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posted by: Ian on:
November 27, 2008 @ 4:54 pm
This week a new show opened at the Ikon gallery. Darcy Lange: Work Studies in Schools gathers some of the reams and reams of video footage which New Zealand artist Lange shot on his visits to schools in Birmingham and Oxfordshire during 1976 and 77. As he went along he screened his work back to the pupils and teachers who he was filming, sparking off a dialogue about documentary and how the kids saw themselves being represented onscreen.
If you happen to make it down there, pop into the Ikon shop and you can pick up a copy of the Landmarks booklet which 7inch produced last year. This is a record of a project we did around another chronicler of Birmingham life, TV documentary maker Philip Donnellan. Although the two never worked together, they had a similar willingness to involve their subjects in the work they were making. (In fact, Donnellan got in trouble at the BBC for inviting some union employees he had filmed into the edit suite at Pebble Mill.) You can also download a pdf of the booklet from the Landmarks project page.
There were two full houses for the climax of our archive tour in Pershore and Worcester this weekend. A blow-by-blow account can be found in the photo diary. A big thank you to all the venues for their support, and to all the nice people who came along. Apologies to those who we had to turn away; if there are any extra screenings in the new year we’ll post the details here.
This little skit by Coventry-based animator Qianqian Liu was cooked up during the recent Digitoons masterclasses run by the Brothers McLeod. It has picked up nigh on 100,000 youtube views already (including the usual flood of considered and illuminating comments) and can also be seen at the Hare and Hounds this Sunday as part of the Housewives’ Choice night.
Our pitiless conquest of the media continued last week with a spot on Midlands Today about the Worcestershire on Film tour. Many thanks to all those who wrote in and pointed out that the footage included a couple of shots of Ludlow; please rest assured that all rogue Shropshire elements have been removed. And if you would like to catch the tour before it ends, can we recommend the screening in Pershore this Saturday 22 November at 2pm? Thanks to an on air plug from the BBC we are expecting a veritable swarm of people for the 7pm show the same day in Worcester – so if you want to avoid disappointment either get in the queue early, or get down to Number 8.
Discovered while trawling for kids films yesterday, a Japanese series called Komaneko. We understand that it means ‘frame-taking cat’ and will no doubt breed a whole new generation of stop-frame filmmakers.
This morning I dragged myself away from several deadlines to go and hear Osbert Parker talk about his animation at the Flip Festival, and I’m so glad I did. The cliche about animators is that they’re monosyllabic and prefer to express themselves by moving bits of paper around. Parker does a lot of that but he can also talk with real pzazz and insight about the process behind his work. He started out in graphic design, and showed a stack of images from his sketchbooks which made it clear that he still thinks like a designer in some ways and researches the hell out of everything he does. Reversing the usual progression he went straight from college to an MTV ident and lots of juicy ad commissions (many of which can be seen here), and it was over ten years until he started working on personal projects like Film Noir and Yours Truly. Through these films he established a signature style which involves turning bits of live-action footage into cut-out animation – spending insane amounts of time on stuff like cutting out little Humphrey Bogarts with a scalpel, placing them in a toy car and spritzing with water. Virgil Widrich’s Fast Film uses a similar origami approach but although the effect is amazing it’s more of a set-piece technique-fest for me, while Yours Truly skewers the audience with story-telling. Here’s hoping he gets his creepy mixed-media kids feature off the ground!
PS: Quiet Earth review.
Despite a shedload of work to get through, it’s been a rather euphoric day. As ever, the perfect soundtrack courtesy of Ken’s show on WFMU. Amongst others: I Shall be Released (Nina Simone); I’m Happy (Ivor Cutler); Ding Dong The Witch is Dead! (Klaus Nomi); etc… If you can handle three hours of jollity they’ll have the show archived in a couple of days.
Flip Animation Festival is on in Wolverhampton this week, and includes one of the first UK screenings of Nina Paley’s debut feature Sita Sings the Blues. Paley is a comic strip artist who moved into filmmaking ten years ago, and spent the last five animating Sita on her home computer. Inspired by the Ramayana, the film concerns the parallel man-troubles of Sita (in India’s mythical past) and Nina (in contemporary America), with musical backup from 20s songstress Annette Hanshaw. The director’s blog details some of the copyright hassles Hanshaw’s music has encountered as well as the film’s plaudit-strewn festival journey, and this Variety review will help to whet your appetite. (It’s also screening tomorrow in Leeds.)
PS :: There’s a rundown of other things going on this month at our listings archive. If you want this info sent to you directly, sign up to our email list on the left <<.