Jukebox Jukebox

In this ongoing series, we profile the most interesting independent animation filmmakers working today — the artists who, through short films and other projects, change our ideas of what the medium can do.

This week, we step away from the normal KYIF format with a posthumous entry to profile the late Run Wrake.

In a phrase: Utilizing bold graphic drawings, Run Wrake’s multi-layered works connect an onslaught of imagery from diverse media and loop them with a brilliant sense of rhythm. There’s never been anyone else quite like Wrake.

Where to start: Jukebox (1994). Jukebox is a stream-of-consciousness wonder filled with wild beats and a parade of looped drawn and collage imagery from surreal and pop culture sources. An ecstatic, surreal, and time-out-of-mind journey through a world of paranoia, fear, and wonder. One of animation’s greatest shorts. It certainly enraptured me back in the day and continues to astonish with each subsequent viewing.

What to watch next: Rabbit (2005). A boy and girl gut a rabbit and discover an idol inside its stomach. Great wealth awaits the twisted duo, but at what cost? A dark comedy tale of lost innocence, greed, and the randomness of existence that re-situates the naive imagery of children’s book author Geoffrey Higham (the U.K. version of Dick and Jane books) in a surreal and sinister landscape.

Other key works:  Music for Babies (1996), Anyway (1990), The Control Master (2008), M Also Stands For (1996)

Influences: Dada, Punk, Pop Art, Surrealism.

Says: “I guess in every age, what has gone before is treated as somehow less important/relevant than the present culture by the majority of people. Often true, so much culture is intrinsically linked to the events and mindset of its time. However, the human condition never really changes at its most fundamental level, which is why the paintings of the Renaissance or the music of Mozart are as relevant today as they were in their time. We may think we are more advanced because we have cars with satellite navigation, computers, and endless TV channels, but emotionally we are the same as ever.”

Currently working on: Run Wrake died of cancer in 2012. His final film, Down with the Dawn, made with long-time collaborator, Howie B, was a response to his cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Pictured at top: Jukebox

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Chris Robinson

Chris Robinson

Chris Robinson is a writer and Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF). Robinson has authored thirteen books including Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy: A Story of Estonian Animation (2006), Ballad of a Thin Man: In Search of Ryan Larkin (2008), and Japanese Animation: Time Out of Mind (2010). He also wrote the screenplay for the award-winning animation short, Lipsett Diaries.

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