Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chris' MIAF Wrap Up: Day Five

Friday was the best day yet at this year's MIAF. Program 3 was really brilliant, every film was great and had something interesting to offer. Unfortunately I don't have time to write about all of them, so I've had to narrow it down to a few favourites (but this list could have been a lot longer).

Sparrows Are Children Of Pigeons
Nina Bisyarina (Russia, 2008, 5'00)

A simple, gorgeous film, exploring childhood and imagination. Really beautiful, the cutest film I've seen since last year's "The Tiny Fish".

The Conservatory
Matilda Tristram (UK, 2008, 2'00)

Simple, and really funny. A really great sense of (somewhat absurd) humour.

Patrick Jenkins (Canada, 2008, 8'00)

The starkness of this film is really beautiful, and it works very well with a really great "noir" style soundtrack. The storyline is filled with unexplained happenings, but instead of being annoying this mystery really just adds to the experience. Unlike many detective stories where the audience is trying to guess whodunit along with the detective, this film takes you on a strange and fantastical ride and I was quite content to go along with it. For me, the combination of noir genre elements and these more strange ones worked really well and was a lot of fun.

Another great screening yesterday was the Studio Watch of UK company The Mill. You will definitely have seen some of this company's ads on TV. Possibly their most well known one was the Sony Bravia bouncing balls ad.

There work is of an incredibly high standard, so many great looking TVCs that were actually interesting and enjoyable to watch. They also had a couple of really cool shorts in the program as well. As this company shows, TVCs don't have to be shit.

Yesterday, I also caught the "Works in Progress" 101 Session. Three animators gave us an insight into the project they're currently working on and what stage they're up to.

Sue Stamp is working on a very promising film about Gorillas at the Melbourne Zoo. Her initial sketches are just gorgeous and her ideas for the film are really fantastic. I can't wait to see this one come into fruition.

Hung Lin, who's previous film screened at last year's MIAF, is working on a new film called ‘The Impersonator’. He's done a lot of concept work and storyboarding for this film already and I have to say, it's looking magnificent. He restricted his first two films to black and white due to time constraints, but for this one he has gone all out with glorious colours. The boldness of his style looked fantastic in the stills and I'm sure it will only look better once it's animated.

Finally, Jonathan Nix showed us some clips of a 30" animated film he's been working on for more than four years now. He's working with two other animators (one cell animator, and one 3D CG) and the footage we got to see looked really wonderful. The main character has a gramaphone for its head so you just know this film is going to be a good one!

I think that's enough updating for today. I'll be living it large this weekend for the final two days of the festival so my next and final MIAF update will probably be coming on Monday or Tuesday.

If you haven't already, get down to the festival and check out some screenings! The quality of these films is really fantastic, and there's so much variety to appreciate.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Chris' MIAF Wrap Up: Day Four

Yesterday was another great day of MIAF. I caught the New Croation Panorama, the Pritt Parn Special, & the London's Calling #1 Session.

Simon Bogojevic Narath (Croatia, 2008, 12'30)

I'm not exactly sure what was going on in this film, but it was quite interesting to watch. A really nice combination of traditional CG and CG with cell shading for the characters. There was really interesting character design too. I also enjoyed the pacing in this film, there was lots of stillness in the early sections building up to a lot of excitement when the film changes scene.

BBC iPlayer “Penguins”
Vince Squibb, Darren Walsh, (UK, 2008, 1’00)

Some of you have probably already seen this one. I won't say much, as you can watch it yourself.

There were also a number of other great TVCs in the London's calling program. Passion Pictures (the guys behind the Gorillaz videos) had a great Audi TVC, there was a very funny ad for pretending to advertise for, and a couple of really beautifully animated TVCs advertising the dangers of drinking too much around children.

I also quite enjoyed Pritt Parn's "Life without Gabriella Ferri". Another one that I wouldn't have normally expected to enjoy (especially at its length of 44"), but it was quite a bit of fun. There was definitely some disturbing imagery, but the film had a good sense of humour. Again, beautifully animated.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chris' MIAF Wrap Up: Day Three

Just a short update today, more coming tomorrow.

The Horrors: "She Is The New Thing"
Corin Hardy (UK, 2007, 2'45)

I'm not usually into the gruesome demonic imagery that can stereotypically accompany hardcore music, but I really enjoyed this video. The animation was perfectly suited to the song, not just in imagery but also in the pacing and style of movement. A great combination of live action with animation (which I think can often look pretty naff). Check out the video below.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chris' MIAF Wrap Up: Days One and Two


Well it's that time of year again. I've thoroughly enjoyed the first two days of this year's Melbourne International Animation Festival, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the week. MIAF is one of the world's biggest animation festivals, and as the program proudly proclaims it includes 50 screenings, 400+ films, from 35+ countries. We're very lucky to have such a prominent festival right here in Melbourne, so if you get the chance I highly recommend you get down and check out some films! You can check out the program here.

Over the next few days I'll do my best to write about some of my festival favourites. Here's some films that stood out to me from day one and two:

According To Birds / Volgens De Vogels
Linde Faas (Holland, 2008, 5'30)

This film is absolutely stunning. The theatre was completely silent as this film played and you could really feel just how mesmerised the audience was. It was almost like we were all holding our breath. Beautifully animated, with a gorgeous look. A real stand out for me so far.

I Am So Proud Of You
Don Hertzfeldt (USA, 2008, 22'00)

I didn't actually realise how long this film was until I checked the program afterwards (which is a good thing). The D.I.Y crew have been fans of Don Hertzfeldt for a few years now so I was really looking forward to this one. It has Hertzfeldt's unique randomness and humour as you would expect. But I was surprised and delighted by the strong sense of humanity the film had. It looked great - combining Hertzfeldt's simple line drawings with photos and other elements very successfully. I'm not a fan of much mixed media animation, but the different elements worked very well together in this film. A great soundtrack too.

The Year I Cut My Hair
Ami Lindholm (Finland, 2008, 5'15)

Another film with an excellent soundtrack. The music contributes significantly to this film, really setting you on edge, and lending the visuals (that might otherwise have appeared cute or flippant) a real sense of eeriness. This film also contained a great mix of visual styles, often simple in appearance but quite disturbing and affecting.

Fantasie In Bubblewrap
Arthur Metcalf (USA, 2007, 3'45)

A very simple film, but it succeeds perfectly in what it sets out to achieve. This one reminds me a lot of "Global Warming" which played very well at last year's MIAF. This film had the whole cinema roarng with laughter. Definitely a crowd pleaser. A great idea, exectuted perfectly.

By no means were these the only films I enjoyed in the last few days. I thought International Program 1 showcased a great variety and it was really great to see so many wonderful sand animations in the Sand program.

More wrapping-up tomorrow kids!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Trainer

A little while ago I assisted on a short film called "The Trainer" directed by Clayton Jacobson. The film was produced in collaboration with Canon using their brand new DSLR, the EOS 5D Mark II. Clay got to test drive the camera and decided to make a short documentary about his father's career as a boxing coach. Many of you will recognise Ron from his role as the hilariously mean-spirited dad in "Kenny".

The film was a lot of fun to work on. I got to work alongside DP Peter Falk (who was the director of photography on "The Jammed") which was really great.

You can watch "The Trainer" here.

There's also a making of video (in which you get to see me standing around looking useless). You can check that out here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Music Videos

Here's some music videos I've been enjoying this last month or so...