‘Patients’ by Alex Widdowson

Continuing our promises of exciting new things planned for the blog this year we are extremely pleased and excited to welcome on board two very talented people; Alex Widdowson and Charlotte Kaye. They will both be our resident interns for the spring and will be contributing to the blog on a regular basis, so watch this space!

Both Alex and Charlotte are makers of animated films, Charlotte is an animator and sculptor, more about her work to come in the next few weeks and Alex is an artist animator.

Here we feature Alex’s most recent film ‘Patients’ a semi-autobiographic animated documentary about psychosis. It is a valuable and insightful piece of work which addresses the stigmas attached to mental health – in both a medical and a wider society context through personal experience.

https://vimeo.com/43970364

For more updated info on what Alex is up to you can follow his blog here: alexwiddowson.tumblr.com

‘Animation on Prescription’ event review by Ellie Land

This day long symposium was designed and delivered by Animation Therapy’s Helen Mason, at this years Encounters Short film and animation festival in September 2012.

‘Animation on prescription’ brought together health professionals, animators and artists at a day long symposium exploring the following themes: animation as a process in a therapy setting, therapeutic interventions as part of the design process and animated documentaries focussing on health issues.

The day started with a key note speech from co founder of Aardman animation’s  David Sproxton, who outlined Aardmans historical relationship and commitment with issue based animation.

It’s difficult to say what the highlight of the day was because of the high quality of each speaker and their project presented. The three I have chosen provide a good insight to the day.

Cleo Ellis, an occupational therapist who uses animation practice in forensic psychiatry, talked about the Animation Therapy model and how the process of animation was instructional to improving the life skills and therefore life chances of her service users.

‘Tree Fu Tom’ an animated series on Cbeebies for young children, was presented by Sally Payne an Occupational therapist who worked closely with the animation director on this production. The goal of this series is to encourage children to live less sedentary life styles, through actively participating with the animated character. The audience help Tom create spells, which advance the story. What was fascinating about this project was how the therapeutic models of the Occupational therapist were embedded into the design of the animation, in particular the narrative and the character design.

Two animated documentaries were screened, ‘Centrefold’ by Ellie Land and’ Mother of many’ by Emma Lazenby, both of which have featured on animateddocumentary.com. It was a really pleasure to watch Mother of Many again, it’s one of those films that feels like an experience. Emma went through some of the research and production processes and played us a live recording of a woman giving birth –which she said she listened to everyday during the 9 month production period!

I attended the previous Animation Therapy symposium 2 years ago, which was just as stimulating and thought provoking as this one. I think this proves that we still have a lot more to talk about and discover about animation in a therapy/ health setting and I cant wait for the next instalment.

‘Mother of Many’ by Emma Lazenby

Mother of Many from emma lazenby on Vimeo.

A BAFTA-winning short inspired the director’s mother, who worked for many years as a midwife supporting women through pregnancy and childbirth.

Made by Bristol production company Arthur Cox for Channel 4 Television.

https://vimeo.com/29311641

Animated Awareness: a review of ‘Centrefold’

Here’s a review of the launch of ‘Centrefold’, Ellie’s new film, which was premiered last week at the Wellcome Trust in London. Friend of the blog Bella Honess Roe was there and here are her thoughts.

You will be able to watch the film on the Centrefold site from Friday. Watch this space and we’ll keep you posted…

Animating Documentary

Last week I went to the launch of Centrefold, at the Wellcome Trust in London.  The film, directed by Ellie Land (one half of the team behind this great animated docs blog), is about female genital cosmetic surgery and aims to provide a non-judgemental look at labia surgery and ‘encourage informed discussion’ on the topic.  It certainly provoked debate at the Q&A session after the screening last week, with a panel made up of Dr Phil Hammond, the director, consultant gynaecologist Sarah Creighton, consultant clinical psychologist Lih-Mei Liao, artist Jamie McCartney and psychoanalyst Susie Orbach.  In particular, things got heated around whether the film was balanced and the reasons that motivate women to have this surgery.

I was interested in the points made by Jamie about using animation, and art in general, to tackle tricky subjects and Ellie’s comments that animation helps you get closer to…

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‘An Eyeful of Sound’ by Samantha Moore

Here’s Samantha Moore’s 2010 film on synaesthesia, produced by Joshka Wessels of Sapiens Productions and funded by the Wellcome Trust. Screened at many international festivals the film has won several awards including Best Experimental Animation, Scinema Science Film Festival.

http://www.samanthamoore.co.uk/#/an-eyeful-of-sound/4516109011

‘A is for Autism’ by Tim Webb

If you don’t know this film, then you should! I certainly consider it one of the films which inspired me in what animation could do.

Director Tim Webb worked with autistic children and adults whose artwork informed the visual style of the film, as well as describing their experiences in the soundtrack.

The DVD is available here.