the films  for this year can be seen on their channel this way.

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10 September 2012

We’re already supporting 2 projects this month (Molecule Synth just got funded) and we were on our way to talk you about the incredible super-orgasmic Authorised DEVO Synth when we found out about Nicolai Troshinsky‘s new project: Astigmatismo.

Our Loop Raccord genius  is back to creation with this stop-motion short which he’s trying to get crowdfunded via his own dedicated page. As you may well have imagined “Astigmatismo” tells the story of a little boy who suffers from astigmatism, and having lost his glasses, he can only see one thing in focus at a time… An unfortunate event that should be experimented by the viewer himself, but how…?

Nicolai is using a constant blur effect on the piece, so that we can only see in focus very tiny space. The focus point travels in synchronization with the sound and the music, allowing us to explore a constantly changing landscape.

Astigmatismo's Set
Astigmatismo’s Set

Furthermore, Nicolai claims that in order to recreate the character’s isolation feeling, the music, sound effects, character and background designs were made before there was a script, by authors who did not know each other, who were not in contact and who had no access to the work of the others  (music & sounds by Shogun Kunitoki and Pierre Sauze, backgrounds by Cecilia Ramieri and some gorgeous character design by Gina Thorstensen). “They didn’t know how their work would fit in the film. Not even the filmmaker knew exactly what will happen on the screen”.

 Quite a challenging work, so we think it deserves some attention and help. More info on the project website.

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Don Hertzfeldt’s Volume 2

9 September 2012

Don Hertzfeldt‘s animations have always been… too close to reality, too… rough and sometimes even disturbing… regardless of who you are we promise you’ll always feel something after watching them, so why not collecting them?

The American animator is about to release a new compilation (Volume 2) next month, which packs his works from 2006 to 2011 with that raw trilogy: “Everything will be ok”, “I’m so proud of you” and “It’s such a beautiful day” (plus a few other pieces and goodies) which he finished last year. The first film of the trilogy was uploaded to his youtube channel for us all to enjoy, but for the next 2… besides the trailers and other on-line leaks… we suggest you grab that DVD to get the whole story of Bill’s miserable yet mysteriously familiar life. More info and also detail of the dates of his autumn screening American tour this way.

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Le Printemps

28 August 2012

9 months ago Jérôme Boulbès already started teasing us with the first rendered shots of his new project “Spring”, a new computer animated short he’s been working on for the past two years. 2 years of tests, character design and even more tests that have finally reached an end. The short is ready to be sent to film festivals and the teaser available for the rest of us…

Le Printemps poster
Le Printemps poster

Le Printems (produced by Lardux Films and Les Trois Ours) animates one of Nicolas Vladyslav’s choreographies celebrating the return of spring… although with this teaser we aren’t told much about those mysterious creatures that gather around a sanctuary and who seem to prepare… a sacrifice? Guess we’ll have to wait and see…

Printemps - GPhulusi
Printemps – GPhulusi
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12 August 2012

The greatest cartoonist of all time (aka Kyle Baker) has a new story to share, and this one isn’t suitable for kids…

It’s taken him a while to complete what the describes as his most ambitious short film to date, always busy, always writing, creating or conceiving new characters. He originally uploaded a 2min teaser last February and the whole work is now available to everyone.


Maybe not a universal sauce, but Club Hopping may hopefully become the first episode of Kyler’s very own first animated series with detective Harry Hare unmasking mafias and swimming in the dirty waters of low life society, he just needs the money and the people.

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The Middle Seat

7 August 2012

The London tube is always hot, sweaty and overcrowded, the Parisian one stinks of piss … and sometimes bread, and the Madrilian one doesn’t have much personality. And on top of their own mechanical issues there are the human stories. Canadian Smiley Guy Studios animator Kurtis Scott knows the 1001 different stories tube can provide, and he’s decided to create some animated series about it.

Very new series (just a month old) we got to know via CB and which already cumulate 8 episodes and an ever-growing audience, hopefully Kurtis will keep finding some spare time to produce these little nuggets each week.

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27 July 2012

It’s incredible the amount of things you can do with a frog. They do not only have one of the most nutritious (and low fat) meats but they’re also great singers, and Caleb Wood knows this…

“Mobile” appears to be one of his first short animated projects for 2012, recently uploaded to vimeo, and one of his quickest projects done in under one week all hand drawn in photoshop…

Mobile still
Mobile still

A hypnotizing little film from one of the most active and prolific young American animators who already surprised us all last year with his autobiographical “Stay Home” short.

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26 July 2012

Having a funny tummy can sometimes been problematic, that’s why a good diet is always recommended or alternatively.. Julia Pott’s trick.

We’ve been waiting since last September for Julia to upload Belly, and after the obligatory festival world tour which has provided her with a few more awards (France, States, UK…) Julia has finally made it available for all of us…

Belly is Julia’s own vision of growing up and experiencing that critical moment when you’re forced to leave something behind, it could be a toy, could be your pet… or even your imaginary friend, but we’ve all experienced it at some point, with the help of our older brothers. And you certainly can feel it in your stomach for quite a while.

Belly animated short still
Belly animated short still

What have you prepared for us next Julia?

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Olympic Vermin

24 July 2012

The Olympic torch was passing by Richmond road just a few hours ago… and well.. there were some people applauding it… but not many. London may be organising the fanciest and most technological games in human history but Boris & co can’t deny that many Londoners, especially Hackney neighbors, aren’t welcoming or supporting the event.

And like many other artists Leo & Amaël have their own vision of the London Olympic paradigma… so they just uploaded what they think is London’s vermin own ambition. London is also famous for the number of rats its underground hides… so it shouldn’t be a surprise if they’re more comprehensive & supportive than the average Brit.

olympic vermin still (photo via Beakus)
olympic vermin still (photo via Beakus)

Co-directed and animated by BeakusAmaël Isnard and Leo Bridle, the short was shot around London, sometimes from the top of a 5-metre pole, and featuring an array of messed-up animated vermin, the film pokes fun at the Olympics and it’s so-called ‘inclusivity’ dogma.

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The Sxipmobile

17 July 2012

When a Kickstarter project reaches it’s final week it’s usually pretty easy to tell whether it will reach its goal or not… whether it has achieved that critical momentum that makes it breathe or it will stagnate is something you can see usually over the first couple of weeks. But sometimes the funding dream is reached in extremis at the last minute, I still remember how Weston Currie’s Congress, one of the first projects we backed just over a couple of years ago, reached its goal in the last few minutes.

BMIV Poster
BMIV Poster

Our admired Jossie Malis is certainly trying hard, very hard to give its very own project “Bendito Machine” some financial viability for the upcoming episodes, but that momentum is yet to come. Maybe the over 65K viewers of his latest episode on vimeo didn’t quite understand the message? Maybe they thought the new multi-colored sky backgrounds are a treason to the traditional monocolor Bendito Machine style? Maybe the latin-historical style is too close to the Mayan culture and people have made the link between supporting this project and the end of the world?

Too many doubts, but we seriously think you should consider giving some extra help to one of the best short animated independent series made in the past few years. We only have one more argument and reward that Jossie hasn’t necessarily outlined (because of his modesty)… the success of this project will save all those convinced religious believers of yours from going to hell, and that, is something worth contributing for.

Good luck in your last week king of mambo! (more info about the project this way)

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And it Came to Pass – Not to Stay

3 July 2012

There are never enough acid trips in a lifetime, never enough zen oniric multidimensional experiences during our Ibiza summer weekends. Although last weekend there was no need of a Balearic island nor a torrid Spanish sun to enjoy Rob Heppell’s last clip. It was the uber-trendy Brick Lane Coffee House which hosted a screening as part of the pre= East End Film festival  program (the festival which btw opens tonight!).

Rob’s clip will also be streaming later on this month in Gaza City as part of Windows for Gaza‘s Video Art Festival.

Still from And it Came to Pass - Not to Stay
Still from And it Came to Pass – Not to Stay

A meditation on the impermanence of situations“, built in 3D from footage gleaned by projecting colours onto snow and based on Buckminster Fuller’s assertion on impermanence and which Rob describes as something halfway between a play with colour fields and a psychedelic science-fiction war. Hope he uploads it to the web soon.

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Fuel the machines

25 June 2012

And  yes, we shall be greatful and thankful because god is upon us once again! Rejoice!

Fuel the machine still... the hero
Fuel the machine still… the hero
Maybe not god… but the holy machines. 3 years after the last machines were given to mankind (and we learned nothing from them did we?) Jossie Malis is back with the 4th episode of his shadowy animated series for another holy lesson. Two years since we had our ginger tea with him, and at that time he was already planning how to keep growing the dark paradise.
It’s taken him a while but he’s finally released a crowdfunding campaign (second attempt!) on the ubiquitous platform KS for his upcoming clips.. the same human stinginess, the same usury and jealousy… but greater although as simple and effective as before.
Bendito Machine still IV
Bendito Machine still IV
For his 4th journey “Fuel the machines” Jossie tells us the story of a future hero, a man seeking beyond the solar system for a way to keep our super-efficient petrochemical industry going… will he deliver?
Well… maybe it’s worth watching it, and if you like his holy apparatuses… then you may consider supporting him… just like we did. Enjoy either way!
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Isle of Spagg

16 June 2012

“On the other side of the Vertic Sea where things are distinctly fishier”, floats a very genuine island populated with fish-lover-makers and tough sea-workers who enjoy black beer after their daily routines, a simple yet cordial atmostphere imagined by BAFTA & Webby Award winning Brothers McLeod for their latest series: “Isle of Spagg”.

Two of the main characters from the Isle of Spagg
Two of the main characters from the Isle of Spagg: Inger and Herring

IoS charts the trials and tribulations of a seaside community as it comes to terms with the sudden death of someone who, actually, nobody liked much. As for now IoS is just a pilot which the 2 brothers finished last year and after the usual international festival tour they’ve decided to upload it last Thursday to Youtube for our universal pleasure…

Their very personal challenge to demonstrate they’re capable of doing something else than ads and short animations, hopefully duck, little boy and beehive scientists will, in the not so distant future, jump onto the BBC or Channel4 for some northern sea folkloric afternoons. Good luck brothers.

Isle of Spagg still
Isle of Spagg still
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4 June 2012

Today opens this year’s edition of one of the most renown international animation festivals: Annecy with a special guest for 2012: Irish animation. But we’ve covered the animated wonders of the little green island many times, so let’s go with one of this year’s special programmes dedicated to CalArts films and filmmakers.

For the American school this is their biggest presence at the festival with a double program that cover the 40+ years of crazy nonesense in 2 programs featuring 16 student works, eight from Character Animation and eight from Experimental Animation programs, as well as four faculty works…

Amongst those pieces the gorgeus Drifters by the just graduated Ethan Clarke but also a good list of must-watch classics that go from Eric Darnell to the Powerpuff Girls creator Craig McCracken…

But if Calarts isn’t your thing… then you do have the animated adaptation and festival opener: Le magasin de suicides by Patrice Leconte as an alternative. More info for the Calarts (and other) programmes, this way.

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Très Courts winners

26 May 2012

The not that-well-known Très Courts short-film festival took place earlier this month and like every year their nice selection of  shorty shorts was announced (which includes some oldies as there are no production-date limits when it comes to submitting your film)… like Ramón Frías’s Intruder which keeps collecting prizes everywhere.

In 2010 it won our other favorite short filmfest Notodo best script award, a couple of weeks ago we got to know it just got Hong Kong’s Fiction Silver award at the HKIFMA and now Très Courts’s originality prize. We’re not surprised…. good sci-fi is always a hit!

But it’s also worth mentioning many of the other great films which include Kate Tsang’s “Sherman” (which btw hasn’t stopped collecting some big prizes since last year too), a harsh portrait of an imaginary friend who deals with his past under 3min.

Or Jacek Mazur’s unexpected and beautiful explanation of one of the most mysterious natural phenomenons…

Congrats to the winners, the full list this way.

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TRI▲NGLE (Trailer)

5 May 2012

We were going to talk about this early 2012 Calarts student films…. we’ve done our own selection in previous years but we weren’t very inspired by this year’s works. Maybe we should however dedicate a few words to Hannah Ayoubi’s Story time confessions or Amanda Winterstein’s Wife of a farmer, but that’s about it.

Also this week we got to know this year’s US Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Student Finalists… and the 9 animated selected films. But again, no big inspirations here. But digging & digging we found the experimental film list that BFQ BFA and MFA Calarts animators presented as part of Showcase 2012—the year-end screenings from the School of Film/Video.

From all that nonesense, one (film) to take & sleep with… Grace Nayoon’s TRI▲NGLE which had its international Premiere at the Czech AniFilm Festival (which funnily enough also takes place this week). Our new favorite South Korean uses the always effective & very basic paper drawing technique to get those fuzzy and very disturbing characters.

Hopefully her disruptive stranger characters (whether they’re friends or outsiders) will fully make it to the free web and out of the festival circuit to join her one another short (and just as amazurbing) “View” and her long list of experimental beauties.

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Remembering John Halas

17 April 2012

From Budapest and his painting studies along with his first animated steps (firstly influenced by Bauhaus’ leading light Laszlo Moholy-Nagy) to his London studio creation in the mid-30s. Not easy years for a Jewish to travel Europe at that time,  but John moved wherever necessary to continue his animation career path, so once he got to know (and employ) his beloved Joy Batchelor for his Music Man film, a fifty-year “partnership” began.

From his short History of Cinema - 1957 - image from The Halas & Batchelor Collection
From his short History of Cinema - 1957 - image from The Halas & Batchelor Collection

He’s the one behind Britain’s first full length Animated “Animal Farm” feature based on George Orwell’s novel, one of the first to experiment with 3D stereoscopic animation, with computer animation, to found and chair the International Animated Film Association in the 60s and a big contributor to the British animation as a whole.

His birth centenary was a couple of days ago, so John & Joy’s daughter Vivien got to produce the following 12-minute documentary about her dad, a rare and unique opportunity to learn some basics of the British animation history.

And as an extra… John’s own vision of how the year 2000 would look like back in the early 60s…. “Automania”…  full list of his films can be found on his webpage, and dig a bit (youtube for ex or Vivien’s own channel) and you’ll find many of those available too.

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