12 October 2009

Brrrmmmmm... APEngine: moving image transmission

We are pleased to announce that APEngine - our online channel for debate and discussion across the range of independent moving image practice - is now live. There is already a wealth of articles, film clips and interviews to enjoy over at http://www.apengine.org
Here are some of the highlights that have already been published:

Jen McLachlan on the State of Screen-based Dance
Rachel Baker on the AND Festival and the film/art ‘divide’
George Clark on artist Duncan Campbell and the mediated archive
Gareth Evans on memory, filmmaking, and archive
Maria Palacios Cruz on Contour 09 in Belgium - showing artists’ film in historic buildings
Angela Kingston on artist Jordan Baseman and animation as breakdown
Kerry Baldry’s One Minute Films project, plus One Minute films by Alex Pearl and Nick Jordan
The Jarman Award: recollections of the man himself from James Mackay, David Curtis, Anna Thew and others; and podcast extracts from a 1980s interview with Derek Jarman by Jo Comino

Interviews with filmmakers, artists, producers and curators
Run Wrake, director of Rabbit and The Control Master
Laurie Hill, director of current festival smash Portrait of Jesus
Vicki Bennett/People Like Us, an influential figure in the field of audio visual collage
The Centre of Attention on their new feature Action Diana
Chris O’Reilly from Nexus on new ways of working
Ben Rivers, with his current retrospective at A Foundation in Liverpool

Coming soon...
Urban Screens - Maria Palacios Cruz reports on the Amsterdam conference
An interview with Bruce La Bruce on his new film, L.A. Zombies
Vodcast interview with Oliver Harrison and clips from his new feature, Badinage
The New Education: a special feature on changing approaches to teaching moving image practice
London Film Festival backstory... interviews with LFF Producer Helen de Witt and Avant-Garde programmer Mark Webber
Interviews with… Sarah Turner... Candice Breitz... Aura Satz... The Otolith Group... Jane and Louise Wilson... Matt Hanson… Campbell... Duane Hopkins... AL and AL... Stephen Eastwood... Max Hattler... Mandy McIntosh… Shona Illingworth...and much, much more

11 September 2009

Engine has ignited!

Last night saw the launch of Engine at onedotzero_adventures in motion. An interesting discussion about the relationship between commercial work and independent work took place between Gaelle Denis, Quayola, Tal Rosner and Chris O'Reilly at the BFI Southbank. There'll be more about it on Engine soon.

So, Engine is now live with interviews, articles, news and views - check it out here.

14 August 2009

Bye bye blogger

You may have already heard that next month we're launching Engine - our new online space for debate and discussion across a range of moving image practice, and as such we'll no longer be updating this blog.

To keep up to date with what's happening with Animate Projects and Engine, sign up to the animateprojects.org mailing list or RSS feed to be in the loop.

21 July 2009

Guest blogger: Salthouse 09 by Daniel Bell

The annual exhibition of contemporary art at Salthouse Church in North Norfolk, this year carries the theme of ‘Salt of the Earth’. Curated by Simon Martin the show features the work of 50 artists with a Norfolk connection, encompassing painting, printmaking, ceramics, film and installation.

The exhibition touches on the biblical metaphor of ‘salt of the earth’ with drawings and sound recordings for example that tell the stories of archetypal honest country folk. Predominantly though, the theme is explored in more literal terms, with work that looks at the local landscape, the marshes and the sea, often using salt as a material (crystallized, carved, ground or polished). Interestingly, many of the pieces use the earth as a starting point to venture into more celestial imagery and ideas. Ian Starsmore’s installation (A Step at a Time) for instance is a peculiar assortment of carved ladders, poetry and etchings – all on a very small scale, but spiraling upwards past floor, windows and walls. Jane Wheeler’s hand-built vessels are similarly ethereal, using earthy materials to create curious-looking implements that relate to such ‘rituals’ as Fermentation, Preservation and Fertilization.

Even Brian Whelan’s religious paintings (You are the Salt of the Earth – The Light of the World) look exotic and almost otherworldly with their dazzling colours and intricate configuration. There is further humour in Colin Self’s playful collage The Fishy Tale of the Battered Wife, complimented by more solemn elements such as his delicately detailed etchings of dead birds. Wildlife, earth, ocean and weather feature strongly in Salthouse 09, and they are all distilled most succinctly in Jo Hincks’ linocuts that hang in a column reaching high into the church. Like a lot of the work in the show they use stark symbolism and a high level of craft to explore very down-to-earth struggles.

For me, it has been a chance to exhibit somewhere far away from a typical gallery or cinema, and with my video installation in the church pulpit I have experimented with my take on a uniquely changeable rural landscape.

Salthouse 09

17 July 2009

Kinofilm Call for Entries

The 11th edition of the KINOFILM Festival will take place in Manchester from 23-28 February 2010, as a European Short Film Festival and invites submissions from all over Europe including former Eastern Europe and Baltic States.

Kinofilm has a unique reputation for showcasing the best short films from around the world, whilst being renowned for seeking out diverse, challenging and groundbreaking new film. The festival maintains a high standard with many European & International award-winning shorts featuring in the Festival but also includes special programmes in low/no budget shorts, students shorts and underground cinema, giving new and emerging filmmakers the opportunity to have their work screened alongside that or critically acclaimed, established short filmmakers.

Though the 2010 festival focuses on Europe there will be a limited number of entries considered from non-European countries for award-winning films or for those of outstanding merit, for a special International showcase.

Main categories include:
short drama, animation, experimental, digital shorts, Documentary, Romantic Tales, Cinema Extreme, Comedy, Horror, Fantasy & Sci-fi, Erotica, music videos, Lesbian & Gay, Polish Cinema, and Bluefire (Kino's Black and Asian section), however, the Festival welcomes shorts of any type and genre. The festival will also feature a youth and community led film event and welcomes submissions from those working with youth based organisations.

Submissions Requirements:
Short films should be no longer than 25 mins (except documentaries which will be allowed up to 35 mins) and must be made within the last 18 months prior to the festival. The festival does not have a premiere policy but there is a small entry fee from £5.00 to submit a film. There will be a extended deadline for late submissions to the 30th September though this will incur a higher submission fee of £15. Distributors, agencies and educational institutions are exempt but should contact us first to register the exemption. Please note. Exemptions for filmmakers that submitted to the 2007-8 festival and paid the entry fee of £5 will be able to submit their film free (but must provide their reference number and details of previous entry).

Submissions are open from 1st July closing on 10th September. To submit a film please email the Festival for the festival rules, regulations and procedures and application form: info@kinofilm.com

15 July 2009

MeetMarket submissions for Sheffield Doc/Fest now open – artists welcome

Sheffield Doc/Fest invites submissions from artists working in single-screen and/or cross-platform/interactive media, to our flagship documentary and cross-platform marketplace pitching event, MeetMarket.

MeetMarket is Doc/Fest's pitching initiative designed to match documentary makers' most innovative project ideas with UK and international buyers. MeetMarket generated £7.5m in negotiation in 2008, with the one-on-one matchmade personalised format meaning you can discuss your project creatively in detail with specialist funders and commissioners, and without the usual pressure in public pitches of pitching to a large room of people. Artists should be making work which in some way fits the category of documentary/factual in subject. Although no financing needs to have been secured already, projects will be favoured which are at an advanced stage of research and development, if not in production, with projects having being developed beyond a conceptual proposal.

At MeetMarket, buyers, commissioners, funders and executive producers from broadcast, cinema, internet, mobile and beyond view online one-minute pitch teasers of innovative documentary ideas, along with one-page treatments, in advance of Doc/Fest. From this, they select which projects they would like to discuss in one-to-one meetings at MeetMarket. Projects can be in development, production or post-production, and cross-platform projects are also very welcome. MeetMarket will give artists an opportunity to present new projects to funders and commissioners from across the spectrum of the documentary and art worlds.

Participants to pitch to comprise major international factual funders, including Wellcome Trust, ICA, Tate Media, Channel 4, BBC, ITVS, Arte France, ARTE GEIE, Sundance Institute, Britdoc, ZDF, AVRO, Cinereach, NPS, RTE, ARD, YLE, and over 80 more.

Also at Sheffield Doc/Fest will be a special conference session and networking event on the meeting of factual and documentary production and artists film and video. This will be for documentary producers, artist filmmakers, documentary and web funders, and anyone else interested in this crossover area. It is strongly recommend artists attending Sheffield Doc/Fest participate in this session, at which there will be excellent networking opportunities to meet the documentary community.

Applying to MeetMarket is an online submissions process, and more information can be found here.
Artists are welcome and ecouraged to contact MeetMarket producer Charlie Phillips in advance of applying for full advice by emailing Charlie@sidf.co.uk
Deadline for submitting to MeetMarket is strictly Friday 4th September.

10 July 2009

Internships available at Animate Projects

Animate Projects is currently looking for two part-time volunteer interns: one to assist with marketing, the other to help with production and distribution.

If you’re interested in finding out more, check out the Opportunities section of animateprojects.org.

Deadline for applications: 24 July.

Engine: moving image transmission

We are excited to announce that in the autumn we'll be launching Engine. It's a new online channel for debate and discussion across a broad range of moving image practice, and from a range of perspectives. It will be a place in which to encounter and engage with different creative and critical ideas, that encourages comment and discussion.

We will have vodcasts and interviews with artists, filmmakers, producers and curators, as well as movers, shakers, and policy makers. We’ll have lots of opinion and ideas, and a film or two too.

To celebrate the launch of Engine we’ll be hosting a special event at onedotzero’s Adventures in Motion at the BFI Southbank in September.

Engine is supported by UK Film Council's Publications Fund.

1 July 2009

AnimateTV: suspended animation

We are very sorry to say that there will not be an AnimateTV Open Call for UK artists and animators this year. Channel 4’s arts commissioning is on hold, but we are pursuing other funding possibilities with Arts Council England.

If you think AnimateTV should continue, we would really like to hear from you - via this short survey. It will only take a couple of minutes, and it could really help support the argument that the scheme should continue. Many thanks.

12 June 2009

We recommend: Feel the Force at Cafe Gallery Projects

Feel the Force, the current exhibition at the Cafe Gallery Projects in Southwark Park, is a group show of 8 international artists who through photography and video explore ideas around the use of force, whether it be psychological, physical, political.

Notable pieces included: the unsettling video piece by Sarajev-born artist Maja Bajevic (image above), where a woman facing the viewer is repeatedly touched in both threatening and tender gestures by an unseen other, whilst the phrase 'how do you want to be governed?' is repeated over and over again. The exhibition also features two lovely video works by Irish artist Susan MacWilliam that investigate supernatural forces; in 13 Roland Gardens, MacWilliam's documents the famous R101 seance of the 1930s, recounted by the daughter of the medium involved. Plus, Benjamin Beker's War Memorial Installation prints, featuring historic monuments cut out of their surroundings: out of context they lose the powerful feelings they were made to invoke and become miniature aesthetic objects.

The exhibition features: Maja Bajevic, Benjamin Beker, Astrid Busch, Kate Gilmore, Immo Klink, Susan Macwilliam, James Pogson, Anina Schenker, is curated by Clare Goodwin and Liz Murray and is on at Cafe Gallery Projects until 28 June.

Image: How Do You Want To Be Governed?, Maja Bajevic

5 June 2009

The Spine by Chris Landreth

The recently revamped National Film Board of Canada website is currently showcasing the new film by CG pioneer Chris Landreth.

The Spine tells the everyday tale of a marriage falling apart, made fantastical through Landreth's astounding signature 'Psychorealism' style of visualising human psychological states. The film was made with the assistance of fifteen animation students from Seneca College in Toronto at C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures, Toronto.

The NFB site features the trailer, interviews with the Director, key personnel from C.O.R.E. and the student animators, and there's a fantastic blog by Chris Landreth.

Chris Landreth has been making animated short films since the mid-90s, including The End, Bingo, The Listener, Caustic Sky: APortrait of Regional Acid Deposition and Data Driven: The Story of Franz K. His film Data Driven: The Story of Franz K, made in 1993, is currently showing in our online exhibition Computer Baroque (online until 14 July). Landreth won an Oscar for his film Ryan in 2004, a documentary animation that recounts conversations between Landreth and animator Ryan Larkin, a once highly regarded Canadian animator who had fallen on hard times.

The Spine premieres at Annecy International Animation Festival this week (8-13 June).

Image: Ryan, Chris Landreth

29 May 2009

We recommend: Currents of Time at Rivington Place

Zineb Sedira's latest solo exhibition, Currents of Time, opened this week at Rivington Place, east London. The show features new work Floating Coffins, an immersive multi-screen installation complemented by an atmospheric soundscape, thoughtfully arranged in the main project space of Rivington Place. Sedira explores through the piece the graveyard of rotting ships that exists at the Mauritian harbour of Nouadhibou. The work is haunting and beautiful, conjuring up a desolate landscape of migrating birds and grounded ships.

Currents of Time also features an installation of light boxes and photographs collected during the making of Floating Coffins. The exhibition continues until 25 July. Zineb Sedira will be leading an artist's tour on 4 June at 7pm. For more information about this and other related events check out the Rivington Place website.

11 May 2009

Guest blogger: Oberhausen - part two by George Clark

As the oldest short film festival in the world, the unique strength of the Oberhausen often lies in drawing from its own remarkable history. Two of the special programmes this year returned to the past of Oberhausen in different way; firstly in the retrospective of Nicolás Echevarría, a Mexican documentary filmmaker, whose only experience of the festival until last year was having his first film Judea (Mexico, 1974) rejected by the festival 30 years ago.

His work draws from traditions of ethnographic and experimental film to document remote communities in rural Mexico. Poetas campesinos (1980) documents a rural circus which Echevarría stumbled across while travelling rural Mexico. Unable to raise funding for 5 years when Echevarría finally returned he found the group disbanded and so went about bringing the different performers together for his film resulting in a somewhat mediated portrait of a tradition which has already dissolved. Judea: Semana Santa entre los Coras on the other hand is a remarkable document of the Easter celebration by the Cora Indians, who have retained but uniquely modified Catholic rituals to their own ends over many years since the departure of missionaries from the region. The film presents an unadorned series of actions, processions and rituals with respect for their own integrity without attempting to explain or comment upon them.

In a different vein the festival also presented a retrospective of the Sarajevo Documentary School, focusing on the work produced by the Sutjeska Film in 60s and 70s which has had an extensive presence at the festival during its early period. Documentaries have always been a crucial component of Oberhausen, which played a crucially important role as champion of work from the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia during from the 50s-80s, and now thanks to the festivals own archive is an important custodian of work from the region. This is especially the case with regard to former Yugoslavia, whose film and archival infrastructure was largely destroyed during conflicts in the region. The programme at Oberhausen deliberately sought to explore the history of work from Bosnia & Herzegovina, to provide an insight into life and work in the region before the traumatic recent history.

The rich history of Yugoslav cinema during this period often referred to as the 'Black Wave,' included work by such maverick directors such as Dusan Makavejev, Alexander Petrovic and Zelimar Zilnik among many others who during the late 60s and early 70s followed the regions own new wave in the early 60s made increasingly critical and darkly humorous films up until the clamp down and imprisonment of director Lazar Stojanovic in 1972. By focusing on a sole film studio, which operated along the same lines at the National Film Board of Canada, the programme presenting a fascinating cross section of work ranging from Facades (Suad Mrkonjić, Yugoslavia, 1972) a slyly subversive documentary of the preparation for 'Self-Government Congress' ironically presenting the inclusive slogans on posters with the old houses they are used to mask, to the beautiful and wordless study of a stone quarry in Heave Ho! (Vlatko Filipović, Yugoslavia, 1967) and Walking School Children (Vefik Hadžismajlović, Yugoslavia, 1966) which follows the epic 12 mile walk of rural children to get to their local school.

The programmes sketched a remarkable social history, with works made with incredible care, passion and genuine regard for the people and places which they document. Two of the directors were present at the festival, along with a representative of the Kinoteka Bosne i Hercegovine where many of the films are kept. Appearing by pure coincidence in matching red jumpers, the two directors talked movingly about the importance of the festival to their early careers, where even though their films were produced for internal exhibition often they would only have been shown at festivals such as Oberhausen. Even when dated, such as the prog-rock scored High Voltage Electricians (Ranko Stanišić, Yugoslavia, 1978) about the building of electrical pylons across the country or the cheeky and ironic Izmet Kosica's Mission (Petar Ljubojev, Yugoslavia, 1977) about the trails in rural areas of a factory recruitment officer, the works present a largely unseen side of Bosnia and Herzegovia, vividly alive, funny and moving.

I only managed to sample a few works from the international competition at the festival this year, which typically presented a broad and diverse selection of works from over 30 countries and ranging in length from 2 minutes to 37 minutes. Selected from over 4,000 submissions the international competition at Oberhausen is notoriously over subscribed and the resulting programmes, while retaining the festivals commitment to all forms of the short film, often leave people somewhat bemused by some of the films they include.

Despite this the competition included many great films – some of which I've mentioned here before in my blog on Rotterdam, such as Jim Trainor's The Presentation Theme and Duncan Cambell's Bernadette. Other stand out works included leading independent Chinese director Jia Zhang-Ke's Cry Me a River, a work of remarkable subtly and emotion that follows the bitter-sweet 10 year reunion of four Chinese college students and the unresolved issues that have coloured their generation. Utilising actors familiar from his feature films, such as Platform and Still Life, this work is of comparable rigour and avoids the pitfall of other feature film makers producing under par work in the short form.

British artist Jayne Parker, whose work has been showcased at the festival in profiles and competitions in previous years, presented meticulously crafted work Trilogy: Kettle's Yard produced at the Cambridge gallery filming a performance and also sculptures from their collection. My Absolution by Russian video artist Victor Alimpiev, presents an abstracted performance, where a closely huddled group against a white screen collectively hold a note until one collapses, rigorously filmed with an attention for the textures of skin and fabric to parallel the film screen.

Charlotte Pryce presented her delicate 16mm film The Parable of the Tulip Painter and the Fly, a beautifully shot film poem. Swedish artist Saskia Holmkvist, whose work revolves around a subversion and exploration of public personae, presented In Character an ambiguous confrontation in a job interview where the the manipulation of 'neutral' interview techniques is exposed.

Amit Dutta, a remarkable Indian filmmaker who has produced a series of lyrical films drawing heavily and fantastically from Indian folk culture, presented a more sober side with Jangarh Film exploring the Indian painter Jangarh Singh Shyam's life and tragic death in 2001 when he committed suicide in a museum in Japan. Born in Central India, Jangarh was part of the Gond tribe whose wall paintings where spotted by the artist J Swaminathan when he was 17 and brought to national and international attention. The film is a loosely structured documentary starting in Jangarh's village, with conversations with his family and friends, where we learn strange details such as the origin of Jangarh name, which was taken from the national census (which in Indian is Jangarh) which was being conducted at the time of his birth. The film concentrates on Jangarh's cultural and social origins in India and avoids projections on the international community or the effects of commodification of the work by indigenous people, to focus on the surroundings and environment from which Jangarh took inspiration and lovingly decorated with his fantastic murals and wall drawings.

With the announcement of the festival awards it seems that the programmers kept the best for last, as the final competition programme included three of the main winners, A Letter to Uncle Boonmee (Thailand, 2009) by Apichatpong Weerasethakul which received the Grand Prize and the North Rhine-Westphalia prize, Ketamin – Hinter dem Licht (Germany, 2009) by Carsten Aschmann and True Story (USA, 2004/2008) by Robert Frank. Both Frank and Weerasethakul are excellent artists each at different stages of their career, Frank still producing arresting work after 50 years and Weerasethakul continuing his development and emergence as one of the most fascinating and continually inventive artists working with film and video at the moment (I didn't see 'Ketamin' so am unable to comment on Aschmann's work).

Other prizes went to Duncan Campbell for his film Bernadette, which is looking set to dominate festivals this year after having already been awarded at Rotterdam in January and picked up two prizes here, the Arte Prize and the International Critics’ Prize (FIPRESCI Prize).

A full list of the festival prizes can be found on the Oberhausen website.

Image: A Letter to Uncle Boonmee, Apichatpong Weerasethakul

7 May 2009

Guest Blogger: Oberhausen - part one by George Clark

'Weg zum Nachbarn,' which translates into English as 'The way to the neighbour,' was established as the motto of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen in 1958, then in its fifth year. Now in its 55th year, the festival has gone through successive changes of direction, weathered protests and upheavals and championed successive generations of filmmakers and artists while retaining its core dedication to bringing film cultures from around the world together for the five days of the festival. This year was no different which a typically far ranging competition programme but also special screenings dedicated to a Sarajevo documentary studio, a leading Japanese experimental director, a Mexican ethnographic film maker and most substantially in its large thematic programme, Unreal Asia, a sustained and reflective examination of the contemporary practice in the many countries that make up the region contentiously grouped together as South East Asia.

I arrived at the festival on the first full day of screenings in time to catch the opening programme of the Unreal Asia strand. Occupying the festivals Theme strand, Unreal Asia consisted of 10 individual programmes curated by the Thailand based curators Gridthiya Gaweewong and David Teh. Assembled to reflect the contemporary practice in countries as diverse as Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam, the programme also sought to propose a series of questions or propositions for how the region of South East Asia can fruitfully be approached considering the divergent cultures, religions, languages and social and political history of an area whose grouping is a relic of British and later American military operations in the East.

Unreal Asia is the latest in a range of thematic programmes that distinguish Oberhausen from many festivals which rarely commit on this scale to such wide ranging thematic explorations. In recent years programmes have explored the parallels between European and American experimental film and their counterparts in the Soviet Union, looked at the middle east through the prism of Lebanon and reflections on successive conflicts and the relation of the cinema to the museum in the influential programme Kinomuseum. Unreal Asia proposed a similarly fascinating series of questions and proposals while also crucially presenting a wide range of work that is rarely if ever shown outside of the countries of origin.

The programmes presented many works by internationally established artists such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Emerald about traces in a defunct hotel in Bangkok and Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook's The Two Planet Series in which Thai farmers respond to European master paintings, Subodh Gupta's provocative performance video Pure (India, 1999), Ho Tzu Nyen's potted history the naming of Sinapore with Utama – Every Name In History is I and Dinh Q. Lê's three screen work exploring a farmers fascination with helicopters against the context of the Vietnam War. Such works were presented alongside documentaries and works produced by Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community groups often on the level of local activism.

The unnerving documentaries presented a remarkable affectation-free view of contemporary life, from the Vietnamese couple who run a dog-butchery in their back yard in Better Than Friends (Tuan Andrew Nguyen, 2003), to The Longest Day (Uruphong Raksasad, Thailand, 2005) which is a portrait of an old Thai woman bored with her life and waiting for death, and the disarmingly powerful Death In Jakarta (Ucu Agustin, Indonesia, 2006) which presents the routine procedures to handle the unidentified dead in the capital city. Another stand out filmmaker in Unreal Asia for me was Amir Muhammad, whose brilliant short films present the complex issues of cultural and political identity within Malaysia with a critical humour and lightness of touch which avoids didacticism in works such as Kamunting (2002) and and Checkpoint (2002).

Finally, to end this first post I'll mention the work of Japanese experimental and documentary filmmaker Matsumoto Toshio who was honoured at the festival with the largest retrospective of his work outside of Japan. Famous for his highly influential feature film Funeral Parade of Roses (Japan, 1969) both a key work of the Arts Theatre Guild and largely known as a key inspiration for Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. The sheer range of Matsumoto's work and his influential role as writer and lecturer is rarely known outside of Japan where he is along with Shuji Terayama the leading experimental film maker from the 1960s.

The real revelation of the season was the strength of his early documentary work such as the excellent Weavers of Nishijn (Japan, 1961) which depicts the traditional processes of fabric manufacturing that has existed in the region for years. Other early works included the wonderful industrial films Bicycle of Dream' (Japan, 1955) and Record of a Long White Line (Japan, 1960) whose surreal presentations of the bicycle and electrical industry including strange optical effects and camera tricks, met with utter confusion and rejection by their backers. The later work by Matsumoto was more familiar formal experiments with film ranging from his early psychedelic works such as Ecstasis: Kokotsu (Japan, 1969) and the three screen freak-out For My Crushed Right Eye (Japan 1968) to later video works such as the bizarre Mona Lisa (Japan, 1973) which superimposes Michelangelo's muse into a array of abstract landscapes and the more formal dissections of the frame in Yuragi: Sway (Japan, 1985). Mothers (Japan, 1967) was an utter anomaly, it is a globe trotting humanist and anti-war film, set to a poem by Shuji Terayama and depicts maternal relationships around the world from New York to Vietnam. For sheer audacity and unchecked ambition it couldn't be matched and providing a home for such maverick work has been a core of the festival since its inception and is one of its greatest pleasures.

30 April 2009

Turner Prize 2009

If you could nominate any artist working with film, video, animation for the Turner Prize who would it be?

This year's Turner Prize shortlist consists of a sculptor, a surrealist, a Lucy Skaer and a painter called Richard Wright (no relation to the curator of our Computer Baroque exhibition) - not a video artist in sight. Since Mark Leckey received the prize last year for his animation lecture Cinema in the Round, I wonder if this is some kind of backlash? For one, Jonathan Jones, Guardian critic and one of this year's judges, found all of last year's nominees decidedly dull it seems.

This got me thinking of a dream team Turner Prize shortlist of artists/filmmakers, as there is such a wealth of artists working with film in the UK - Clio Barnard, Ben Rivers, Wood and Harrison, David Shrigley (why has he never been nominated?), Sebastian Buerkner, Ann Course, Sarah Miles, Cory Arcangel, AL and AL (recent Liverpool Art Prize winners), Dryden Goodwin, Lindsay Seers, Jordan Baseman, Neeta Madahar...

So what do you think? If you could nominate who would it be? Comment below or email to info@animateprojects.org if you're shy.

A (film) history of the Turner Prize:
1994 - Willie Doherty was the first video artist to be nominated ten years after the award was launched
1996 - Douglas Gordon, creator of 24 Hour Psycho,was the first video artist to win
1997 - won by photographer and filmmaker Gillian Wearing
1998 - Sam Taylor-Wood and Tacita Dean were both nominated
1999 - Steve McQueen was awarded the prize, filmmakers Jane and Louise Wilson were also nominated
2001 - Isaac Julien nominated, a year of controversy as Martin Creed wins for conceptually animating a space in Work No. 227: The lights going on and off
2003 - Willie Doherty nominated for the second time
2004 - Jeremy Deller wins, all four nominated artists (Kutlug Ataman, Langlands and Bell, Yinka Shonibare, Jeremy Deller) use video and documentary to explore political themes
2005 - Darren Almond nominated for his four-screen installation If I Had You
2006 - Phil Collins nominated for his exploration of representations of reality
2007 - Zarina Bhimji nominated
2008 - Mak Leckey wins for his investigations into animating ideas and objects, Runa Islam nominated for her choreographed film installations

Image: David Shrigley

17 April 2009

Move It on 28 April

We'll be at Picture This in Bristol on 28 April, from 7.30pm, presenting Move It - discussion, drinks, drawing and a delightful screening.

Gary Thomas, Co-director of Animate Projects, will be discussing the process and practices of making drawings move with artists Mark Simon Hewis, Thomas Hicks, John Parry and Sarah Cox. Plus the audience will be invited to have a drink and take part in some drawing as well.

Move It is one event for the Drawing Exchange Festival, which takes place across Bristol 25 April-3 May.

Come join in the fun...

Image: Who I Am and What I Want, David Shrigley and Chris Shepherd

Computer Baroque - now online

We are proud to present Computer Baroque, curated by Richard Wright, online from 14 April to 7 July 2009.

Computer Baroque is a selection of defining works in the history of artists’ digital moving image, featuring computer animation pioneers: Karl Sims, Yoichiro Kawaguchi, William Latham, Beriou, John Tonkin, Chris Landreth, Peter Callas, Simon Biggs, Ruth Lingford, James Duesing, Paul Garrin, Shelley Lake, The Butler Brothers and Jason White & Richard Wright.

And there's a great accompanying essay by Richard Wright that explains his choice of films.

Artists wanted to push the computer as far as it would go, to create visual transformations that defied previous traditions, to blend image and music and text, to apply scientific ideas as new sources of inspiration. It created a strident kind of image that insisted on the fact of its own realisation, fleeting paeans to the artificial." Richard Wright.

Please feel free to feed back any comments you have about the exhibition here. Thanks.

Image: Heliocentrum, Jason White and Richard Wright

We recommend: The Politics in the Room/Evolving

A sort of graduation show for the first cohort of artists on the LUX Associate Artists Programme - a post-academic 12 month professional development course for artists working with the moving image - there are eight online works to view here.

And...LUX is showing four 'Darwin related' films from its collection, including a couple of Animate commissions, another film that we should have commissioned, and yet another by an artist we'd like to work with...

8 April 2009

Abandon Normal Devices - call for submissions

We are thrilled to have been working with FACT Liverpool on the Primitive project. The installation and cinema short get their UK premiere at FACT's Abandon Normal Devices festival in September...and their call for submission is live...deadline 7 May...

Poop! - call for dirty movies!

We love the Poopy Poopy Poopy song from Malcolm in the Middle,

And now, the London International Festival of Animation is looking for..well, not dirty films, but films that deal with the serious issues of sanitation. There's a £1,000 prize and the deadline is 15th May 2009.

The competition is run in collaboration with Poop - set up to promote, educate and facilitate a wider understanding of life’s basic necessities – principally sanitation and clean water.

Details here.

We recommend: Susan Collins - Seascape

An exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on England's south coast, and online here.

"a series of gradually unfolding digital seascapes created using imagery captured in real time by webcams installed at five key vantage points along the south coast between Margate and Portsmouth."

Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and the De La Warr Pavilion, Seascape is a brilliant, beautifully expanded work - about what the world is (now), where we are in the world..and where we're not!

We recommend: Garden Pieces at BFI Southbank, London

A wonderful welcome to Spring in these delightful programmes curated by artist filmmaker Peter Todd. A broad range of horticulturally connected works, in turn beautiful, quirky, dark, and generally mesmerising. Including Avant-garde classics, with some anthropological and early cinema diversions.

"With works from 100 years of cinema, and from Kenneth Anger, Bruce Baillie, Robert Beavers, Stan Brakhage, Rose Lowder, Percy Smith, and Margaret Tait amongst others."

14 April - 28 April 2009
More info, times, and booking here.

Image: Mothlight, Stan Brakhage

We recommend: Semiconductor's new film

Black Rain...it's awesome - "sourced from images collected by the twin satellite, solar mission, STEREO". The universe reimagined - or revealed - as a structuralist hallucinogenic spectacle thing. Eamesian Now.

31 March 2009

Animation Breakdown: Drawn to Life

The Animation Breakdown Weekend at Tate Modern has now been and gone. If you missed it never fear - the films from the Computer Baroque programme will be on animateprojects.org from mid-April and the Study Day presentations and Q&As will be online soon...

In the meantime, you can read the transcript of the presentation that Belgian curators María Palacios Cruz and Stoffel Debuysere gave at the Study Day, here on Stoffel's blog Diagonal Thoughts. The presentation focused on the Drawn to Life programme that Stoffel and Maria had previously shown at the Maison des Cultures Saint-Gilles, Brussels, in November 2008.

Image: i've got a guy running, Jonathon Kirk

19 March 2009

Animation Breakdown - "waging war for territory on information media"

Vital London lister kultureflash has posted a great write up on the Animation Breakdown weekend..witty, informed and astute...(scroll down to the Friday 20 March listing...)

One conspicuous region where negotiations are still taking place, borders are drawn and redrawn, boundaries blurred and sharpened, is that occupied by animation -- a field still reaching wildly off in all directions but with a unique capacity to both captivate and criticize. And you don't need an art degree (or three) to know when you like what you see.

We couldn't have put it better ourselves.

more here...(scroll down to the Friday 20 March listing...)

image: Eggy, Yoichiro Kawaguchi (showing in the Computer Baroque programme on Friday 20th)

10 March 2009

Animation Breakdown Weekend at Tate Modern - confirmed line up

It is getting close and we are getting very excited. Though of course there's Flatpack before then.

All the Animation Breakdown speakers are confirmed. And we've posted biogs to show how impressive the line up is. The day starts with a talk by Belgian curators Stoffel Debuysere and Maria Palacios Cruz, and they'll be interspersing words with films, including Kota Ezawa's The Simpson Verdict and Ken Jacobs' Capitalism : slavery.

The tapes and discs for the Computer Baroque screening programme are nearly all here - and John Witney's Victory Sausage is on its way from the Academy of Film Arts and Sciences no less...  And if you've never seen David Blair's seminar WAX or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees, now's the opportunity to rectify and even ask him a few questions.

Image: The City is No Longer Safe (Butler Brothers), showing in the Computer Baroque programme.

We recommend: Mariele Neudecker's Winterreise

Artprojx are presenting a rare opportunity to enjoy Winterreise (2003), a characteristically haunting and beautiful feature length film by Bristol based artist Mariele Neudecker - perhaps best known for her 'tank works'. It was made in collaboration with Opera North, with a Schubert song cycle as the soundtrack for 24 short films.

The screening is at 1pm, Monday, 30 March, at the Prince Charles Cinema, London WC2 (Artprojx's regular screening venue).  And it's the first in a new series of matinee screenings, which all seems very civilised to us.

Tickets are £8, £5 concessions/artists/curators (aren't we all...)

We recommend: Light Years Away

We are looking forward to Hilary Powell's film Light Years Away, which has its outdoor premiere next Wednesday, 18 March,6.30 - 8.30pm, under Archway Tower, by Archway tube station, London N19. It's one of what looks like an exemplary series of serious but engaging public site projects commissioned as part of the Archway Investigations and Responses programme.

Light Years Away is being shown where it was made - and there'll be a roller rink too.

You can see Hilary's film The Games here. Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw - not an easy man to please unless you're Peter Jackson - called it "a wacky, audacious, often rather beautiful comedy satirising Riefensthalian pomposity."  He's not wrong, and it augurs well for the new one.


26 February 2009

Guest Blogger: Rotterdam festival blog - jury and beyond, part two by George Clark

Phil Collins’ new film, zasto ne govorim srpski (na srpskom)/‘why I don’t speak Serbian (in Serbian) (UK/Kosova, 2008) originally made for the 55th Carnegie International, is a brilliant dissection of the politics of language in the former Yugoslavia. What starts as a theoretical enquiry in to the non-use of Serbian in Kosovo despite the fact that it was the main language for the generations brought up in Yugoslavia moves into an emotional register with a brilliant testimony Returning to footage Collin‘s short in Kosovo in 1999, the film is a brilliant examination of the politics of language and identity.

Various filmmakers made welcome returns to Rotterdam, including last years Tiger Award winner Ben Rivers with his beautifully crafted new film Origin of the Species (UK, 2008). Less productive in recent years the festival saw the welcome return of Joost Rekveld with #37 (Netherlands, 2009) his first film in many years and a suitably grand return from this master of abstract cinema.

With three programmes of shorts to watch each day interspersed with discussions with my fellow jurors there was little time for seeing many other works at the festival but I managed to take advantage of my gaps to catch up with Polish maverick director Jerzy Skolimowski - in particular his brilliant British films Deep End, The Shout and Moonlighting, all brilliant works in their own right and essential although overlook pieces of British cinema. As with fellow visiting filmmakers Antonioni and Polanski, Skolimoski perceives British culture in a way few of our own filmmakers rarely do - from the sexual politics that permeate a 70s public bath in Deep End (West Germany/UK, 1970), the paralyzing hospitality that fails to refuse even the most unwanted guest, in this instance a brilliant Alan Bates in The Shout (UK, 1978) and the petty hypocrisies of Thatcherite Britain seen in Moonlighting (UK, 1982), through the prism of polish workers in London in the early 80s, a remarkable picture of the experience of emigrant labour. His most recent film Four Nights With Anna (Poland, 2008), his first made in Poland in many years, is a remarkable near silent chamber piece about longing and reconciliation in a small village.

Other features I managed to catch included Austrian experimentalist Gustav Deutsch’s FILM IST. a girl & a gun (Austria, 2009) the third instalment of his FILM IST series reconceptualising archival footage, previously examining the use of film for science, fun fair and narrative. Here he looks at the role of violence and sex in the origins of cinema and collates amazing footage from around the world into powerful and ambiguous sequences. Unfortunately the flow is broken by intertitles largely drawn from ancient Greek poets and philosophers which at times gets in the way of the films own associative lyricism. The other feature that stood out for me was Lucrecia Martel’s La mujer sin cabeza / The Headless Woman (Argentina/Spain/France/Italy, 2008), an intense study of a woman suffering some sort of breakdown which goes totally unnoticed by those around here, reminiscing of work by Ingmar Bergman and Chantal Akerman. Highly ambiguous, the central performance by María Onetto is the blank centre of the film, propped up and kept in motion by those around her.

The festival also presented two exhibitions and a series of films specially commission for large outdoor screens dotted around the city. There was marked reduction in the number and scale of the exhibitions this year. The two main exhibitions were Haunted House presenting work from South East Asian artists and filmmakers in relation to ghosts, spirits and haunting by artists such as Lav Diaz (Philippines), Garin Nugroho (Indonesia) and Wisit Sasanatieng (Thailand) was curated by Gertjan Zuilhof and presented in the old photographic museum of Rotterdam, now relocated to the South of the city; and Aspect Ratio in the TENT. exhibition space, curated by Edwin Carrels, presented a range of work around the focal point of Ray and Charles Eames classic short film Powers of Ten (USA, 1977) which zooms out from a picnicking couple in a park into the cosmos and then reverses to zoom into a micro scale in the mans hand. A brilliant film and ideal focal point for a collection of work exploring scale, order and chaos by artists and filmmakers including Morgan Fisher, Simon Starling and Roman Ondák.

The reduction of the exhibition programme and dropping of the Artists in Focus section of the festival - all key distinguishing facets of the festival in the past - seems to be a strange development, particularly given the new directors background in the art world, as curator at Rotterdam‘s Witte de With gallery and director of Stichting Beeldende Kunst Middelburg (De Vleeshal). Anyway it is still to be seen what direction the festival takes and some trimming and refining of its direction is defiantly to be welcomed as the festival has been slightly adrift in recent years and has not always appeared to be on top of its own programme. The festivals great enthusiasm for cinema in all shapes and sizes lends the festival a slightly chaotic air which in turn is one of its many charms - so I’m looking forward to a new direction but hopefully not too much tidying up!

Amidst this vortex of films, people and events, the jury represented an island of calm. It was great getting to know the other jurors and trying to find common ground among the many films we all watched together. With three totally different perspectives both in terms of our interests but also culture, deciding on the final three films to award took us almost a whole day. After long discussions and re-watched various films we finally came to amicable decision of the three prize winners which we were all very happy with. The winners were:

  • Duncan Campbell for his extraordinary portrait/anti-portrait of Bernadette Devlin, Bernadette (UK, 2008)
  • Beatrice Gibson for her complex melding of music, recorded voice and social document in A Necessary Music (UK, 2008) and
  • Galina Myznikova and Sergey Provorov’s for their deadpan absurdist landscape film Despair (Russia, 2009).
It’s sort of strange seeing the three winners isolated from the context of the competition and the festival, but I cherish all three films for different reasons.

23 February 2009

Guest Blogger: Rotterdam festival blog - jury and beyond, part one by George Clark

After missing the film festival in Rotterdam last year, I was looking forward to attending again in 2009 any way I could. In the midst of figuring out how I was going to get there and where to stay I got an email inviting me to be on the jury for the Tiger Awards for Short Film. Surprised and flattered I quickly accepted before realising that I was committing myself to. The entire short film competition consists of 29 films each running anything up to 60 minutes long spread over nine individual programmes. As the first time I’d been invited to be on a jury and at Rotterdam, a festival I have attending since 2000, I was happy to watch whatever they had selected.

Competition programmes at festivals - which usually consist of a selection of titles from everything a festival shows - can often suffer from striving to be representative of all types of work produced, representing bad works at times seems to be part of this politically correct strategy! One of the most interesting things about festivals is their ability to champion and find a space for their own take on film culture, to create for a week or two a cinematic utopia where the wealth of moving image culture is not governed by the normal logistical and financial pressures of running a cinema. Often the specific character of a festival is best expressed through their special thematic strands or focuses on certain filmmakers or regions. In this regard Rotterdam is one of the most interesting festivals in the world, willing to change its format to reflect what its many programmes believe is important about moving image culture each year. Festival competition, as the most general part of a festival, can often be a stumbling block where the identity and direction of the festival is lost in a too broad selection of work, with films shoehorned into uncomfortable collections in order to fill out the required 90 minute.

Thankfully IFFR’s strong individualism and independent character permeated the nine competition programmes at this years festival - each was filled with striking, challenging works form a wide range of filmmakers. The festival presented each work individually often stopping between to talk to attending filmmakers which broke up the programmes and allowed each film to stand as an individual work. The competition consisted of works nominated by Rotterdam’s various programmers from all areas of the festival, presenting work from young to established filmmakers, from gallery artists to experimental filmmakers. On the jury with me was Tan Chui Mui, a celebrated Malaysian filmmaker whose first feature Love Conquers All (Malaysia, 2006) won a Tiger Award when it showed at Rotterdam in previous years and Maria Pallier who produces the amazing Spanish television programme Metropolis - which was recently celebrated with an exhibition at the Cornerhouse in Manchester.

In recent years with changes of director the festival has seemed to be unsure what direction to take. This edition marked the first under the confirmed leadership of Dutch director Rutger Wolfson who co-directed the festival last year on what was then a temporary basis. With time to prepare Rutger has shaped the festival with a new simplified structure of three sections which include features, shorts and performances and exhibitions under the banners Spectrum, Bright Future and Signals. Since 2005 the short film section has been lead by Peter van Hoof who has focused the short film screenings into the first half of the festival, successfully creating an intimate atmosphere within the broader festival - the Lantern and Venster venue acting as unofficial hub making it easy to bump into filmmakers, artists, curators, distributors and festival programmes for a beer or for a quick hello in the mad dash between screenings. The festival liberally defines short films as any work under 60 minutes in length - partly in response to the fact that the Tiger for feature films can be given to anything over 60 minutes - a clear sighted way to define ‘short’, a arbitrary category at the best of times and give room to filmmakers work rather than dictate what form it should take.

There were too many interesting films to go into in detail here but my particular favourites from the short competition included Deborah Stratman's O’er the land (USA, 2008) a brilliant study of American notions of freedom, the land and man’s relationship with machines. Constructed with brilliantly composed often static shots and intermittently narrated, the film builds an idiosyncratic portrait of America. At the other end of the spectrum was Jim Trainor’s virtuoso animation The Presentation Theme (USA, 2008) which builds a perverse narrative inspired by artefacts the ancient pre-Inca Peruvian culture, called the Moche. Beautifully drawn and made with sublime roughness, from the lazy animation to the over emphatic organ soundtrack and condescending but hypnotic narration. Block B by Chris Chong Chan Fui (Malaysia/Canada, 2008) consists of just two long takes of the same housing block in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, one in day time and one at night, the inhabitants visible as dots on the various walkways. The films power comes from its effortless orchestration of activity on the various floors of the tower block which our attention is subtly drawn to my the excellent sound design by Yasuhiro Morinaga. What at first appears to be a purely observed shot emerges as an intricately timed series of actions realised with an incredible attention to detail and more than a stop of good luck - especially in a magical moment when a shawl is dropped from one walkway only to land on a banister eight floors down.

To be continued...

20 February 2009

Matt Hulse in Cornwall

No, that's not a picture of Matt, but it does bear a fleeting resemblance. Matt is in Cornwall on a residency, editing a feature (no less) length film about a walk. A long walk. Check it out here: anormalboy.wordpress.com/

18 February 2009

Phantoms of Nabua - a new film by Apichatpong Weerasethakul

We are very pleased to announce the premiere of a new film by Thai artist and filmmakers Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Phantoms of Nabua (2009, 9'45") was commissioned and made specifically for online and you can see it here

It is part of Primitive, a multi-platform project commissioned by Haus der Kunst Munich, FACT Liverpool, and Animate Projects. And produced by Illuminations Films London with Kick the Machine, Bangkok.

16 February 2009

The Films of Jeff Keen at the BFI

The work of British experimental artist Jeff Keen is being celebrated in a season at the BFI Southbank, London, from 17 to 27 February. Keen has been making experimental films over the last 40 years, experimenting with multi-screen presentations, visceral soundtracks and brutal animation techniques. For an idea of what you can expect, check out Keen's Marvo Movie, 1967, here.

11 February 2009

Guest Blogger: Stephen Irwin on Clermont-Ferrand

My Animate Projects film, The Black Dog’s Progress, was selected for the Lab Competition in this year’s Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival so I went along for a couple of days to see what goes on at a festival of this scale.

Two days definitely wasn’t enough time to see the huge amount of work on show. Luckily there isn’t much else to do in Clermont-Ferrand (other than the festival it’s also famous for being the home of the Michelin tire company), so I spent most of my time in the many screening rooms and cinemas and managed to squeeze in dozens of short films.

I mainly stuck to the Lab Competition after I’d been warned against the National Competition by a veteran of the festival who wasn’t too kind about the usual selection of French films each year. As it turned out I didn’t have time anyway. There was more than enough in the five Lab programmes and in the couple of other special programmes I fitted in.

For the most part I sought out animated films that I hadn’t seen yet or had only viewed on Vimeo/YouTube. It reminded me how rarely I watch short films with hundreds of other people in the cinema. Watching shorts has become a solitary experience and one that I have control over; if I don’t like something I can skip through it or move on to the next thing, and alternatively if I love it I can play it again and again.

I was particularly keen to see Muto by Blu on the big screen after watching it repeatedly on Vimeo and it didn’t disappoint (and it quite rightly went on the win the Grand Prix in the Lab Competition).

Other inspiring animations included Stand Up by Joseph Pierce which was uncomfortable to watch and contained some of the most beautifully animated ugly images I’ve seen in ages. The same programme also included Inukshuk by Camillevis Thery. Something so detailed and perfectly animated can only be appreciated fully when projected (and even better from a 35mm print).

Also memorable was Rabbit Punch by Kristian Andrews and Cartographie 9 – La Boule d’Or by Bruno Deville, a live-action film about a bowling club and a team of pensioners which I thought was a documentary but according to the programme notes is fiction.

The quality of the films in competition was extremely high (even the ones I didn’t like), and each programme was very well put together. I thought I saw themes running through each programme but Calmin Borel who works on the Lab Competition told me that they just make sure there is a good mixture of genre, subject matter and length. They construct a programme based on the idea that it might be the only one that particular audience will see.

What impressed me the most about the festival was the size of the audiences. I arrived towards the end of the festival and all the screenings were still selling out. You have to arrive in good time and queue for at least twenty minutes to ensure you get a seat. At a couple of screenings there were even some people who couldn’t get in and were turned away.

It was nice to see several hundred people queuing up in the Maison de la Culture on Saturday afternoon to get into the Lab 4 screening that included my film, and for it to play to a packed auditorium. Plus the quality of the projection and sound was perfect which was a relief. There is obviously a lot of time and money spent on organising the festival and making sure it runs smoothly. It was a great experience to be part of it in some small way and if I get the opportunity to go again it’ll definitely be for longer.


Image: Clermont-Ferrand, Stephen Irwin (click on the image to see it full-size)

Guest Blogger: Clermont-Ferrand travel diary by Tal Rosner

Hello! I've just come back from Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival and was asked to write a short blog entry about it - so - here we go.

This year was the first time I visited the Festival, an extremely well-organised week, with numerous screenings in multiple venues. I arrived on the 5th day so was only there for the last part of the festival. The 3 main competitive sections were the National (France), International and Labo (Lab). My AnimateTV 2008 film, Without You, was featured in one of the 5 Labo Programmes (L2), which were all screened daily (in different venues and different times). As a spectator, I focused on the Labo screenings, which are the place to see new experimental stuff from around the world.

I found a huge variety in the material that was chosen for Labo screenings: from hand-drawn, slightly more traditional animation, via crazy CGI stuff to documentaries with no animation at all. The lengths of the individual films also varied a lot in the programmes (from 3 to 30 minutes).

Leaving my favourite films aside for a minute (I’ll get to them later) - a question that kept on surfacing during my trip to the festival, and in over-dinner discussions with the lovely Jane and Lindy (who saved the day - thank you!) was - how do you define a film as 'experimental'? Is it the fact that you haven't seen anything like it before? And if so, doesn't the definition of 'experimental' become a subjective matter?

As all of us see things with reference to the different collection of things we've seen in the past - maybe something that looks 'experimental' to person A would actually be something that person B has seen many times before. Also - does 'experimental' necessarily mean experimental in technique (i.e. the way the images are drawn, photographed or manipulated - 'imagery'), or is there perhaps another level of experimentation, which is the grammar (i.e. the way thing are constructed on the timeline - 'form'). Perhaps I'm being biased to my own interests and agenda, but I felt there wasn't enough of the latter – to me it is mandatory.

All in all though, it was an extremely positive experience. The "Film Market" was also quite fun to go through. It felt like there was a huge amount of very keen people from around the globe and that they were all there together to keep things moving in good and right directions.

My favourites (and all things I personally haven't seen the like before!) were:

REISE ZUM WALD by Jorn Staeger (Germany). A very well-edited visual essay about the German myth of trees. Crazy journey from close ups to timelapse to satellite shots exploring one simple visual motif in an extremely elegant way.

MURO by Tião (Brazil). A short film with a poetic and sometimes violent sense of film grammar, cuts and juxtapositions between 'real' and more symbolic/surreal scenes (imagine Dali in Brazil circa 2008 - but on film).

by Michael Langan (US). Very hyped American short, might not be coherent throughout but very interesting structurally and includes a shot of man dancing a waltz with a car, which was unforgettable.

Thanks for reading

Image: Clermont-Ferrand, Tal Rosner. For more images visit our flickr

6 February 2009

transmediale 09 prize...

We are thrilled to report that Tantalum Memorial, by Graham Harwood, Richard Wright and Matsuko Yokokoji, has deservedly won first prize at this year's transmediale festival in Berlin.

A "telephony-based memorial to the people who have died as a result of the “coltan wars” in the Congo", the installation was shown at the Science Museum in London last year. It is very powerful stuff.

We're also very pleased to be working with Richard on the Computer Baroque programme that we're showing as part of the Animation Breakdown weekend - and it looks likely that we'll be able to present some of the films online too later this year.

5 February 2009

Wysing now postponed

Just an update on the talk that Gary was supposed to be giving at the Wysing Arts Centre tonight: unfortunately we have had to postpone as there are major problems on the trains today and we can't get to Cambridge.

Sorry about that, but it will be rescheduled sometime soon.

4 February 2009

Animate Projects is animated at Wysing

Thursday 5 February, 6-8pm
Wysing Arts Centre, Bourn, CB23

As part of the public event series of Wysing Arts Contemporary: Animated, our very own co-Director, Gary Thomas, will be giving a talk on 5 February.

Animated is the first exhibition in the Wysing Arts Contemporary series. An exploration of the everyday by artists working and performing in vigorous and dynamic ways. The works explore notions of energy, movement, imagination and memory. The artists featured are: Jo Addison, Julie Brenot, Matt Cook, Sarah Evans, Simon Liddiment, Anne-Mie Melis, Alex Pearl and Simon Woolham, who made 3 short films for our Stop. Watch. art and ecology project last year.

Animated runs from 18 January to 1 March 2009.

30 January 2009

AnimateTV 2008 is back on the telly

The hour long AnimateTV programme that was first broadcast in September 2008 is back on the TV - for one night only.

The programme, featuring all 7 films and interviews with the artists, is being repeated on Channel 4 on Monday night (2 February) at 12.20am and will be followed later on by Tim Hope's 2004 AnimateTV film Minema Cinema at 1.35am.

Michael Aubtin Madadi, creator of Tear Drops Blossom, has even done a nice drawing here to celebrate the repeat.

Image: Damaged Goods, Barnaby Barford

22 January 2009

Putting Viewers First

This is a report from the UK's media regulator, Ofcom, on the future of public service broadcasting, and it matters to us because we a) work with Channel 4 and b) consider animateprojects.org as a form of public service broadcasting...  and Arts Council England's submission did indeed encourage the view that "publicly funded media ‘content’ such as the work Arts Council England funds (is) public service broadcasting and media

John Wyver articulates our own concerns succinctly on his blog - the report really sticks it to 'arts broadcasting', asserting how the public rated the arts on television as a low priority. But what were the questions exactly? The report refers to 'the arts and classical music' - and if that was how the question was put, I'm sure people might well think how they download all the classical music they need and they don't watch opera on tv...so...score it low. But would people think how that funky AnimateTV programme they saw last night that was right up their alley was an arts programmes, so yes, they're a priority. It's grim - it's surely skewed evidence - but it's evidence for tv bosses to use against us! grrrrrrr.

The report also lumps together the arts with religion. Jesus Christ.

20 January 2009

Animation Breakdown Weekend at Tate Modern

We are very excited to be working with Tate Modern on a weekend of screenings and discussion that will" explore the relationships between drawing, moving image, and the influence of digital technologies". Though I keep on calling it 'Animate Breakdown', which isn't sending out the right signals at all...

On 21 March, the Animation Breakdown Study Day will kick off with an illustrated talk by Brussels based curators Stoffel Debuysere and Maria Palacio Cruz. Artist panels will focus on drawing, photographic and digital practice. Confirmed participants include: Simon Faithfull, Ann Course, Dryden Goodwin and Emily Richardson. International artists attending include Joshua Mosley (USA) and Samba Fall (Senegal/Norway). The sessions will be chaired by curator Angela Kingston, Steven Bode (Director, Film and Video Umbrella) and David Chandler (Director, Photoworks).

On Friday 20 and Saturday 21 there are two 'Computer Baroque' screenings, curated by Richard Wright. Short Films on the Friday - a selection of defining works in the history of artists’ digital moving image that represent a period in which computer animation was the focus for the most audacious and exuberant experiments across all areas of new media, art and technology. The programme includes rarely seen works by Karl Sims, William Latham, Paul Garrin, Tamas Waliczky, Ruth Linford, Shelley Lake and James Duesing.

And on Saturday, a rare screening of WAX, or The Discovery of Television Among the Bees (David Blair, USA/Germany, 1991) - one of the earliest examples of how to use inexpensive, digital production methods, including computer animation by the now well-known media theorist Lev Manovich. Blair constructs a long-form, hallucinatory narrative that ties together the first Gulf War, flight simulators, psychic research...and bee keeping. Followed by a Q&A with David Blair.

Booking information and online booking here.

We'll be updating the programme here.

Organised by Animate Projects and Tate Modern in association with the Animation Department at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London and The Drawing Room Gallery. Supported by Arts Council England.

The image is from Time Tear by Sebastian Buerkner.

14 January 2009

Flatpack Festival 09

We've been invited by the good folk at 7 Inch Cinema to put together a panel event for this year's Flatpack. So Animate Projects will be presenting 'Flipping Heck', featuring top talent Mark Simon Hewis, Stephen Irwin, Thomas Hicks and Suky Best on Friday 13 March.

Seems that the students and alumni of Birmingham City University are already looking to Stephen Irwin's film The Black Dog's Progress for inspiration for their shop window displays.

There's also, a special screening of Lorenzo Fonda’s documentary about Italian street artist Blu, Jim le Fevre will be rocking his Phonographantasmascope (turning record players into zoetropes), plus there'll be children's workshops, early cinema screenings and much, much more. And the special guests this year are David O'Reilly and Guy Sherwin.

Flatpack Festival brings an array of filmic delights to Birmingham from 11 to 15 March 2009.

Image: Unicycle Film, production still, Thomas Hicks

12 January 2009

British Animation: The Channel 4 Factor - event this Thursday

Author event with Clare Kitson
Clare Kitson -Channel 4 commissioning editor responsible for animation from 1989 to 1999, and author of this excellent book is doing an illustrated talk at Pages of Hackney Bookshop this Thursday, 15 January. It starts at 7pm, costs £3, and you get a glass of wine as well.

Pages of Hackney
70 Lower Clapton Road, Clapton, London E5 0RN
Tel: 0208 525 1452

More information about the book here.

9 January 2009

Tear Drops Blossom on the Great Wall

In December, Michael Aubtin Madadi had the pleasure of seeing his AnimateTV 2008 film, Tear Drops Blossom, projected onto the Great Wall of Oakland, a 100ft high wall in the centre of the City of Oakland, California. Michael has added some photos here to his blog that show how fantastic the film looks projected on such a large scale on a dark December night.

Image: Tear Drops Blossom on the Great Wall, © Michael Aubtin Madadi

8 January 2009

The return of the projector with teeth

The 6th London Short Film Festival returns on Friday 9 January.

For 10 days, some of London's finest screening venues, including BAFTA, Shunt Vaults and Roxy Bar & Screen, will be hosting the best new music videos, documentaries, horror films and panel events.

The Festival opens at the ICA on Friday 9 January, 7.30pm, with a jam packed evening: DJ set by girl group Pens, live set by Midnight Expresso, visuals by Mr Hand By Hand and the premiere of the 3 Festival trailers funded by Vauxhall, directed by Lucia Helenka, Xanthe Hamilton & Michael Pearce, and Ben Slotover. Plus there's even a film screening of Lo-Budget Mayhem Shorts in the ICA Cinema 1 at 11pm (for tickets, see the ICA website).

On 18 January, you can catch The Black Dog's Progress and The Life Size Zoetrope on the big screen in the Leftfield + Luscious programme, 4.30pm, ICA Cinema 1 , in a collection of innovative and abstract new films; one of which will be awarded the Wallflower Press Award for best experimental film.

See you there?

Image: The Black Dog's Progress, Stephen Irwin