‘The Untold Story of Brain Injury’ by Jess Mountfield

Jess Mountfield‘s short animated documentary titled ‘The Untold Story of Brain Injury’ collaborates with Emilia Clarke’s charity Same You to give a voice to those who have been affected by traumatic brain injury. Mountfield reached out to the brain injury community and recorded their stories, editing over 30 voices into ‘one cohesive tapestry’.

​Mountfield uses more limited visuals in order to give more emphasis to the voices and stories used in the film, while also making use of visual metaphor shards and deconstructed shapes. The painterly textures give a sense of movement and texture, bringing further life to the narration. ‘The Untold Story of Brain Injury’ also complements a report of the same name, which is illustrated by Jess Mountfield and highlights the missing emotional and mental health recovery services essential for brain injury recovery.

Read the report here.

Watch the film below:

Click here to read more about the film.

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‘Living with Depression’ by Anna Ginsburg

Anna Ginsburg’s ”Living with Depression’ visually interprets the experiences of two people giving their personal accounts of experiencing depression. The 2D hand-drawn animation style is expressive, each frame is detailed and full of life, yet beautifully encompasses the struggle of living with depression.

Ginsberg has a certain quality with all of her films which is very open and honest. ‘Living with Depression’ is no different as she aims to portray the aspects of depression which can’t be easily explained to those who do not experience it. The use of animation gives a visual to the interview narration and brings it to life in an engaging way.

The film was also the winner of the DepicT! award in 2012.

Watch ‘Living with Depression’ below:

‘Life, Animated’ by Roger Ross Williams

Still from ‘Life, Animated’

Roger Ross Williams‘ feature film ‘Life, Animated’ is based on the book ‘Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism‘ by Ron Suskind, which tells the story of his son, Owen, and his experience with autism. At the age of three, Owen became non-verbal but Suskind and his wife soon came to understand that Owen would use Disney animated movies as a way to connect and communicate with the world.

The film is comprised of the Suskind family’s home video clips, present-day interviews, and animation. Disney animation is a huge part of Owen Suskind’s life, and the animation in ‘Life, Animated’ has echoes of movies we know such as ‘The Jungle Book’ or ‘The Little Mermaid’. The fluid movements and expressive characters also have an organic, hand-drawn element to them which brings the animation closer to reality. The colourless palette also lends further emphasis to the real-life interviews and recordings which are included in the film, putting Owen and the story he has to tell at front and centre. Allowing Owen to share his own story was William’s main concern, “All too often in films about people with disabilities, the narrative gets taken away from them.”

The trailer gives us a glimpse into this personal and heartfelt film, and the insight it give us into the lives of those like Owen who struggle to understand and connect with the world around them in a conventional way.

Watch the trailer below:

Click here to purchase the full film on Amazon.

Celebrating Black History Month: ‘Black Enuf*’ by Carrie Hawks

Still from the ‘black enuf*’ trailer

Carrie Hawks‘ (they/them) is a gender non-conforming artist, designer, animator and filmmaker based in New York, US. They work with a wide span of media and methods of making such as performance, doll-making, drawing, animation, motion graphic design and multimedia design.

Hawks’ film titled ‘Black Enuf*’ explores expanding Black identity by interweaving personal stories from their great grandmother’s autobiography, interviews with friends and family, and hand-drawn visualisations of their own memories. The 22 minute film offers a mix of media and is experimental in style; it uses hand-drawn elements alongside scanned textures and digital artwork.

Hawks summaries the film as follows : ‘A queer oddball seeks approval from Black peers despite a serious lack of Hip-Hop credentials’ (via).

Watch the trailer:

Rent (£3.04) or buy (£5.17) the film on vimeo.

Visit Carrie’s studio virtually:

Celebrating Black History Month: ‘Yellow Fever’ by Ng’endo Mukii

Still from ‘Yellow Fever’

‘I am interested in the concept of skin and race, and what they imply; the ideas and theories sown into our flesh that change with the arc of time’ – Ng’endo Mukii (via)

Ng’endo Mukii holds a Master of Arts from the Royal College of Art (2012) in London, and a Bachelor of Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design (2006), USA. She is an award-winning filmmaker and is currently Professor of Practice at Tufts University, School of the Museum of Fine Arts. She is a writer on Netflix’s Mama K’s Team 4 series, and is one of 10 directors selected for the upcoming Disney+ and Triggerfish animated anthology, Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire.

Mukii describes ‘Yellow Fever’ as an exploration of the international fashion and beauty industry and it’s racist hierarchy. Her focus is the impact this has on the psyche of African women:

‘I believe skin and the body are often distorted into a topographical division between reality and illusion. The idea of beauty has become globalised, creating homogenous aspirations and distorting people’s self-image across the planet. In my film, I focus on African women’s self-image, through memories and interviews, using mixed media to describe this almost schizophrenic [sic] self-visualisation that I and many others have grown up with.’ (via)

Still from ‘Yellow Fever’

Watch ‘Yellow Fever’:

Celebrating Black History Month: ‘Hold Tight’ by Jessica Ashman

Still from ‘Hold Tight’

“‘Hold Tight’ explores the importance of Carnival across the UK and how it’s celebrations provide an important lifeline to heritage and identity for younger generations of the Black Caribbean diaspora in Britain. It is a journey into the feeling of belonging, through the rituals of Carnival attendance and the power of bass.” – (via)

Ashman’s short animated documentary is a 2018 film which attempts to connect Caribbean people to their heritage, and celebrate London’s diversity. Using spoken word narration and hand-drawn 2D animation, layered with pixilation, Ashman illustrates the vibrancy of Carnival.

Still from ‘Hold Tight’

‘Hold Tight’ was part of a six-part series of micro-animated films titled ‘Untold Tales’. The project was commissioned by Anim18 and Animate Projects with the aim of creating films which would explore Britain’s culturally diverse communities.

Approximately a minute in length, the film has a vibrant aesthetic. The shaking lines echo the sound of the carnival bass, the mix of hand-drawn animation and pixilation footage gives a collage feel, further emphasizing the filmmaker’s personal relationship to the subject.

Watch ‘Hold Tight’:

Keep up to date with Jessica’s work:

Twitter

Instagram

Her official website

Celebrating Black History Month: ‘Childhood Memories’ by Mary Martins

Still from ‘Childhood Memories’

‘Our earliest childhood memories, often episodic, are one of our most intimate experiences’ – Mary Martins (via)

Mary Martins is a London-based animator and filmmaker. She is experimental in her practice, attempting to push boundaries of animated documentary and explore innovative new ways to portray reality. Martins was the 2017 winner of the Procreate Project Mother Art Prize and her films have been screened at multiple festivals around the world.

Commissioned by BFI and BBC4, ‘Childhood Memories’ by Mary Martins is a multi-layered film which utilises stop-motion and 2D digital animation, as well as 16mm colour film footage from 1970s Lagos, Nigeria. This autobiographical short explores childhood memories and cultural backgrounds.

Still from ‘Childhood Memories’

Martin’s reflected upon the starting point for the film, linking it to her earliest child hood memory: “… when I accompanied my mother to Lagos, Nigeria in 1987. I was 4 years old. I was too young to remain in London with my Father and my two older sisters.” (via)

Watch ‘Childhood Memories’ here. (Available only in the UK)

Celebrating Black History Month: ‘Life on the Move’ by Osbert Parker

Still from ‘Life On The Move’

Osbert Parker‘s short animated film ‘Life On The Move’ is a collaborative production which explores the complexities of immigration by using real life experiences and research. The stop-motion animation plays alongside a script created by two researchers who conducted interviews with migrants, refugees and returnees in Somaliland.

‘Life On The Move’ is innovative in the way that it explores how artists and researchers can collaborate to generate knowledge that can reach wider audiences about complex issues such as immigration. The film makes this information and these testimonials more accessible to public audiences, and the team worked with the aim of inspiring more researchers to collaborate with artists.

“It illustrates how complex research findings can be disseminated in a clear and accessible style suitable for many public audiences. Visualising internal and external migration routes, it disrupts mainstream media coverage of migration as a problem, presenting a more holistic narrative.” – (via)

Still from ‘Life On The Move’

The figures used in the stop-motion sequence are all based on 3D scans of real actors from a variety of backgrounds to reflect differing cultures, focusing especially on unique facial features. Over 1800 individual images were used in the film to create the smooth animation. The film was a collaborative project which also involved PositiveNegatives, the Migration Leadership Team, artist Karrie Fransman and, of course, animator Osbert Parker. Research and field work was funded by the International Organisation For Migration.

The film was the winner of the ‘best social media short’ at AHRC Film Awards in 2019.

The film can be viewed on Vimeo via this link.

Celebrating Black History Month

Still from ‘Childhood Memories’ by Mary Martins

Here at animateddocumentary.com, we want to celebrate Black History Month by highlighting some excellent animated documentaries by Black filmmakers and animators. Some of these films have been posted on the blog before, and some are brand new!

Each Monday this October we will share an animated documentary by a different Black filmmaker, four from here in the UK and one from the USA. We’d also love to hear about any of your favourite films by Black creators so feel free to share in the comments below.

The United Kingdom’s Black History Month was founded more than 30 years ago, in 1987, to recognise the contributions made by people of African and Caribbean backgrounds in the UK. Today, however, the remit of the project has expanded to include the history of Black people from all backgrounds. You can read more about Black History Month on bbc.co.uk.

Be sure to check out the official website for Black History Month in the UK, here.

Still from ‘Hold Tight’ by Jessica Ashman

#polish_women_resistance by students from the Lodz Film School

Still from #polish_women_resistance film

This animated documentary by students from the Lodz Film School in Poland is a protest film which protests the Polish government’s implementation of a stricter abortion law in October 2020. This film was brought to our attention by Thomas Martinelli, who interviewed two of the students and published an article over at Global Il Manifesto. We wanted to highlight here at animateddocumentary.com in light of the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States only last month.

#polish_women_resistance is a powerful piece which is made up of a multitude of voices. Many male and female students from Lodz Film School contributed to the 8-minute short film, and you can definitely see the distinct styles through the piece. Despite the variety of animated segments, the film is very cohesive. The black and red colours throughout are bold and striking, and the music by Pim Lekler gives a sense of urgency.

Martinelli’s article goes into further detail about the motivations and impact of the film, and explores how animation can be impactful when used to as a tool in social issues.

Read the full article by Thomas Martinelli here.

Watch the film below: