‘Nautilus’ Science Connected

Nautilus is an online magazine which features weekly Science topics and explores them through a variety of media including essays, blogs, animation and videos. They feature numerous animated documentaries or live action docs with animated segments on exemplary scientists and their contribution to the world of science knowledge.

Nautilus lets science spill over its usual borders. We are science, connected.’

http://spark.nautil.us/

 

Advertisements

Yellow Fever by Ng’endo Mukii: animation & representation

 wsi-imageoptim-Yellow-fever-790x500

Documentary animator Ng’endo Mukii on Facebook uses animation to challenge hegemonic representation.

She has written on and spoken about her use of animation to document and explore personal histories and identity, on ideals of beauty, and on the problematic representation of indigenous people through traditional documentary.

Mukii recently published a follow up to this final talk in Bright Magazine, in an article titled: National Geographic’s Photography Erased People. It’s Too Late For An Apology.

Mukii’s work rose to international attention with Yellow Fever, her award-winning graduation film, made at the Royal College of Art in London, which you can watch below.


Yellow Fever from Ng’endo Mukii on Vimeo.

Jan Nåls writing on ‘A Kosovo Fairytale’ by Anna-Sofia Nylund, Samantha Nell, Mark Middlewick

A new online journal, the International Journal of Film and Media Arts, launched this year with a special issue dedicated to animated documentary. The articles in Vol 1 can be viewed online, and offer some valuable insights into the field. They include Drawing the Unspeakable – Understanding ‘the other’ through narrative empathy in animated documentary, by Jan Nåls.

Nåls uses A Kosovo Fairytale (2009), an educational film project for which he acted as a supervisor, as a case study to explore how the use of combined animation and live action can encourage empathy for a documentary’s subject. The film tells the story of a family who were forced to leave their youngest child in Kosovo, seeking safety as refugees in Finland.

A Kosovo Fairytale

A Kosovo Fairytale

In the article Nåls discusses documentary within the historically ethically problematic field of ethnography, noting that “documentary representation is fundamentally informed by the challenges of inter- and multi-cultural encounters since it always entails a dialogue between a film-maker and a subject that exists in the world outside of the narrative – a person, a community or a culture.” He views animated documentary as a valuable tool within contemporary ethnography, which can be used to bring breadth and depth to representation of ‘the other’.

A Kosovo Fairytale was made by five exchange students from Africa and Europe. It combines roughly-made animation with live action footage of a Skype call. The lo-fi look of both the animated and live action sections means that the film’s aesthetic is consistent throughout. Nåls notes that although animation is traditionally an expensive and time-consuming process, it is possible to produce a film such as A Kosovo Fairytale on a very low budget and in a very limited timescale (the film was made in less that three months), and for the film to still be successful and well received in some exhibition contexts. In a tradition familiar to animated documentary and famously used by Tim Webb in his groundbreaking A is for Autism (1992), the characters in A Kosovo Fairytale are presented as figures hand-drawn by the real life subjects, and this integration of the participatory self-portrait helps to justify the rough-around-the-edges aesthetic style.

A is for Autism

A is for Autism

Nåls believes that the combination of animation and live action footage can create a particular empathetic response in the viewer. The animation allows an audience to relate to what is being shown as a universal human story. Nåls believes that much of the specificity and complexity of the situation being portrayed is negated through the use of iconic, “naive and minimalistic” characters and backgrounds. In contrast, book-ending the film with stark live action footage reminds us that this is in fact a very specific story; it is not a fairytale, and it has no happy ending. Nåls relates this to the Brechtian concent of Verfremdung – alienation or distancing which disrupts audience immersion in a story, highlighting construction and challenging the viewer to question the action. He sees the combination of live action and animation in documentary as “a technique of alienation… also a technique of persuasion, a way of convincing the audience of the authenticity of the story.”

Nåls mentions the “unique quality of animated non-fiction as a medium to represent traumatic events”, which has also been written about in detail by scholars such as Annabelle Honess Roe. He believes that the juxtaposition of live action and animation can be particularly effective in evoking traumatic experience, a technique also used to great effect in the final scene of Waltz with Bashir.

While many of the concepts put forward in Nåls’ essay have been discussed in existing scholarship, his use of A Kosovo Fairytale as a case study provides a useful lens through which to explore the ideas in practical terms. His thoughtful exposure of the nuts and bolts of the production process behind the film adds an extra layer of meaning to the viewing of it.

A Kosovo Fairytale from Anna-Sofia Nylund on Vimeo.

Vol 1 No 1 of the International Journal of Film and Media Arts also includes work by Paul Ward, Annabelle Honess Roe, Filipe Costa Luz, Pedro Serrazina and M. Alexandra Abreu Lima.

‘Health Issues and Animation’ blog posts by Animationstudies 2.0

Over on the Society for Animation studies blog, ‘Animationstudies 2.0’, there are a number of articles written on the theme of animation and health, two of which feature writing about animated documentary.

Samantha Moore’s piece called “Secret Architecture – the construction of  Loop” is about her recent work on the Silent Signal project with Animate! and Wellcome Trust, for which she paired up with scientist Dr Serge Mostowy. The r&d work they produced explored Mostowy’s work with zebrafish models in microbiology. In this article Moore discusses her exploration of the gap between theory and methods in the scientific process and her response to this through animated documentary. We featured the Silent Signal project here on the blog a few months back.

Dr Nichola Dobson in her article ‘From one extreme to another’ writes about two animations which explore genital cutting in women and questions the practice of female genital mutilation. Both of these animations have featured on this blog, ‘Everything was Life’ and ‘Centrefold’ and were directed by me –  Ellie Land.

A quick search for animated documentary on the animatiomnstudies blog, brings up many relevant posts about the topic and the blog covers many more areas of animation. Well worth exploring:

http://blog.animationstudies.org/?p=716

‘Animated Documentary’ – a book by Annabelle Honess Roe

photo (8)

The long awaited book on animated documentary by Bella Honess Roe is now available to buy!  We have our copies on order and will post a review in the future.

You can get a copy in the UK from this site http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=581517 and if you visit Bella’s blog you can get a code for a 50% discount!

http://bellahonessroe.wordpress.com/

Review of ‘Tanko Bole Chhe’ – The Stitch Speaks by Nina Sabnani

download

I saw this beautifully crafted film at the Animated Realities conference in Edinburgh in 2011. The film animates a traditional sewing and textiles technique developed by the Kutch community, who are from a coastal region in Ahmedabad, India and has for a long time inspired fashion and textiles all over the world.

Here is a link to a review of the film following the latest in a long line of awards the film has received  We will keep an out out for an online release of the film and if anyone knows where we can link to the film online, please do get in touch.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-05-10/ahmedabad/39168012_1_sundance-film-festival-world-heritage-week-heritage-textiles

Review of ‘The Congress’ trailer – a new film by Ari Folman, from Screenrant

Well, I was very pleased this morning to find this review, and eager to watch the brand new trailer for the latest animated feature from the director of award winning animated documentary – Waltz with Bashir – Ari Folman.

However the trailer has already been removed for copyright reasons! So if anyone out there knows of a link to the trailer still online, please do let us know. Otherwise we will re-blog when the trailer is re – released!

In the meantime here is a short review to whet your appetite:

http://screenrant.com/the-congress-trailer-2013-movie/