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We’re doing a Q&A at University of Worcester

Louis and I will be doing a talk and panel at University of Worcester this Sunday 16th November. We’ll be showing some films, chatting and answering questions about animation and how we work as Dice Productions. Joining us will be friend and bearded wonder Steven Spencer of Nice Monster.

The talk is 11am-1pm on Sunday 16 November at The Chapel CHG012 & CHG014, City Campus, Worcester.

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LOCO Film Festival 2013

presenting award to Tooty's wedding

We had a great time at the London Comedy Film Festival. LOCO’s only just finished its second year but it has the slickness of an established veteran festival. As well having a packed programme there’s a friendly buzz about the entire time, making it a pleasure to mingle and chat to anybody.

We had the honour of judging and presenting the LOCO Discovery Short Award. Our agenda was based on how strong the entries were as “films” as well as how funny they were. That’s an almost impossible balance to strike so we had a huge amount of respect for everyone who made the shortlist. In the end Tooty’s Wedding was the winner.

Here’s us on stage with Ben Thompson (Executive Producer), LOCO’s Denise Hicks, Ben Willbond (Producer/Writer/Actor), Fred Casella (Producer/Director), and a plate.

Tooty photo

Here’s the trailer for Tooty’s Wedding:

 

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Earlier on in the week I also went along to a preview screening and Q&A of A Liar’s Autobiography. The film is a sweet animated tribute to Graham Chapman, voiced by the late-parrot himself, along with most of the Python crew. As far as I know it is the biggest animation collaboration of its kind for a feature film.

There’s more details about the making of at ProjectChapman3D.com. We’ve also managed to help organise a Liar’s Autobiography event as part of the Flatpack Festival. More details this way.

 

 

 

The Philosophy of Man In A Cat

On Wednesday Man In A Cat had the indulgent pleasure of being discussed and having the philosophy of it explored by Carla MacKinnon & Scott Biagi as part of the Looking In, Looking Out Film Festival.

I was mainly interested in what they had to say because there is actually some philosophy among all the poo jokes, which is why the film equally gets remarked as “disturbing” and “heartwarming”.

Here’s them chatting about it. Apologies for the Count Crapular filming. I arrived late so filmed surreptitiously from the back of the hall. That’s me calling out at the end like a jilted lover at a wedding. I went on stage and chatted some more about the philosophy behind the film, but stupidly didn’t record the audio.

On stage I was given a quick checkover to make sure no one was in my eye and then I gave my account of things.

One of the starting points for making Man In A Cat into a proper story was actually Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (Yeah, we got Greek on this shit). That idea being that if someone was shackled facing the wall of a cave and had only ever seen the shadows of real things, how would they deal with seeing the real world, and then how would he be received by people who live like he used to. Man In A Cat definitely isn’t as mind bending as that, but by living through the eyes of something else he is living behind a glaze and is going to struggle to adapt otherwise.

Man In A Cat is also a bit of a statement on love. You can be in love without finding a soulmate, every relationship isn’t perfect and often people are drawn to people they’re not compatible with. Yorkie only really gets with Susan because she’s one of his kind and awakens some sympathy in him. They’re purposefully not shown as being happily-ever-after because, as Carla put it, relationships made in traumatic situations don’t last.

So you see, every one of those anus jokes was just mis-direction… They weren’t… Or were they?… No.

Anyway, I enjoyed myself. The atmosphere at the screening was made particularly friendly and curious by the fact that most of the films had at least an element of comedy about them. Which I think was a really clever turn, initially because it feels absurd, but then because you realise that comedy can carry a lot of weight and that’s what makes comedy so special.

Scott Biagi also looks EXACTLY like Robert Popper.

 

 

 

Annecy Round up

It’s been over a week since I got back from my first trip to Annecy and I’m still feeling a little topsy-turvy. By all accounts this happens to most people and that’s exactly why I forced myself along to possibly the world’s best animation gathering.

One of the best parts of the Festival was bumping into so many people from the animation industry who I’ve known for ages but have never actually met in real life. This was particularly easy to do in a tiny medieval town playing host to a relatively small industry of enthusiastic obsessives. The serendipitous fun was also fuelled by manic screenings, friendly hangout areas, private parties, pedalos, delicious food, wine, and occasional blasts of sunshine.

Thanks to Jess Ashman I found myself as part of a Scottish stronghold with Elaine McElroy from Red Kite, and fellow ECA alumni, Hazel Leszczynska and Will ‘Festival Smasher’ Anderson. Another highlight included accidentally having lunch with Peter Lord, Peter Peake (who had Pythagasaurus in competition), Sara Barbas and Rumpus‘ Joe Wood (Even if it did cost me a screening of Secret Fort Mount Awesome). It was also a pleasure hanging out with Anna Humphries and Gena Buto.

It’s difficult not to be gushing when this was the setting:

FILMS!

This year the focus was on Irish animation, which meant I was introduced to jaw-achingly good An Inside Job made by Aidan Hickey in 1987. I’ve kept the image from the programme as a motivational poster for when I’m brushing my teeth.

The film I was most looking forward to was the felt oddity, Oh Willy… by Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels. It stood up to my expectations:

Étude is Ania Hazel Leszczynska‘s SECOND graduation film. It’s funny, beautiful and has some of the best character animation and set ups I’ve seen from multiplane animation.

The Making Of Longbird by Will Anderson won Best Graduation Film and is scooping up prizes around the world. That man’s going to go far:

Extracto de Lagrima by former Gobelins and CalArts alumni, and now Pixar animator, Carlo Vogele. Here’s him talking about the trials making a dead fish sing.

Tram by Michaela Pavlátová was the big winner of the festival, despite her protests otherwise.


And finally, this wasn’t the first or last Gimp on a leash I saw in Annecy. Maybe there was a convention. Also, why is that man with the sunglasses buried up to his neck? His girlfriend looks worried. Too many questions.

 

 

Looking In, Looking Out: A Festival of Philosophy & Film


Man In A Cat is set to be philosophically dissected at Looking In, Looking Out: A Festival Of Philosophy & Fim at the Conway Hall on Wednesday 4 July, 6.30pm!

London Short Film Festival‘s Philip Illson has programmed a selection of shorts and Rich Pickings will invite a speaker to discuss the issues selected in the films, approaching them from various positions. Afterwards, Julian Baggini will be arguing the moral philosophy of the Coen Brothers, followed by a screening of Fargo.

A lot of theory and rumination went into all the silliness that the film turned out to be so it’ll be interesting to see if anyone picks up on that.

Doors at 6pm. *Book your tickets here!*

 

9th-11th Feb: BAA Public Choice Voting Screenings

We’ve teamed up with Animation Forum WM and The Light House to host the British Animation Awards Public Choice screenings in Birmingham!

As part of the British Animation Awards, several voting screenings take place nationwide to decide the Public Choice Award. The programme is a mixture of BAA’s shortlisted short films, music videos and commercials made over the past two years. There are three programmes taking place and will be a great chance to meet other animators and filmmakers over a free drink.

The screenings will take place from 7pm on 9th, 10th and 11th February at The Custard Factory Theatre, Digbeth.

You can buy your tickets below or go to the Eventbrite Page and check out the full listings there.

 

As you would hope the line up looks incredibly strong and I can’t wait to see some festival winners that I’ve missed so far. On Saturday 11th, the Brummie massive will be representing, with Man In A Cat and Second Home’s Pilsner Urquell advert competing.

Here’s some stills from the programmes:

Best of ABP 2011 L.A. Screening

Man In A Cat has its first Los Angeles showing at around 1.30pm, Sunday 4th December at The Silent Movie Theatre. It’ll be screening just before ABP’s L.A. Draw: Los Angeles Animators Panel and Brunch which is at 2pm.

The event is part of Cinefamily’s Animation Breakdown 2011 Festival which is being co-hosted by Animation Block Party and Cartoon BrewMan In A Cat is there as part of ABP’s ‘Best Of…’ selection.

The screening looks like loads of fun, being a showcase of exciting LA-based animators and including a panel discussion with animators from Adventure Time and The Life And Times Of Tim. I really like that Man In A Cat has a chance to stand out on its own before such a great show, rather than being hidden in the main Best of ABP screening. Normal festival screenings are great, but every one we’re at gets overshadowed by festival sweepers Eagleman Stag and/or A Morning Stroll.

The whole of Animation Breakdown looks great. There’s an overall Polish theme, a personal appearance from Don Hertzfeldt to complete his “Bill” Trilogy, and a host of lost Walt Disney silent Laugh-O-Grams compiled by Jerry Beck.

Leeds and Reading Popcorn Comedy

We ran Popcorn Comedy at Leeds and Reading this year and it was a blast. Carly Smallman and Jonni Music (aka Thomas Nelstrop) were our acts, with Carly doing an incredible job as compere.

We were a bit apprehensive at first about our slots of 12pm and 11.30am, but they turned out to be the perfect times. Hungover festival goers had enough time to stumble over to the tent and we were early enough not to be competing against the noise of the other tents. The relatively pleasant weather meant everyone who came to the tent were really positive about being there, rather than just to shelter from the rain. We’re still pumped from Buttery Biscuit Bass.

 

We’re not 100% sure when our next Birmingham Popcorn will be but check out the Facebook group for future notice. Meanwhile, here’s some snaps:

Great crowd in Leeds

Worst seat in the house.

Vin Deisel having the worst day ever.

Motovun Film Festival

It’s going to be a busy next week for Man In A Cat with screenings at Rushes Soho Shorts, Animation Block Party and Motovun.

Motovun Film Festival is set in the small medieval town of Motovun in Croatia. It’s a pretty beefy festival with 10,000s of people attending and some big prizes up for grabs. The shorts category is a smaller part of the festival, but we made the top 24 selection out of 653 shorts entries. We also now know how to say “Man In A Cat” in Croatian, “Muškarac u macki.”

Here’s a video from last years festival where you’ll spot special guest Terry Jones and err… Hardeep Singh Kohli.

Look at it it! Look how lovely it is!

Animation Block Party

Man In A Cat has got its way into Animation Block Party in Brooklyn! It sounds like a lot of fun, with all the screenings taking place outside and on rooftops. Here’s the full program:http://animationblock.com/summerfest2011/

We’ll be showing at the opening night on Friday, July 29th at the Automotive High School.

Barbara Benas, who did a bit of animation on the film, also has a film in the program. So it looks like we have a couple of tickets to give away…