Review for Bradford Animation Festival (BAF)

17th Bradford Animation Festival

9-13 November 2010

Every year Bradford National Media Museum has an animation festival which lasts over a week starting with the BAF Games and ends which with the BAF Awards Ceremony. This is my second year to take part in Bradford Animation Festival as an animation student who was doing her final year study for the BA degree. Like last year, I was enjoy the 4 days trip and got something interesting from the master classes, seminars, workshops, screenings and special events led by some of the animation industry’s top names, during these days, people from this industry and their wonderful works were really refreshed some ideas for me, about the animation and industry, also shown how people deal with passion and job during their lifetime. This review will show some of my personal feelings about the 2010 Winners and other wonderful works which shown on the festival.

Highlights of BAF 2010 include Paul Mendoza from Pixar, Paul Franklin from Double Negative, the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Ray Harryhausen, Channel 4 retrospectives introduced by Clare Kitson and a modelmaking seminar by ScaryCat’s Gary Jackson. In addition Tim Searle from Baby Cow Animation looks back at 20 years in UK comedy animation and Phil Mulloy introduces a screening of Goodbye Mr Christie.

BAF 2010 award-winners

Lifetime Achievement Award

Ray Harryhausen

Ray Harryhausen (born Raymond Frederick Harryhausen on June 29, 1920 in Los Angeles, California) is an American film producer and special effects creator. He created a brand of stop-motion model animation known as “Dynamation.”[1]

Among his most notable works are his animation on Mighty Joe Young (with pioneer Willis O’Brien, which won the Academy Award for special effects) (1949), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (his first colour film) and Jason and the Argonauts, featuring a famous sword fight against seven skeleton warriors.

Director John Landis presents a Lifetime Achievement Award to Ray Harryhausen at 2010’s Bradford Animation Festival.

John Landis talks to Ray Harryhausen about his career, animation technique and the making of Jason and the Argonauts

Links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR-mHuBOd64&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRv5jqu8QMM&feature=relmfu

http://www.rayharryhausen.com/index.php

Grand Prix

Love and Theft by Andreas Hykade

Dir. Andreas Hykade , Germany , 2010, 7 mins,

For a hypnotic film which draws us in via great music and a musical structure lending pace and mood; for a captivating journey through an artist’s inspirations.

This is an amazing piece of animation. The first time I saw this on the screen, I felt it’s tedious and. But when I back to watch it again, I found it’s a strange psychedelic love letter to cartoons. To see those faces changing with music, people were really mesmerized by the motion showing through those cartoon faces. The short’s Andreas quote Bob Dylan’s In the Summertime in the video’s info panel:

“And I’m still carrying the gift you gave,

It’s a part of me now, it’s been cherished and saved,

It’ll be with me unto the grave

And then unto eternity.”

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEUxlwb2uFI

Special Jury Prize

A Lost and Found Box of Human Sensation by Martin Wallner and Stefan Leuchtenberg

Dir. Martin Wallner, Stefan Leuchtenberg , Germany , 2010, 15 mins,

For a heartfelt and honest expression of the experience of loss, technically accomplished in a colour palette reflecting its appropriately bleak mood.

A Lost and Found Box of Human Sensation is an animated short film about 15 minutes long. It is about a young man whose father dies because of a pancreatic cancer and the boy has to cope with the loss. During the film, we can feel the time consuming process of overcoming grief, with all its ups, downs, setbacks and silver linings.

Links: http://www.lostbox.de/about/index.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMucha2bT-4

Audience Award

The Little Boy and The Beast by Johannes Weiland

Der kleine und das Biest

Dir. Johannes Weiland and Uwe Heidschötter, Germany, 2010, 11 mins,

When your mother has turned into a beast, a lot of things change…

Ever since Haros dad has left the family, Haros mum has become very strange. This film was one of the TOP 3 in my mind in this festival which shows a break marriage from child visual. For Haro, he doesn’t know what’s really happened between his parents, he just found his mother hardly plays with him anymore and broods over old photographs; she no longer laughs and is in a bad mood all the time. In a child’s eyes, his mother has turned into a real beast! Suddenly, Haro has to take care of many things all by himself, which can be pretty tiring. From the children’s point of view, use some light and funny children’s langue; the film depicts the difficulties they face after their parents have separated, and that’s the point I love this film. However, the film also shows that beastly parents who are going through a divorce may eventually turn into their old selves.

Link: http://heidschoetter.blogspot.com/2009_11_01_archive.html

Professional

Big Bang Big Boom by Blu

Dir. Blu, Italy, 2010, 10 mins,

A short unscientific story about evolution and its possible consequences.

For its energy and an innovative technique, developed even further than the filmmaker’s previous work; for the scope of its ambition and its awesome management of logistical challenges.

Links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMoKcsN8wM8

http://www.blublu.org/sito/updates/updates.htm

Student

Prayers for Peace by Dustin Grella

Dir. Dustin Grella , USA , 2009, 8 mins,

For a deeply-felt film, impeccably structured with tremendous restraint, making the ending all the more powerful.

I had to say that this year’s student part was really shocked me, even those works which couldn’t won award. STANEY PICKLE director by Victoria Mather, use an interesting filming way to told us a strange story about Stanley never goes outside. He likes to play with his clockwork toys and every night his mother kisses him goodnight. Stanley is twenty. The trouble is that Stanley thinks this is all quite normal, until an encounter with a mysterious girl turns his world upside down…THE GOAT AND THE WELL and OUT ON THE TILES makes me laugh, also the girl in OUT ON THE TILES was really contact the real life. LOOM was a powerful piece of work to show the story of a successful catch. A moth being caught in a spider’s web. Struggling for an escape, the moth’s panic movements only result in less chance of survival, through the strong technology and so on.

The winner is Prayers for Peace by Dustin Grella. A narrative stop-motion animation confronting the memory of the artist’s younger brother killed in the current conflict in Iraq. Drawn entirely with pastels on a slate chalkboard, the materials used to create the animation become a metaphor for the impermanence of life. In my opinion, it can prove that a good animation not only had good storyline and powerful technology skill but also work well both artistically and emotionally.

Links: http://vimeo.com/7520674

http://www.dustingrella.com/home.html

 

Short, Shorts

Pixels by Patrick Jean

Dir. Patrick Jean, France, 2010, 3 mins,

For its playful use of 8-bit game references, its technical skill, its verve and its bags of surprises. What a brilliant work!

For this part Short Shorts, there also had some interesting works even they didn’t won award. FLY by Alan Short shows the eternal battle between man and fly is played out with ever more comedic results to the final pay off. As the drama escalates the man and his dog find themselves making increasingly extreme attempts to rid themselves of the fly. Lucky by Trevor Hardy told us a little story about an old lady looks for her lost cat which was very funny!…etc. Just like last year’s Best Short Shorts winner Stupid Table by Andy Sykes, it didn’t disappoint me this time! I’m looking forward to next year’s show.

Links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxX_bVluflo

http://www.onemoreproduction.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkuszoQV5F8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fl2N1ZuqQ0

http://www.foolhardyfilms.com/biography.asp

 

Commercials

Heroes of the UAE by Ben Falk and Josiah Newbolt

Dir. Ben Falk & Josiah Newbolt, UK, 2010, 2 mins,

For the clarity of its message, its imaginative use of materials and for the very nice twist at the end.

From the makers of “This Is Where We Live” comes this beautifully crafted film, commissioned by the WWF, which follows a father and daughter as they embark on an informative journey though a newspaper world.

Links: http: http://www.ithentic.com/videos/watch/heroes-of-the-uae/

TV series

Heirlooms by Wendy Chandler and Susan Danta

Dir. Wendy Chandler, Susan Danta, Australia, 2009, 9 mins,

For the originality of its concept and for its affecting first-person narration of compelling family stories.

A beautifully crafted animated documentary series that artfully explores the internal landscape and connection of people and their heirlooms.

 

Music Videos

The Tom Fun Orchestra: Bottom of the River by Alasdair Brotherston and Jock Mooney

Dir. Alasdair Brotherston, Jock Mooney, UK, 2009, 3 mins,

 

For a witty evocation of early silhouette cinema, transposed to a very different contemporary context, and successfully conveying an important message.

This music video was about singing rubbish bags lament their fate as dead cats drift by. To be honest, I am not very interesting in this film. Use shadows to show everything in the film was brilliant idea and the cool colour was fit for the song. But it just not enough for me to make it stand out of other works in this part. Compare with last year’s winner Hey by Guy Ben Shetrit, it just couldn’t touch my feelings, and made me a little disappointed. Anyway, people could get different feeling from same story, this music video probably could be a wonderful piece of work for somebody, but it just not my type.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZDMVodMLQY

Films for Children

Monstre Sacré by Jean-Claude Rozec

Dir. Jean-Claude Rozec , France , 2009, 10 mins,

 

For its punchy fast editing, good story structure and fantastic visuals and characterisation. A multi-layered, funny, modern take on an old story.

Born accidentally among ducks, a dragon as gigantic as he is harmless suddenly becomes a media star. Wrongly considered by humans as a wild and bloodthirsty creature, he soon finds himself lost in the urban jungle…

This is an interesting story which like tell The Ugly Duckling in a new way. But this time “ugly ducking” seems to be “luck” before he lost himself into the adults’ world.

Links: http://www.jplfilms.com/films/p119-monstre-sacre.html

http://www.filmsenbretagne.com/Actus_archivees-924-220-0-5.html

In addition to these award-winning works, there was another film which attracted me at first view called The Illusionist director by Sylvain Chomet.

In 2003, Sylvain Chomet with his amazing work Les Triplettes de Belleville shocked the world, become one of the top of animation directors in European animation industry. His hand drawing style with CG integration, slightly sad and absurd style impressed the numerous visitors.

You can say this is a film about Father and daughter. The last shot appears on the screen, people suddenly understood the whole story, tears streaming out of eyes. Over the past hundred minutes, the audience roamed from street to street in the Edinburgh with Tatischeff the old magician and orphaned Alice, felt the most difficult experience of their most poignant lower-class life with love and the moved. In the film, there just only one loyal audience Alice who absolutely believe Tatischeff and his Old-fashioned tricks, conjure a rabbit out of a hat, seems he was doing this during his lifetime. For Alice, she doesn’t know about anything, she just enjoys her amazing life with Tatischeff, the best magician is the father in the daughter’s heart. Father could give his daughter the best thing of the world, but life is not a magic, for those children who’s never satisfied, day by day they grow up, and their father grow old, they just feel their father’s magic didn’t work when their ask for a perfect life, feel that his skill degradation, extremely poor performance, like play an old tricks during his lifetime. Someday, when they nostalgic for the time together with the magicians.

There is a cruel fact they need to face which the magician is always left the stage before audience.

You can say this is a film about abandoned and old time. The shooting style through whole film is abandoned, during the film, in stead of use those fast clips Sylvain Chomet decide to use a lot of exaggerated features with changing seats, these ways for filmed, for many people has been ‘abandoned’. In the beginning of the film, Sylvain Chomet tries to make it like a black-and-white film, silent film; those ways which had been gradually abandoned by most people.

Magician was ‘abandoned’, only a few people want to watch his Old-fashioned tricks, less and less of his return, for him it’s increasingly difficult to find a job for living. That clown was ‘abandoned’, no one wanted to see his show, and he became an unhappy clown. He was destitute, even in the streets as a homeless beaten by children. He had drunk himself every day, recall his brilliant in the pastime from the music, hanged himself last choice alone. Ventriloquism division was ‘abandoned’, like clowns and magicians, he become a role which is not necessary for the new era, no job could be found, he need to sold his doll which the same as his family. During the film Sylvain Chomet use a lot of figures like that, which remind people to think about the old time and some thing abandoned by this era.

This is a film for the French comedy master Jacques Tatischeff. We found some interesting details which shows during the film.

The film showing in the cinema called Mon oncle (1958)

Compare with the Tatischeff between animation and real, their clothes are extremely same.

Links: http://www.lillusionniste-lefilm.com/#/home

http://lillusionniste-lefilm.com/presse/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Tati

To sum up, I was enjoy this year’s Bradford Animation Festival and it really gave me some special experience and useful information, I would like to take part in the next year, hopefully they could also bring something fantastic for their audiences.

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