Memorably surreal images–alternately beautiful and disturbing–populate the world of FIVE (FÃœNF), a pixilation short by Moritz Reichartz and Andrea Ã‰va GyÃ¶ri.
Viliam is Veronika Obertová‘s graduation short from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia. The handmade papercraft technique fits nicely with the theme of obsessive artistic creation at all costs. I was also impressed by Obertová’s satiric styling and how she subverted the crisp and safe paper sculpture shapes with quasi-grotesque character designs comprised of dangling noses, freakish mouth shapes, spoked-wheel eyes and heavy black outlines.
For more about Animated Fragments, see this earlier post.
Promo for Canal Brasil by Sergio Yamasaki (Brazil): “The idea was to tell the audience that the twitter of the channel had changed due to a virus.”
Lip sync exercise from Roman Holiday by Deanna Trudeau (School of Visual Arts, USA)
“Leo Fisher” lip sync exercise by Marie-Margaux Tsakiri-Scanatovits (Royal College of Art, UK)
Anagrams by Phoebe Halstead (Kingston University, UK)
File No.4 by Patrick Doyon (Canada)
Eric Dyer‘s The Bellows March is a sublime way to end our unintentional zoetrope week on Cartoon Brew. I first saw Dyer’s film when I was jurying the Ottawa animation festival a couple years back. The complex visual patterns and rhythms in his short have the dual qualities of mathematical precision and natural organic beauty. Even after watching the film multiple times, it still boggles my mind how Dyer, who is a professor at University of Maryland Baltimore County, planned and choreographed the production. Below is a video with a behind-the-scenes look at the circular sculptures, dubbed cinetropes, that were made with 3-D printed parts:
Max Hathaway, who sent me the link to the film and who assisted Dyer on this short, is working on his own zoetrope-esque animation with stop-motion armatures mounted on an animation rig. He’s documenting the production of the short on his blog.
“Nuclear Boy Has a Stomachache” explains the nuclear crisis in Japan through animation. The cute scatalogical analogies illustrate the power of animation to creatively summarize complex ideas, but the positive spin on the situation reeks of propaganda. It would be interesting to learn who commissioned the piece.
I was surprised to run across The Indescribable Nth, an odd curio from 1999 directed by Steve “Oscar” Moore and produced at Character Builders in Ohio. Moore, who lives in New Jersey nowadays, is also the director of Disney TV Animation’s Redux Riding Hood, a 1997 Oscar-nominated short that, as he notes on his site, “has since never aired on television, never been released on video or DVD, and has not been shown publicly since 1998.” One would assume there’s something seriously wrong with the film for it to be buried so unceremoniously, but its only crime is that it’s fairly funny and well made. Below is a clip from Redux Riding Hood.
“N.Y.C. (No York City)” by Rick Liss is a deliriously energetic pixilation tour of early-Eighties New York, where crime was rampant and mimes infested Central Park. A lot has changed since then, but the city’s relentless, wired bustle remains thankfully the same. The jarring electronic score, an inspired auditory complement, is by Laurie Anderson.
I was thinking recently how wonderful it would be if the Disney Company compiled a Blu-ray Treasures collection of projects directed by Ward Kimball. To be honest, it’s hard to imagine a project like this ever happening, especially under the (dormant) Treasures label where the only name promoted is Walt’s. Still, I can’t help but think there must be some way for the Disney company to recognize the work of its most original and experimental director, or in the words of Walt Disney, “the one man who works for me I call a genius.” Ward has inspired everybody from Hayao Miyazaki to Chris Sanders, and it’s high time to introduce his work to new generations.
Some will point out that a decent amount of Ward’s work is already available: Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom and Melody appeared on the Disney Rarities DVD, and the space specials and Eyes in Outer Space were featured in the Tomorrow Land Treasures. However, a lot of Ward’s most memorable work as a director, including some of the studio’s oft-requested cult favorites, have never been released onto DVD. The majority of these works are from his later period when he was at his satirical peak. As an exercise in wishful thinking, here’s what my ideal Ward Kimball collection would include:
I’m really into zoetrope-related experiments this week, which is a line I don’t recommend using as a conversation starter at any party. Above is a funky riff on the idea by Tim Wheatley that uses a bicycle wheel:
The cyclotrope is a cycle of 18 images that is spun at a certain speed so that the frame rate of the camera filming it gives the illusion of animation.
Tim is currently a student at the University College Falmouth in Cornwall. More details about the project on his website.
(Thanks, Loring Robbins)
It used to be that animators posted only finished films on-line, but increasingly I’ve noticed that even short animation tests and experiments find their way onto animators’ video streams. Promising ideas and techniques are often explored in these fragments, and while they don’t necessarily merit a full blog post on the Brew, I wanted to create a space to share them. And that’s how we ended up with Animated Fragments, a semi-regular round-up of noteworthy bits and pieces of animation.
Illetrisme by Phlexib and Yoann Lemoine
Stucktogether by Ian Miller
Factory by Tom Rainford
Boxin Dudes by Polly Guo
Bone Dog by Caleb Wood
“Rotary Signal Emitter” is a picture-disc LP created by Sculpture, the London based duo of musician Dan Hayhurst and animator Reuben Sutherland. Music AND animation is pressed into both sides of the disc:
Sutherland ‘DJs’ with home-made zoetropic discs, intricate concentric rings of illustrated frames, projecting fragments of looping images at 33, 45 and 78 rpm — pre-Edisonian imaging technology combined with a digital video camera.
The LPs were produced in a limited edition of 300 copies, which can be purchased HERE. I want one bad but it seems like ordering is a tad difficult if you’re in the US. The videos below show the mesmerizing–almost hallucinatory–effect when the audio component matches up with the animation.
Robert Zemeckis’s animation career climaxed in a spectacular crash and burn with last weekend’s release of the Simon Wells-directed Mars Needs Moms. The $150 million folly debuted in fifth place, grossing $6.9 million, made even more pathetic by the fact that it debuted in 2,440 3-D theaters including a substantial 200-plus IMAX screens. Disney shuttered Zemeckis’s creepy nightmare factory known as Imagemovers Digital over a year ago, and the performance of this film, which Nikki Finke called “one of the biggest money losers of all time,” should finally convince the rest of Hollywood that Zemeckis is absolutely clueless when it comes to producing and directing animation.
Some more disastrous notes about the film’s opening courtesy of Box Office Mojo:
[It] was the third least-attended launch for a Disney animated movie on record (only Ponyo and Teacher’s Pet were less popular) and lowest debut yet for a broadly-released modern 3D-animated movie, replacing Alpha and Omega for the dishonor. Sci-fi animation can be a tough sell, yet Mars still had one of the sub-genre’s weakest launches ever, selling fewer tickets than even Planet 51, Space Chimps and Astro Boy. Mars was severely limited by its premise, which was better suited to a television cartoon, and its execution looked awkward, incoherent and creepy in the marketing.
Rango dropped to second place in its second weekend with a solid $22.6 million and a cume of $68.2 million. Gnomeo and Juliet grabbed $3.6 million in its fifth frame pushing its tally to $89.1 million. The Illusionist wrapped up $72,200 from 76 theaters for a twelve-week gross of $1.975 million. My Dog Tulip grossed $5,251 from 4 theaters for a total of $223,694, and The Trouble with Terkel grossed $568 from one theater for a total of $30,610.
Hands down the coolest thing I’ve seen in the past week–heck, in the past month! Graeme Hawkin, the mad Scottish animation scientist who I profiled last year, continues to expand his experiments with 3-D zoetropes. The evolution of his zoetrope process and the making of this piece is documented extensively on his website Retchy.com so if you have questions, go there first. The hypnotic effect is achieved through a relatively basic concept–projection mapping onto a three-dimensional model rotating on a turntable. It reminds me of some of the performances I saw last year at the Elektra festival in Montreal, where artists created visual experiences that existed in a three-dimensional space instead of straight-ahead on a flat screen.
Here is a video of the turntable zoetrope that Graeme built from balsa wood minus the projection mapping: