This is an Animated Documentary and wrap around campaign to raise awareness and talk about some of the mental health wellbeing difficulties parents may face during pregnancy, birth and after. The aim is to emotionally support parents and enable them to find support. First hand testimonies along with animated characters and storylines open up conversations and experiences that are often difficult to start or hear. This film is directed by Emma Lazenby through ForMed Films, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company.
|We’re super-excited to share details of our upcoming panel discussion with three film-makers working with autobiography, in partnership with Animate Projects and British Council:|
Our next Animation Salon is programmed by Alys Scott-Hawkins and Ellie Land from Animated Documentary, is on 4 November. It’s our second in partnership with Animate Projects. The animated documentary genre continues to grow, featuring in a variety of formats: shorts and feature films, explainer videos, interactive documentary; and showcasing an array of techniques such as the autoethnographic film, the investigative film, the call-to-action and reconstruction films, to name just a few. Animators Mary Martins (UK), John Summerson (USA), and Signe Baumane (Latvia/USA) will share their insights and experiences with us, alongside some clips of their work.
Animation Salon/Accelerate Sessions
18:00 (UK time), Wednesday 4 November
More information here.
Free. Register here.
Spaces are limited – please join early to make sure you get in. Supported by Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Fund.
Still: My Love Affair With Marriage, Signe Baumane, 2021
Next Accelerate session coming up…
Animation and VR
With Tom Higham (York Mediale), Liz Rosenthal (Venice Film Festival), Juergen Hagler (Ars Electronica), Helen Starr (Mechatronic Library), and Ulrich Schrauth (London Film Festival Expanded). More details soon.
Image: ‘Im OK’ by Elizabeth Hobbs
While still in production, there was a lot of talk among art lovers about the 2017 animated documentary Loving Vincent. ‘It is completely hand-painted’, ‘an army of artists has been employed for its production’, ‘it will look like a moving painting’ (see Frizzell, 2017; Mottram, 2017; Vollenbroek, 2017)… I was in suspense for its release and fascinated by all the hype surrounding it. When I finally got to watch the film, I could not help but feel a bit let down. Yet, I could not understand the reasons behind this disenchantment. The imagery imitated van Gogh’s style flawlessly, the storyline dealing with the circumstances of the artist’s death was interesting enough, and as far as I could tell, the acting was good. What was it then? Why was I feeling like I wanted to see more?
Part of me felt that my art education was to blame, an education that was perhaps wrongly distinguishing and discriminating between art and craft. I could not see the point behind this repetitive exercise of recreating an art style whose value lay in being different, in being original and unique. The recreation seemed like a copy, an imitation and therefore to me, of less value. It seemed no further away from art than a printed reproduction of the original painting. It seemed almost futile, unnecessary, a bit kitschy. The story could hold its weight without the hand-painted stylization, and the stylization might have had a stronger effect without a storyline. However, I remembered how art students and apprentices used to study images –and still do to some extent– by copying the masters. This film employed over one hundred artists who worked painstakingly to recreate the footage in Van Gogh’s style. Keeping in mind this tradition of learning art, it seems like Loving Vincent acted as an apprenticeship for them. An homage to the technique of this master of modernism. To me, it is a performance that pays tribute to this great artist, not so much in its completed form, the final film, as by the painstaking process of its production. And that change in perspective elevates a rather good film to a masterpiece.
Loving Vincent. Dir. Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman.
In her short film I’m OK, Elizabeth Hobbs (2018), took a completely different approach in depicting the life and work of the Austrian Expressionist artist Oskar Kokoschka. Despite some loose references to his work here and there, Hobbs did not try to emulate Kokoschka’s style, nor did she have a script and employ actors and rotoscoping. Using expressive, playful lines and bright colours on paper, the animator highlights aspects of Kokoschka’s life. She specifically focuses on the time when the artist volunteered for service during WWI, after being rejected by a lover. Although Hobbs communicates well the message of heartbreak, war and pain, unless a viewer is already familiar with the life and work of Kokoschka, it is unlikely that they would gain an education of the artist merely by watching the film. This, however, does not seem to be the priority of the short. Instead, it acts as a loose interpretation of the life of an artist.
I’m OK Dir. Elizabeth Hobbs (U.K. and Canada)
These two examples are very different approaches to document the life of an artist through animation. Both films take advantage of the medium to simulate an aspect of creation that van Gogh and Kokoschka were using. Loving Vincent partially employs rotoscoping in the form of hand-painted live action footage but remains confined within the indexical qualities of the recording. It takes advantage of van Gogh’s painterly aesthetics and simultaneously maintains a strong relation to ‘reality’. I’m OK, on the other hand, does not involve the tracing over live-footage and without this strong and recorded initial connection to the world, it recreates Hobbs’ own version of it from scratch. I’m OK applies an expressive approach with emotive brushstrokes, music, use of colour and symbolism to tell a story while highlighting the animator’s unique perspective and is without any pretence of presenting ‘the real’. Hobbs refers to Kokoschka’s style not by directly emulating his art, but by adopting a similarly expressive aesthetic while maintaining her artistic voice. Hobbs’s film is not only an homage to an artist. It is much more than that, as it is, at least in my humble opinion, a work of art in its own right.
Frizzell, N., 2017. 65,000 Portraits Of The Artist: How Van Gogh’s Life Became The World’s First Fully Painted Film. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/oct/13/loving-vincent-van-gogh-painted-animation-dorota-kobiela-hugh-welchman [Accessed 9 March 2020].
I’m OK. 2020. [DVD] Directed by E. Hobbs. United Kingdom and Canada: Animate Projects Limited and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).
Loving Vincent. 2017. [DVD] Directed by D. Kobiela and H. Welchman. Poland and United Kingdom: BreakThru Productions and Trademark Films.
Mottram, J., 2017. Loving Vincent: How The First Fully-Painted Feature Film Took Six Years. [online] The Independent. Available at: <https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/loving-vincent-van-gogh-douglas-booth-armand-roulin-hugh-welchman-dorota-kobiela-a7994186.html [Accessed 9 March 2020]
Vollenbroek, T., 2017. ‘Loving Vincent’: 6 Facts About The First Oil Painted Animated Feature. [online] Cartoon Brew. Available at: <https://www.cartoonbrew.com/feature-film/loving-vincent-6-facts-first-oil-painted-animated-feature-150443.html [Accessed 9 March 2020]
London’s fifth annual Factual Animation Film Festival was hosted at the Cinema Museum on 8th December 2019. 21 short animated documentaries were screened across two programmes. Between the screenings there was a discussion panel featuring Rory Waubly-Tolley, director of There’s Something In The Water, Diana Gradinaru, director of What Is Consciousness?, Simon Ball, director of Do I See What You See?, and Haemin Ko, director of No Body.
The AnimatedDocumentary.com team are delighted to announce that the FAFF best animated documentary of 2019 has been awarded to Rosa Fisher director of Sent Away.
Sent Away explores the psychological impact that attending boarding school had on Rosa’s father, Tom. The film addresses the atmosphere of punishment, obedience and isolation that led each pupil to develop a hardened exterior. The film concludes by speculating how this emotionally traumatic cultural practice, common among Britain’s political elite, has shaped the UK. Sent Away, despite focusing on the childhood of a middle-aged man, is prescient in the lead up to the UK’s general election. One of the candidates for prime minister forged his identity in the competitive toxicity of Eton, the UK’s most elite boarding school. The other did not.
|FAFF 2019 Programme|
|Programme 1, 12pm|
|1||There’s Something In The Water||7||Dinosaur Blues|
|dir Rory Waudby-Tolley||2019||UK||dir Oleon Lin||2019||China|
|There are two types of lakes in the South: them that’s got giant salvinia, and them that’s about to.||In urban China, a man makes plasticine figures of popular characters.|
|2||No Body||8||What Is Consciousness?|
|dir Haemin Ko||2019||UK||dir Diana Gradinaru||2019||UK, Romania|
|An autobiographical experimental animated poem on the director’s immigrant experience.||Classic cartoon tropes are manipulated in this nightmarish story about memory.|
|3||Passage||9||Do I See What You See?|
|dir Asavari Kumar||2019||USA, India||dir Simon Ball||2018||UK|
|An Indian woman revisits her immigration journey through the illusion of the American Dream.||How do changes in the brain cause us to see differently?|
|4||A Letter To Myself At 16||10||Patchwork|
|dir Claire Tankersley||2019||USA||dir Maria Manero||2018||Spain|
|Five years after her sexual assault, there is so much that she wishes she’d known when she woke up the next morning.||The story of a 60 year-old woman’s liver transplant, as told by her donor.|
|5||Embraces & The Touch of Skin||11||Solos|
|dir Sara Koppel||2019||Denmark||dir Gabriella Marsh||2019||UK|
|An animated poem about the vital need for embraces and contact with other beings.||A portrait of a day in a single square in Barcelona.|
|6||My Dad’s Name Was Huw|
|dir Freddie Griffiths||2019||UK|
|Freddie’s late alcoholic father left behind a number of poems through which we might understand his experience.|
|FAFF 2019 Programme|
|Programme 2, 2pm|
|dir Samantha Moore||2019||UK||dir Michaela Režová, Ivan Studený||2018||Czechia|
|Animated fabric brings the story of a lingerie factory in Manchester to life.||In urban China, a man makes plasticine figures of popular characters.|
|2||Sent Away||7||The Elephant’s Song|
|dir Rosa Fisher||2019||UK||dir Lynn Tomlinson||2019||USA|
|A child sent to boarding school must contend with the trauma of abandonment.||The sad but true story of Old Bet, the first circus elephant in America.|
|3||Fifteen-Two||8||The Children of Concrete|
|dir John Summerson||2019||UK||dir Jonathan Phanhsay-Chamson||2017||France|
|The filmmaker’s mother recalls her parents’ indomitable relationship, strengthened by their love of games.||An immigrant child’s conflict with ethnic and national identity.|
|4||O Hunter Heart||9||Eadem Cutis|
|dir Carla MacKinnon||2019||UK||dir Nina Hopf||2019||Germany|
|Nature and domesticity collide in a dark take of love and loss.||A person’s attempt to frame their conflict with dysphoria.|
|5||The Drip||10||1 Minute History of Image Distortion|
|dir Leonie Ketteler||2019||Netherlands||dir Betina Kuntzsch||2017||Germany|
|You’ve never seen Chlamydia in quite this way before.||Material resistance in film history.|
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”.
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
On July 13th Deptford Cinema in London will be hosting a day of film and discussion exploring and celebrating Twenty-First Century animated documentary. The event includes:
An international programme of 16 animated documentary films
Introductions by academics working in animation studies
Roundtable discussion with filmmakers and scholars
Speakers include: Dr Victoria Grace Walden (University of Sussex), Dr Bella Honess Roe (University of Surrey), Dr Nea Ehrlich (Ben-Gurion University, Israel TBC), Susan Young (Royal College of Arts), Carla MacKinnon (Arts University Bournemouth), Terry Wragg (Leeds Animation Workshop).
Doors 11.30am / Tickets: £10 (£8.50 concessions)
More information on the website: http://deptfordcinema.org/new-events/2019/7/13/deptford-animadocs-1
‘Doozy is a creative documentary that mixes original animation, re-enactment, archive and expert testimony to look through the lens of one of Hollywood’s hidden queer histories’
Another chance to see the fantastic ‘Doozy’ and a brilliant lineup of Q&A’s, featuring the cast of Doozy.
You can read our review of Doozy here
The first of the six Untold Tales films.
Hold Tight explores the importance of Carnival across the UK and how its 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.
You can watch the film here:
Hold Tight – https://vimeo.com/297039237
Seven renowned animators have been selected to create a series of micro-shorts, commissioned by Animate Projects and Anim18, as part of the Anim18 programme – a UK-wide celebration of British animation taking place until December 2018.
Working in collaboration with other creative talents and a range of subjects, the animators reflect on the collective and individual experiences of people living in the UK today. They are playful, joyful, and eye-catching gems, designed to be discovered in the viewer’s Instagram feed, that they will want to share, repost, like, and comment on.
Together the films present an exciting and vibrant collection of stories exploring cultural heritage, historic curiosities, devoted communities, and ways individuals navigate modern life: Leo Crane’s film offers a platform to an adopted child to share his fantastical and hopeful dreams; Ian Gouldstone takes inspiration from the inhabitants of the tower block he resides in; and Osbert Parker and Laurie Hill consider the curious tale of a wasp brought into Victorian society and cultured, and how her treatment reflects on contemporary life today.
Several of the films center on the cultural communities that the animators belong to: Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara reflects on the motivations of visitors to a Buddhist Monastery that she frequents; Kate Sullivan invites us into a meeting of the 3D enthusiasts club she takes part in; and Jessica Ashman’s film celebrates the importance of participating in Carnival culture for herself and her peers.
Abigail Addison at Animate Projects explains: “The animators were approached to pitch ideas for this project, and we were delighted with the range of ideas and techniques that were proposed. These diminutive films attest to the considerable talent and craft of the makers; they are so innovative, lively, thought provoking, and entertaining. It is a joy to be able to work with such great animation talent.”
The films will be launched on Instagram and Vimeo throughout November, beginning with Hold Tight by Jessica Ashman on Tuesday 6 November.
You can find the films on their release date at the following links:
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.