Jan 2 / Paul Paul

NOWHERE LINE: VOICES FROM MANUS ISLAND

“AFTER THREE MONTHS I BOARDED A SMALL FISHING BOAT, UNFORTUNATELY AT THE BEGINNING OF THE JOURNEY TO AUSTRALIA OUR BOAT STARTED TO SINK INTO THE SEA, AND WE HAD TO STRUGGLE WITH THE THOUGHT OF DEATH FOR 40 HOURS…WE LOST HOPE AND ACCEPTED THAT WE WILL DIE IN THAT ENDLESS MOMENT WHICH EVERYBODY WAS EXHAUSTED AND FELT HOPELESS…

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Nowhere Line: Voices from Manus Island is an animated short film, which tells the stories of two men, currently detained in Australia’s notorious Manus Island Processing Centre. In October 2014, director Lukas Schrank, made phone contact with the men, who were able to tell their stories from within the compound. Their interviews offer a chilling insight into the reality of life for the 2200 people currently being held in Australia’s offshore detention centres. The production design looks stunning and reminiscent in style of the oscar nomminated and widely acclaimed Waltz with Bashir.  

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The animation is being crafted using a combination of analogue and digital techniques, to create scenes that are visually rich and cinematic, but are also stylised and have a handmade quality to them that communicates the human side of the stories being told. Hundreds of hand-drawn textures have been created – these are mapped onto 3D models of each scene, and then rendered to include realistic light, shadows and perspective. Video reference of each scene was recorded to allow the animators to give realistic movement to the characters, which are drawn frame-by-frame and composited into the scenes.

As story that NEEDS to be told and which needs YOUR help ! You can head to their Pozible campaign page and donate any amount to help the team reach their goal knowing that some of the money raised will also go on sending items such as novels, language books, portable DVD players, toys and textbooks to the detainees. To help make their life a bit better.

Dec 22 / Alex

The Fall of THQ

Video game news site Polygon have put together an in depth look at the downfall of THQ. Australia was once a hub for game developers with almost a dozen international companies having major studios in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. The GFC saw almost all of these studios shut down sending hundreds of artists packing. Polygon’s article has some rare insights into how THQ in particular fell a part. Having heard rumours for years now, its really interesting to hear a broader view of the situation.

On a side note this is a great format for long/medium form journalism too. It’s hard to find the time to read in depth articles on line but a podcast style format is quite digestible.  Nice one Polygon. You can see the full text version with illustrations here.

Dec 1 / Paul Paul

Airbnb calls on Cirkus for amazing hand-made ad

Completely in love with this wonderful one take ad by Kiwi Animation House, Cirkus who took on the challenge of helping Airbnb make the world a little bit smaller. Christian Greet and Norman Yeend, backed by a talented team, created this epic miniature 60 second train ride showcasing that wherever you go with Airbnb, you can make yourself right at home.

“To tick all of the boxes for Airbnb’s target market, Cirkus needed to ensure that the journey would be whimsical, dreamlike, artistic and fantastic, just as travelling can be. With this aesthetic in mind, the team settled on a hand/home made approach utilising out-of-the-box mechanical transitions to take the viewer from one environment into the next. This train ride has been filmed as one long take, with everything happening in-camera without the use of any CG imagery.”

View the grand spectacle below and be sure to check out the making-of video to truly appreciate the gargantuan effort it took to produce.

Advertising Agency: TBWA\Singapore
Creative Director: Gary Steel
Art Director: Nuno Teixeira
Copywriter: James Holmes
Production: Six Toes TV Singapore
Executive Producer: Haydn Evans
Production House: Cirkus Film
Director: Christian Greet
Producer: Marko Klijn

Nov 6 / Paul Paul

Dropbear for John Butler Trio


This week’s find comes from Jonathan Chong aka Dropbear, a wonderful Melbourne director and animator who has worked on a number of award winning videos such as Hudson and Troop’s Against The Grain.

His latest video is for none other than John Butler Trio ‘Spring To Come’, the opening track from their acclaimed ‘Flesh & Blood’ album released earlier this year.

 

The stop motion video music video was animated by Dropbear while in collaboration with fellow Melbourne based illustrator Snip Green who provided the visual style for this beautiful interpretation of the song.

“It took hundreds of hours to create with painstaking detailed minuscule movements of each artistic piece.”

 

Nov 4 / Paul Paul

Sausage by Robert Grieves

Multi Award winning Short Animation sizzles with anticipation on the eve the Oscar shortlist

With the Academy preparing to announce its shortlist for Best Animated Short Film, SAUSAGE, one of this years Oscar hopefuls gears up to premiere online. This independent production created between Australia and Britain just launched yesterday (Monday the 3rd November)  after a successful festival circuit accumulating eight international prizes and Oscar qualification.

The entirely self funded and animated six minute film, Robert Grieves’s first narrative creation, has swept up an impressive number of top international awards and gained selection to first choice Australian festivals, Flickerfest and Melbourne International Animation Festival (both festivals touring Australia with the film). Winning ‘Best Animation’ at Foyle Film Festival in Northern Ireland secured SAUSAGE its coveted place on the Oscars consideration list

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With a fine blend of adult and children’s humour, the film explores topical food ethics as it tells of the battle between two artisan market sellers and a slick new fast food vendor, a metaphor for the supermarket giants who threaten the future of local suppliers. With Australia’s two biggest supermarkets holding 70% of the market, this retro looking film explores a very contemporary debate.

Oct 28 / Alex

Munch by Zoomtoons

Munch is the new independent webseries produced by Sydney duo- Zoomtoons.

The 2 person studio consists of Cam Ralf (animator and voice artist) and Zoe Harrington (writer). The pair have set them selves the gargantuan task of completing an episode every two weeks, no mean feat considering they are a completely independent outfit.. The episodes are great little stories and I’m enjoying seeing the formula evolve with each episode.

Recently I got to ask the pair about how they came to start the series and who munch really is.

Cam: I’ve loved cartoons for as long as I can remember. I grew up watching them to death and I’ve always wanted to make my own; to voice the characters; and to make people laugh. To have the chance to show people my own ideas and engage them is really exciting for me. After creating several animated shorts for YouTube and gaining some moderate feedback, I decided to sit down and design a new character and a brand new web series.
Zoe: When Cam and I met, we immediately bonded over productions such as The Simpsons, Pinky and the Brain and the great Ren and Stimpy. The 90s style of cartoons in particular will become a clear influence for Munch as the series develops. We had experimented with a couple of ideas for animation shorts but they were too complicated for two people to produce regularly- also we just didn’t love them. We love Munch like a little blue child. Cam dragged Munch from the recesses of his brain- we dusted him off and threw him into a cartoon universe which we continue to develop.
Cam: To be honest, we’re not exactly sure what Much is. He could be an alien, he could be from another dimension, or a lost experiment. Not knowing exactly who or what he is adds a lot to the magic of his character. It allows the audience to make up their own minds, which in turn helps build his world even more.
Munch is a little guy with a big heart and a limitless world to explore!

View all the episodes so far on the Zoomtoons Youtube channel right here.

Oct 21 / Phil

Warm reception for Winter

Winter is the latest animated short from Damian Gascoigne.

It was created in response to music written by award-winning Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin and was designed to accompany a live performance by the Australian Piano Quartet.

One of the challenges of creating an animated piece to be screened while musicians play for an audience is to think about synchronising the music and the images.

I allowed for discrepancy in timing that is bound to happen with live music performance, and let new synch points emerge through the playing — Damian Gascoigne

Using the recurring motif of frosty breath lingering in a sparse, cold environment, Gascoigne combined hand-drawn elements which were then scanned and manipulated digitally.

Damian Gascoigne runs the Bachelor of Design in Animation program at UTS and you can find more of Damian Gascoigne’s work on his Vimeo page.

Sep 24 / Paul Paul

Mighty Nice for Fandangles

Sydney’s Mighty Nice is behind this sweet 3D animated campaign for Peters Fandangles. Alex Grigg and Darren Price directed.