Sunday, August 22, 2010

Baby stripes

Friday at work, we had a surprise baby shower for my business partner Mike and his wife Kate. He had to guess who the present was from by the baby picture attached. 

This was the only one I could find of myself. He didn't guess at first. But then I realised there was a clue - it seems I've been obsessed with stripes from an early age. 

Mood painting for Khumba by Daniel Clarke


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Anima Mundi - 3/6

(Read Day 1 and Day 2 of my Anima Mundi experience.)

On my third day in Rio, the morning session was going to be in Portuguese, so after a lie-in, the usual hotel buffet and a quick swim on Copacabana beach, Daniel Greaves and I took a trip up Sugar loaf. 

sketch © Daniel Greaves

As we'd say in Zambezia, it was amah-zing! Perfect weather, and it was great to spend time chatting to Daniel surrounded by the incredible view. Madi Piller (head of Toronto Animated Image Society) and Alberto Iglesias from Filmax also joined us. Once we'd had our fill of the sights, we then filled our bellies with a massive lunch in an old area near the base of sugar loaf. 

That night Daniel gave his talk and we got to see his Oscar-winning short Manipulation as well as a number of other fantastic clips from his short films and adverts.


Afterwards, we were all taken to a 3-story antique shop by day, buzzing restaurant by night. The obligatory caipirinhas combined with some great live music ended up in a raucous evening that ended up in me breaking my camera. Face, bothered?


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Anima Mundi - 2/6

Day 2 began with a masterclass by multiple award winner Andy Malcolm a foley artist with over four hundred films to his name. An avid Lewis Carrol fan, Andy showed us some clips from Alice in Wonderland that showed the subtleties of his work on the film. He even brought along the well-worn shoes he used to make Alice walk - a pair of women's shoes cut open and covered in duct tape.

Although it can't help a bad script, sound is so crucial in animation. But through audience participation putting foley sounds to a live action and an animated clip Andy inspired us to see that you can do it yourself - and it's fun! 

One of the natural talents from the audience - especially with his perfectly timed rooster crow - was Meton Joffily. A Brazilian graffiti artist, Meton later showed me his incredible pitch package for an animated series he's developed.

illustration by Meton

After a late, two-hour long lunch (both of which I was to discover is the norm) I went to meet my sister Jess who flew up from Buenos Aires to join me for the weekend. Although not from the world of animation, even she enjoyed the evening's talk by two-time Oscar nominee Cordell Barker from Winnipeg, Canada. 

My first introduction to Cordell's work was at Annecy last year where he won a prize for Runaway.

A surprisingly good-natured and amiable man, Cordell showed us the films that had the most influence on him as well as his own three prize-winning films where the influence could be seen - but each time still resulted in a highly original and entertaining film. I was glad to finally see his first film The Cat Came Back and I was also pleased with myself to spot one of the hidden messages which he flashes in his films. And I have to say it again, but what a nice man.

sketch © Cordell Barker

The more all of us hung out - yes, that night was accompanies with a few rounds of caipirinhas - the more I realised these are my type of people and that small talk doesn't always have to be difficult. OK, maybe that was just the caipirinhas talking. 

pic courtesy Madi Piller - from left: Daniel Greaves, Maureen Furniss (CalArts), Andy Malcolm, Stephanie Betts (DHX media), Pierina, me, Jess, Cordell, Jordi Grangel.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Anima Mundi - 1/6

After a looong flight from CT, I was picked up by Pierina who - along with Tania, Veronica and Adelya - proved to be an invaluable guide throughout my time in Rio. Since I landed at night, however I only realised quite how lucky I was when I woke up and peeked out my hotel room window to see the sun rise over Copacabana and the distinctive Sugarloaf mountain. Wow. Cape Town, but better.

View from our hotel room - photo by Jess

One massive buffet breakfast later, I went to the first in a series of master-classes. Unfortunately there was no English translation, but Jordi Grangel - one of the brothers of Barcelona's Grangel Studios - gave a fantastic presentation of character and production design work from Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.

It was incredible to see the attention to detail and to see how precisely the drawings were translated into 3-dimensional models. The quality of work was truly amazing and it's no doubt why Dreamworks uses them on all of their features too.

While I waited for the next talk, I looked around a fantastic exhibition by Ziraldo in the cultural centre - a grand old bank where everything takes place. I'd never heard of him, but he is apparently a well-known Brazilian artist, author and comic illustrator who has been active for several decades. This exhibition featured some really funny pop art-style paintings of various superheroes in amusing scenes.

I also met with Lea Zagury, one of the four directors of the festival. It was great to finally chat face-to-face after meeting through Facebook of all places. Originally an animator, Lea could see that what we are doing at Animation SA is what the team at Anima Mundi did a few years ago - and looking at the festival now - it was inspiring!

Lea introducing Stephen

The second talk was a question and answer session with Stephen Hillenburg - creator of Spongebob Squarepants. I knew all my colleagues would be so envious hearing about the originations of Spongebob, but hopefully they'll get to hear it for themselves as Stephen has said he'd be interested in coming out to Cape Town with his family in the future!

After a quick hotel stop to change I was shuttled off to a massive movie theatre to introduce the SA animation showcase. I had no idea what to expect and pessimistically wondered what would happen if no one pitched? But I was pleasantly surprised by the turn-out (it was full!) and they all seemed impressed by the showcase - one journalist I later spoke to said it was her favourite :)

A page from the catalogue

So, my job already done on the first day, I could then relax at the networking dinner hosted by Andre Breitman of 2DLab. It was good to meet some of the other internationals in the group as well as those in the Brazilian industry, most notably Guilherme Marcondes the talent behind Tyger, the only Brazilian animation I'd heard of before (check out some of his videos here).

After a long day - with jet lag to boot - I was in need of sleep, but as I was soon to find out, this would be the norm, and besides, a couple caipirinhas really do the trick.

 sketch © Guilherme Marcondes


Anima Mundi - Rio in 6 days

Last week I had the privilege of attending Anima Mundi animation festival in beautiful Rio de Janiero. I've only been to one festival before (check my blog on Annecy here), but this experience was in a different league and I think it'll be difficult to top... This time, I was invited as a guest of the festival as a representative of Animation SA after putting together a South African showcase which highlighted some of the best animated work from the last 2 decades (thanks to Michel for all the edit work!) 

I figured the best way to get my experience across is to break it down day-by-day, so read on: