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ColourBleed (2011)

March 13, 2014 0 drama

Written and directed by Peter Szewczyk
In association with BBC Film Network and BBC HD
Produced by Light + Mathematics

ColourBleed is set in Krakow, Poland, but the dialogue is in English. A young girl, a graffiti artist, tries to bring colour into the ineffably monochrome world around her. Even the way she dresses reflects this – her colourful, alternative style seems to be an act of personal rebellion against the greyness and uniformity of the bleak-looking cityscape. She encounters two opposite entities – a brightly coloured hummingbird, and an elderly woman, a bureaucrat gifted with the sinister power to quite literally drain the colour from people.

The film is beautifully shot with state-of-the-art CGI. Powerful metaphors are brought to life before our eyes. The conflict and contrast is essentially between two opposing forces – the hummingbird, a force for creativity, freedom of expression and spirit – and the malevolent official, who represents everything that is antithetical to art – bureaucracy, repression and control.

ColourBleed won Special Jury Prize at the Sitges International Film Festival, Best Short Film at the Fantasporto Film Festival, and Best International Short at the Hollyshorts Film Festival.

One Man’s Loss (2013)

March 4, 2014 0 comedy

Written and directed by Philip Sansom
Produced by Richard Weager
Director of Photography Ross McLennan

Starring a wonderfully cast Jeremy Mitchell, Tracy Feith and Hande Kodja playing the sultry French-speaking love interest, One Man’s Loss is a neat little comic short about the twists of fate that befall a tramp who, after crossing the path of a thoroughly unlikeable yuppie (Mitchell) treads on a shard of broken glass. What happens next is a reversal of fortunes that see our intitally hapless hobo (Feith) end up the winner of the piece. Philip Sansom, the writer and director, also directed and co-wrote award-winning short The Black Hole.

Great soundtrack at the beginning and end of this one!

Sebastian’s Voodoo (2008)

February 14, 2014 0 animation, drama

Created by animator Joaquin Baldwin
Music by Nick Fevola

Sebastien’s Voodoo is the brief tale of one courageous voodoo doll in a collection, who decides to save his other imprisoned friends from the gruesome fate which awaits them at the hands of their (human?) tormentor. A dark, dark story with a bright ending, this superbly executed animation has it all; a great story, tension, a protagonist we root for. One look at the overwhelming list of screenings and awards Sebastian’s Voodoo got shows the film, unsurprisingly, made a big impression on judging panels and viewers across the world. It was created at the UCLA Animation Workshop

Joaquin Baldwin was born in Paraguay but now lives in Los Angeles, California and works for the Walt Disney studios.

More of Joaquin’s work can be seen here: http://www.pixelnitrate.com.

The Sinners – Los Pecadores (2007)

January 30, 2014 0 animation, comedy

Created by Pablo Polledri
Music by David Simons

Los Pecadores, or The Sinners, is a short animation by Argentinian director and animator Pablo Polledri about the seven deadly sins. The Pecadores are represented as characters acting out their natures as they are all thrown together in a lord of the flies type situation. They interact with each other in all manner of amusing and horrifying ways in what becomes a war of attrition.

See more of Pablo’s work at http://www.maniacplanet.com.ar/.

VICE Meets Glenn Greenwald: Snowden’s Journalist of Choice (2014)

January 24, 2014 0 documentary

In 2013, a team from VICE magazine travelled to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to interview American journalist and author Glenn Greenwald, the man responsible for breaking the biggest news story that year via the Guardian newspaper. He has worked closely with former NSA employer and whistleblower Edward Snowden to report on the NSA’s secret and unconstitutional programmes of mass surveillance. A former lawyer, Glenn Greenwald has an extremely sharp mind and in this absorbing interview, he explains the reasons behind his decision to work with Snowden and talks about some of the most pertinent and important issues of our time: privacy and freedom of expression. The interview goes deeper than a simple account of what happened in 2013 – Greenwald explains what exactly privacy means to the individual, and why it is so important for us in order to flourish as creative, free human beings

Miracle of Flight (1974)

January 17, 2014 0 animation, comedy

Written and directed by Terry Gilliam.

Terry Gilliam, who began his career as a cartoonist, was part of the Monty Python team and his animations characterised the shows, appearing as vignettes in between sketches. The image of a huge foot coming down to crush everything is a well-known one, and typical of the surrealist style and content of many of these wonderful animated pieces.

Miracle of Flight, produced in 1974, is about humans striving for the ability to fly like birds (or, indeed, a Boeing 707) and embarking on numerous unsuccessful attempts to get, and remain airborne using all manner of imaginative methods, including tar and bird feathers, cliffs, a bird costume and many more.

Minneapolis-born  Gilliam went on to direct several feature films including Brazil in 1985, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen in 1988, Twelve Monkeys in 1995 and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus in 2009. Like his animated work, his films often have fantastical, highly imaginative themes and styles.

In 1999, Gilliam attempted to realise a long-held ambition to make a film about Don Quixote (The Man Who Killed Don Quixote), starring Johnny Depp, but production was beset by disaster included the star getting a hernia, flooding causing expensive damage to sets and filming equipment, and various other mishaps. All was not, however, in vain – archive footage from the doomed production was used to make the fascinating documentary Lost In La Mancha.

Sunlight (2010)

January 10, 2014 0 comedy, music

‘Sunlight’ is a music video for the song of the same title by music duo Bag Raiders, formed in 2006 by Jack Glass and Chris Stracey from Sydney. The video was directed by Fleur and Manu and produced by Division.

When a beautiful girl develops a crush on a chimpanzee, she releases him from captivity. We see their relationship go through various stages, all to the rhythm of a fantastically catchy and cheerful song. The video humorously explores numerous relationship themes including love at first sight, trust, jealousy, separation and loss, reconciliation, taking loved ones for granted – even inter-species love. Okay, don’t take that last one too seriously. Enjoy!

8 (2010)

January 4, 2014 0 comedy, drama

Written and directed by Aćim Vasić
Produced by Turbulence Films
Starring Nicky Naudé, Guillaume Tavi
Music by Stribor Kusturica

8 is an award-winning short film by Serbian director Aćim Vasić, centered around two soliders in a setting resembling something like a Siberian forest. One is a downed pilot, the other a soldier from the opposing side who takes the stricken pilot captive. The story follows the two men in what ultimately becomes a game of wits, and a guessing game for the audience. Although the subject matter appears anything but light-hearted, and the film certainly has a brutal gravity to it, it isn’t without humour. Produced by Swiss production company Turbulence Films, 8 won best short at the 2010 Monfilmfest in Italy, and has screened at many film festivals and received many nominations.

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.