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Astigmatismo (2013)

December 22, 2013 0 animation

Created by Nicolai Troshinsky
Music by Shogun Kunitoki
Sound design by Pierre Sauze
Character design by Gina Thorstensen
Background design by Cecilia Ramieri

Astigmatismo by Spanish filmmaker Nicolai Troshinsky is a stunning short film about – you got it – astigmatism. Beginning with the moment a boy’s glasses are taken from him as a prank, we are plunged into his world with the aid of some very innovative animation techniques. Only able to focus on very specific parts of his surroundings at any one time, his perception is reduced to localised glimpses of what’s happening around him, with everything else a blur.

The resulting effect is one of dislocation. Seen through the boy’s astigmatic eyes, the world becomes a series of connected and not so connected vignettes, some as surreal as if dreamed up by Dali or Bosch. The genius of this film is that it manages to convey the beauty in this confusion – the reduced power of perception makes the world harder to piece together logically. But then, the world can often be like this even for those of us with 20/20 vision – confusing, weird, wonderful and random.

The animated world of Astigmatismo was created using painted glass and cut-out marionettes, and filmed on five planes, using computer-controlled lens focus in order to switch focus, like the human eye, near instantly between different points. Astigmatismo has screened at scores of film festivals including Sundance and won several prizes including the Animatou Special Animation prize. A short documentary about the making of Astigmatismo can been seen here.

El Empleo – The Employment (2011)

December 5, 2013 0 animation

Directed by Santiago ‘Bou’ Grasso
Written by Patricio Plaza
Animated by Santiago Grasso and Patricio Plaza
Production company: Opusbou

El Empleo is a wonderfully crafted, imaginative short about (in a nutshell) work. The film is somewhat surrealist, showing humans replacing everyday household items – and even machines, cars, elevator doors. The world of El Empleo presents us with a sort of reversal of the modern world, in which duties and functions performed by humans are increasingly automated and performed by machines. Highly allegorical, El Empleo has a great twist which will resonate with everyone familiar with the routines, hierarchies and often, existential emptiness of the world of routine servitude. Keep watching past the credits!

Cortometraje de animación / animated short film
Ganador de 103 premios internacionales / Winner of 103 International Awards.

Aningaaq (2013)

November 21, 2013 0 drama, sci-fi

Directed by Jonas Cuaron

Aningaaq is a short film directed by Jonas Cuaron, son of Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron (father and son co-wrote the Gravity screenplay). Filmed on a budget of $100,000, Aningaaq is set in a Greenland fjord.

Aningaaq was originally intended as a spinoff and extra for the Blu-ray DVD of Gravity. It shows us the other end of a radio communication from a scene in Gravity – Sandra Bullock’s character Doctor Ryan Stone calling for help from her stricken capsule in space. However, the film is thriving in its own right, has done very well on the short film festival circuit and may soon be up for an Oscar nomination.

Leading actor Sandra Bullock described Aningaaq as an “absolutely beautiful piece of loneliness. … I get goose bumps thinking about it.”

Logorama (2009)

November 1, 2013 0 animation

Created by French animation collective H5 (François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy, Ludovic Houplain) Logorama screened at the Cannes Film Festival 2009, the Sundance Film Festival 2010.

Slickly produced and very well animated, this lively, explosive and colourful short film shows us a world consisting entirely of the brands which surround us in daily life. It’s hard to say exactly who all the good and bad guys are – but there are certainly some stand-out villains in this piece. We only wonder how H5 didn’t get sued for this!

Cold Star (2011)

October 17, 2013 0 music

Director: Kai Stänicke.
Director of Photography: Thomas Schneider
Music: Cold Star by Din A Tod (Out of Line Music)
Starring: Dieter Rita Scholl

Cold Star is a striking music video. Based in a public swimming pool, the action centres around two protagonists – a teenage boy who is at the pool with his friends, and an older transvestite (played by a memorable Dieter Rita Scholl – undoubtedly the star of this piece) who shows him something he has apparently not experienced before. Inspired by the crossing of boundaries in this unexpected encounter, the spirit of sexual experimentation affects nearly everyone else, and the video ends with a watery love-in.

Not everybody in the video is willingly part of this action – there are dissenters and disapproving faces – but the message seems to be that the liberation of shedding of barriers is more powerful than any prejudice.

However you may feel about the theme and content of this video, there’s no denying that it’s a captivating watch. The cinematography by DOP Thomas Schneider is superb, and the slow-motion footage works very well with the music, a catchy, pulsing electronic number by producer Din A Tod.

Cold Star has screened at scores of film festivals around the world and picked up several short film awards.



Nietzsche – Beyond Good and Evil (1999)

October 16, 2013 0 documentary

Beyond Good and Evil is the first of a trio of documentaries, Human, All Too Human, produced by the BBC. This documentary is about German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and his gradual shift from religion to nihilism, and eventually, tragically, to insanity. Along the way we learn how he was influenced by Schopenhauer and Wagner, about his health problems, his unsatisfactory personal life, his period of seclusion in the mountains, the formulation of his most powerful concepts, and the posthumous misappropriation of his ideas by the Nazis. A concise and fascinating picture of one of the world’s most intriguing thinkers – a man described by Will Self as ‘the original punk philosopher’.

The Anti-Social Network (2013)

October 11, 2013 0 comedy

Writer & Director – Shae-Lee Shackleford

Lucas, played by actor Sam Mac, is chronically addicted to social media. Facebooking is a permanent fixture in his life – as we see, status updating is his raison d’etre, appearing around him in bubbles like augmented reality – a nice CGI touch. When he awkwardly meets a girl in a bar (Leila, played by Shae-Lee Shackleford) who against all expectations actually likes him, the ensuing relationship shows us just how deep his obsession for online validation runs.

“The Anti-Social Network was written, directed and produced by Shae-Lee Shackleford. She created the film to be a humorous observation of the social media driven world we live in. The film is aimed to ‘poke’ fun at is the obsession we have with online interaction, sometimes to the detriment of our real everyday lives and relationships.”

Also starring Matt Doran and Natarsha Belling.
Soundtrack by the Flight Facilities, Art vs Science, Mitzi and Justice Crew.

Doodlebug (1997)

September 20, 2013 0 drama

A very short film about a man chasing an unidentified pest through his apartment, the plotline of Doodlebug strongly recalls Kafka.

Doodlebug is a fine example of an early, experimental piece of work by now-famous London-born director Christopher Nolan, writer and director of hit Hollywood films Memento (2000) Batman Begins (2005)  The Prestige (2006) and most recently and famously, Dark Knight (2008) which took more than a billion dollars at the box office.

The twist to this surreal, black-and-white short is thought-provoking, dark and even comic at the same time.

Adrift (2013)

September 12, 2013 0 animation

Created by Simon Christen
Muscial score by Jimmy LaValle and the band “The Album Leaf”

Adrift is a visually stunning piece of film by photographer and filmmaker Simon Christen. He used time lapse photography to create moving footage of the San Franciso Bay area, in particular focusing on the thick fog which coats the landscape in the mornings. Speeded up, the dense fog appears tsunami-like, rolling thick and fast over the terrain so familiar to and beloved by Christen.  The atmospheric synth score by Jimmy LaValle perfectly matches the mood and feel of the film, working with the ethereal imagery to create an experience that combines the beauty and wonder of nature with a sense of tranquillity and solitude. Adrift is a unique film experience.

‘”Adrift” is a love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area. I chased it for over two years to capture the magical interaction between the soft mist, the ridges of the California coast and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. This is where “Adrift” was born. The weather conditions have to be just right for the fog to glide over the hills and under the bridge. I developed a system for trying to guess when to make the drive out to shoot, which involved checking the weather forecast, satellite images and webcams multiple times a day. For about 2 years, if the weather looked promising, I would set my alarm to 5am, recheck the webcams, and then set off on the 45-minute drive to the Marin Headlands. I spent many mornings hiking in the dark to only find that the fog was too high, too low, or already gone by the time I got there. Luckily, once in a while the conditions would be perfect and I was able to capture something really special. Adrift is a collection of my favorite shots from these excursions into the ridges of the Marin Headlands.’  Simon Christen


You can follow Jimmy LaValle’s work here and get a free copy of the song: on.fb.me/1b6c6gy

Nokta . (2010)

August 1, 2013 0 Uncategorized

Created by Onur Senturk
Sound: ECHOLAB Gavin Little

Nokta . (Nokta is Turkish for dot) is an abstract short film by Turkish filmmaker Onur Senturk. Created using Realflow, 3ds Max, Mudbox, and After Effects, Nokta . is a treat to watch, stunning visuals and effects. The soundtrack by Gavin Little is a perfect accompaniment to the cinematography.

A film about the making of Nokta . can be seen here.

“I see some correspondence between the foundation of universal harmony on elliptical orbit and the predilection for the elliptic forms in Baroque architecture. In both cases harmony is still defined as unity within multiplicity, but it ceased to be static, namely, harmony expressed in one ideal geometrical form, and became so to speak dynamic. What was previously regarded as the deviation from the ideal form, was comprehended for the first time as an integral part of the form, or form of forms, which are capable of endless transitions one into another. ‘ [Amos Funkenstein, The Dialectical Preparation of Scientific Revolutions. On the Role of Hypothetical Reasoning in the Emergence of Copernican Astronomy and Galilean Mechanics.” Onur Senturk