‘The Beast Inside’ by Amy Enser and Drew Christie

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A great short film about a young man’s experience of homelessness and his reflections on the divide between the wealthy and the poor in modern day America. The film ends on an uplifting positive note which leaves you rooting for the protagonist.

Created for the American Refugees Service, were you can see three other animated documentaries – it’s worth a visit.

We found this film via our friends over at Short of the Week.

http://www.shortoftheweek.com/2014/05/23/the-beast-inside/

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‘What is Animation?’ by Martin Pickles

Martin Pickles is the director of an animated interview with Bob Godfrey titled What is Animation? This was one of two films by Pickles that were screened as part of London International Animation Festival’s animated documentary programme. Martin is well known through his role as the organiser of the London Animation Club, a monthly screening event in Fitzrovia.

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In What is Animation? Pickles animates a snippet of wisdom from Bob Godfrey (1921 – 2013), the British animation hero responsible for creating Roobarb and Henry’s Cat.

When thinking of this film in the context of animated documentary, I was struck by how relevant Godfrey’s words are to one of the larger tensions within the genre: how does a filmmaker faithfully document their subject matter without simply replicating it? Godfrey encourages animators to be whimsical and to forget the limitations of physics or representation.

The key phrase he uses, one which I have heard many times before, is “…if this thing can be done with a live action camera then for God’s sake do it with a live action camera.”

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While Godfrey wants animators to confront the “absolute freedom” of their medium, animated documentary makers maintain an adjacent balancing act. Our challenge, perhaps, is to find a subject that requires a Godfrey-esque whimsy in order for the story to be documented usefully.

Without wanting to sound pretentious, it’s all very ‘meta’. Not only is this an animation about how animators should animate, this short documentary is also structured around an almost visible feedback loop.

Firstly there is Martin Pickles the director, interviewing his hero Bob Godfrey, who effectively imparts wisdom and instruction to the audience. Then, much deeper in the mechanisms of this film, we can feel Martin tangibly being inspired by Bob’s words and legacy – Martin even credits meeting Godfrey as the stimulus that pushed him to study animation at the Royal College of Art. The next revolution of the feedback loop begins with me, the viewer, inspired enough by Bob’s words and Martin’s film that I chose to write about it. It’s fair to predict that this whole process might inform my own or someone else’s next animation; and so the wheel spins.

Ignoring my theoretical posturing, the true joy of this film can be found in its back-story. Martin Pickles and Bob Godfrey met in Croatia at the Animafest Zagreb festival in 2004. A fan since childhood, Martin sought every opportunity to foster a friendship with Bob. Officially, he found himself in the role of odd-job-man – when they met there was always a light bulb or whatever that needed replacing. Over time, his visits to Godfrey’s ACME studio in Deptford became much more social in nature.

Martin spoke about Bob’s aptitude for story telling and teaching with great affection. One day, as Martin sat opposite his hero, sipping tea, he felt that it didn’t seem right that he was the only one experiencing this. He was struck by the realisation that no one had made the effort to record these pearly nuggets of wisdom. With a real sense of urgency he got his hands an old tape recorder, and with Bob very much enjoying the spotlight, they recorded over two hours of rambling fun from one of the British animation scene’s more charismatic icons.

The two animators started to hatch grand schemes for what to do with the material. Collaboration seemed on the cards until Bob’s health began to suffer. By this point Godfrey was in his late eighties, and with great sadness Martin witnessed his gradual decline. Out of respect the project was put on hold indefinitely. A while after Bob’s passing in 2013, his family and the Bradford Animation Festival released an open call for archival content relating to Bob’s life and work. Following that the rest of the pieces fell into place.

You can read a full transcript of the interview here.

Award winning Animated Documentary at DOK Fest Leipzig

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Still image from ‘Still Born’

Fresh news from DOK Leipzig: Two animated documentaries have won awards. Firstly the Winner of the Golden Dove for best International Animated Film at DOK Leipzig is an animated documentary called ‘Still Born’ by Åsa Sandzén, a very touching film about a mother who has to decide what is best for her unborn child and herself. Here is the information below

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/festival/preistraeger-2014/goldene-taube-animationsfilm

Also, awarded was the Golden Dove for best animated documentary. It went to an experimental film called ‘White Death’by Roberto Collío.

Here is the link:
Congratulations to both film makers!

 

‘Children of the Holocaust’ by Fettle Animation

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We are pleased to be sharing the latest news from Fettle Animation about their animated documentary series ‘Children of the Holocaust’ created for broadcast with BBC Learning  and the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association.

The series is based on interviews with World War 2 Holocaust Survivors, and will form a resource on the BBC Learning Zone for 13 and 14 year school children learning about the Holocaust as part of their studies in History, Citizenship and Religious Education.

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The series has already been broadcast and has had further broadcast dates planned – the latest will be on the 15th October at 4am on BBC2. It is being screened as part of the BBC’s teachers TV service in the morning and will be on BBC I Player all week.

The trailer does a great job of showing how animation can be used to discuss a serious and possibly scary subject for a young audience. We will feature a more in depth review of the series in the future on this blog.

For now though you can see the trailer for the series here:

https://vimeo.com/89223502

 

 

‘Rocks in my Pockets’ by Signe Baumane – trailer

Check out the trailer for Signe Baumane’s first feature expiring mental illness through the stories of five women in her family – ‘a funny film about depression’.

Upcoming screenings around the world in Sept & Oct 2014 listed here:
http://www.rocksinmypocketsmovie.com/Screenings.html

And a series of ‘making of’ shorts here: http://www.rocksinmypocketsmovie.com/Process.html

Signe’s portfolio site here: http://www.signebaumane.com

Submit to the 10th International DOK Leipzig Co-Production Meeting! Deadline 1st August 2014

DOK Leipzig co-pro 2014 last callLast call from DOK Leipzig:

‘Dear Friends and Colleagues,

***Less than 10 days to submit your film in development to the 10th International DOK Leipzig Co-Production Meeting!!***

If you are looking for co-production partners and to meet financiers in an intimate and productive environment, we invite you to submit your projects now for consideration. Deadline August 1.

Find more information the online submission form here:
http://www.dok-leipzig.de/industry-training/industry-offers/meet_and_pitch/co-production-meeting

The two day programme (27 & 28 October 2014) offers:

– Individual Meetings with broadcasters, film funds, sales and distributors and other potential partners and financiers. For a list of industry representatives at DOK Leipzig in 2013, please click here.
– Individual Meetings with your fellow producers, offering you and them the chance to build international co-productions, also with a small selection of hand-picked German production companies.
– The most up to date information on working internationally and networking opportunities through our round table sessions and case studies.
– Unstructured space for colleagial exchange and networking in a friendly, intimate and productive environment.

Against the backdrop of DOK Leipzig: the 57th Festival for Documentary and Animated Film. We will also welcome a delegation of Catalonian Producers, organized with Catalonian Films & TV.

Good luck and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions! (oshea@dok-leipzig.de)

Brigid O’Shea & Christine Hille