‘The Divide’ and ‘Childhood Memories’ by Mary Martins

Mary Martins is a London based filmmaker making animated documentaries and experimental films. Her short film The Divide won the Mother Art Prize in 2017 as well as the Best New Voice award at the Factual Animation Film Fuss in 2016.

The Divide from Mary Martins on Vimeo.

In 2018 Martins was commissioned by the BFI and BBC4 to make the short film Childhood Memories, based on her memories of a holiday in Lagos as a young girl. The film combines archive footage with stop-motion and 2D animation to build a rich and evocative picture of a time and place remembered. The narrative for the film emerged from a poem that Martins wrote, which also led the visual development.

Discussing her process, Martins tells me “I turned my memory into a poem to create the rhythm, and that led the animation,  so the animation flowed from the rhythm of the poem”. Her decision to use a mixed media method was driven by both tonal and storytelling needs. “The reason why I chose the puppets was because I wanted to create that feeling that it was a real person going back in time” she explains. “I think you can capture that well with puppets, you can really bring them to life. And then there were bits that I couldn’t quite get from the footage no matter how much I edited it, and that’s where the hand-drawn came into it. To kind of fill in the missing gaps, between the visuals, the footage and the actual memory itself – the narrative”.

Childhood-Memories-by-Mary-Martins.jpg

Childhood Memories (2018)

Martins is set to study for a Masters at the Royal College of Art from September, as part of their animated documentary pathway, and sees it as an opportunity to develop her own distinctive voice. “My work is always going to be very experimental” she predicts, “I still don’t know if I have my own style yet, I hope going to the RCA will help me get closer to that… I see my work as a personal journey and really want to work on discovering myself through my work”. 


Childhood Memories can currently be seen online in the UK only at: https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-childhood-memories-2018-online

Background on the project can be found at: https://abandonedmemories.weebly.com

More of Martins’ work can be seen on her website: http://www.marymartins.com

 

‘Chris the Swiss’ by Anja Kofmel

1789_1

Directed by Anja Kofmel and screened during Cannes International Critics Week in 2018, this feature length documentary ,which fuses a mix of live action, archive and animation, is a remarkable investigation into the death of war journalist Chris, Kofmel’s late cousin.

This personal story, rich with emotion explains how the death of Kofmel’s cousin has impacted her entire life. Chris travelled to the Croatian War of Independence in the 90’s, and much of the film is set in and around Zagreb. Kofmel appears herself in the film both as a child in animated form and as an adult in live action. We see her visit the places Chris had been, such as hotels and battle grounds and talk to the people he met, such as fellow journalists and ‘soldiers’, in an attempt to discover why and how he died. I thought the inclusion of the animation production process as part of the film was a nice touch, the storyboarding and concept sketches forming part of her search.

The animation is spellbinding, black and white 2D and created in TV Paint, there is the feeling of movement and texture in the drawings as the ink  bleeds into the ‘paper’ whilst images are formed and animated. The depiction of Chris and other characters is very clear, the characterisation of them and Kofmel’s direction holding up well against any photos or live action of those people. In particular the key characters, not alive today to give testimony, the animation is adding and ‘filling in’ for the missing live action that we require in order to tell Chris’s story. But the animation is not merely a device for the live action. It brings a new level of understanding to the documentary in the way in which it morphs, transcends time and geographical boundaries. There are symbolic themes in the animation, such as that of the animated lines that denote the lines in Chris scarf, or the black painterly marks that follow Chris, which instantly make me think of death. These devices guide us through the narrative, and act as signifiers of important events. The animation explores memory, loss and emotion and through it’s movement is evocative of all these states.

A wonderful film, truly deserving of its critical acclaim. In my opinion, this is a fine addition to the animated documentary genre.

http://www.christheswiss.net/

 

‘The Stereoscopic Society’ by Kate Sullivan

The_Stereoscopic_Society_01_Group_shot_London_2018

The final film in the ‘Untold Tales’ series

Please put on your 3D glasses because I’d like to give you an immersive tour of a place I love.

Welcome to The Stereoscopic Society. We’re a bunch of 3D enthusiasts who meet once a month in a church hall in Euston. We share tips tricks and our latest 3D photos.

58 seconds probably isn’t enough time to experience how I feel when submerging for the usual full 3 hours at the club, but I hope you enjoy your quick cup of tea, meeting my friends and watching a digital slide show with us.

https://vimeo.com/296861425

https://www.instagram.com/kate_sullivan01

 

 

‘A Place to Think’ by Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara

A_Place_to_Think_02

A film in the ‘Untold Tales’ series

A Place to Think is a meditative film, inspired by the architecture and natural environment found at the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery. The monastery welcomes all faiths and backgrounds, and gives people the space to reflect on their lives and the outside world which can at times seem overwhelming.

https://vimeo.com/296899375

https://www.instagram.com/nushy_peas

‘144 Units’ by Ian Gouldstone

144_Units_Gouldstone_4_hi_upscaled.png

From the ‘Untold series’

A ficus, a cup, a gate, a buzzer to let people in, a wiener dog, a roll of toilet paper, an apartment, a television, a spare key, a smoke detector, renters, a fridge freezer, mop, a mouse, a communal clothes washer, an apartment, a bowl, a computer, an armchair, an apartment, a small kitchen, a lift, a human, a room, a door, a spare key, a mess, pillows.

An algorithmic film about my tower block inspired by the activity of its inhabitants.

https://vimeo.com/296910820/

https://www.instagram.com/iwgouldstone

‘Sir John Lubbock’s Pet Wasp’ – Osbert Parker and Laurie Hill

Sir_John_Lubbocks_Pet_Wasp_4

The next installment from the Untold Tales series

‘Strange but true stories’ have always been a rich source of inspiration for Parker and Hill, especially those taken from turn of the century Victorian tabloids. Sir John Lubbock’s story and his scientific writings on Ants, Bees & Wasps stood out as contemporary for the directors who worked in collaboration on the film. Themes of environmental concern, cultural displacement, and empathy were found in their interpretation of Lubbock’s story still relevant to today. A diverse range of techniques from stop motion, 2D cut-outs, and digital animation is combined to tell a bizarre and beautiful love story with a sting in its tale.

https://vimeo.com/297121305

https://www.instagram.com/animatedplayground

‘The Foundling’ by Leo Crane

Foundling Still 04_00000

The second film to be released as part of the Untold Tales series.

J— dreams of a family where wild birds are his brothers and sisters and he can escape the urban chaos of London. He lives with his adopted dads in a loving home, but can’t forget his past and the violent emotions he feels towards the young mother who abandoned him. In times of anger and sadness, he turns to the piano and the music that allows his dreams to flourish.

https://vimeo.com/296881122

https://www.instagram.com/leocrane77