Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Animated Events: TAAFI 2024 Film Fest, pt.3

Friday's events were mostly mixers and meet-and-greets. When I heard that there was going to be limited numbers of passholders allowed to these events, I took a pass. Better to let students or animators looking for work in the Toronto area to attend. I've always felt welcome at TAAFI events, but if they have to limit the attendees, I'd rather see the locals get preference.

Instead, I walked around Toronto and saw a couple old sights. Had lunch at Ginger. Bought a game at 401 then it was off to the Royal Ontario Museum. There's always something interesting to see at the ROM but I always stop to see the gemstone exhibits and dinosaur bones while I'm there.

Quartz variety: amethyst, from Bolivia

"Leaf" necklace, gold and diamond

The massive Futalognkosaurus skeleton 

As always, I took a lot of good reference photos while I was there, but was struck by the fact that I really need to get back to sketching when I'm at museums--draw in the moment as it were, instead of hoping that I'll use the photo references to draw later.

Went back to the hotel for a quick nap before dinner. But not many of the restaurants that I enjoy were on this side of the city so it was worth trying something new. There was a restaurant called "Pigot's Burger Club" that sounded interesting. Turns out though that they served their food through a local bar. No worries. There was room for one at the bar and they took good care of me. The food was awesome and noone complained about me watching cartoons on my phone. Afterwards, I discovered this little hole-in-the-wall cafe with exquisite crepes!

One chocolate crepe and a strawberry juice later, yeah, I'm definitely coming back to Melt n Dip next time I'm in town.

On the walk back to the hotel, I was reminded that one of the things that makes Toronto so appealing to me is that there is art worth looking at everywhere you go.

Mural at Sansotei Ramen

Saturday was a full day of screenings that would end with a feature. It was the big day at TAAFI, for me anyways. The day was jam packed with animated short film screenings, capped off with the North American premiere of Mars Express. I was on pins and needles all day waiting to see this feature and I have to say that Mars Express exceeded all of my expectations. I was looking for an experience similar to when I watched Love Death and Robots or Technotoise, Edit y ja for the first time and I was not disappointed.

The film was a dystopian look at society's struggle between humans and robots on a colonized Mars--all told through the eyes of a war-weary detective and her partner, a robot who is the backup copy of her fellow soldier, long since killed in battle. This film is coming out on DVD through GKIDS, so I won't spoiler it, but hopefully the trailer below will whet your appetite.

I'll end this post with a couple more stand-out films that I saw over the weekend. As they work their way through the festival circuit, these are the ones that I think are well worth your while to track down, be it in a festival or when they're posted online.

I'm Hip, a short film by John Musker--the writer and director of such Disney classics as the Little Mermaid and Hercules. I'm Hip was a cute musical number that definitely lived up to the hype.

Delete Machine by Charlotte Ledwidge was a hilarious gag film with excellent timing and a great payoff. Would love to show this film in a class that teaches comedy.

Fried by Melina C was another cute film, this time about a raccoon who gets caught in a fast food restaurant. It was filled with decent character and background designs and character animation.

Side Sidemi by Zoe Medcraft was all about ants gathering food told to a jaunty musical score. I really liked the character design and character animation on this one. Also liked the overall design/visual style. There were no arms or legs to any of the characters, just the bodies, hands, and feet going through the motions as you expect they would. Reminded me of Evelyn Lambart's animation style and her film Fine Feathers.

Then there was The 7th Night: MaoMao Visits by Ah Loong. This heartbreaking tale of a boy and his cat explored the Buddhist concept of spirits from the recently deceased visiting their loved ones on the seventh night from their passing in order to provide a measure of closure.

Well, I would've loved to stay in town a little longer, but had to run to Ann Arbor for an impromptu family reunion before everyone drove to Ohio to see the eclipse. But yeah. TAAFI is always worth a visit!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Animated Events: TAAFI 2024 Film Fest, pt.2

Thursday morning arrived a little sooner that I expected. I awoke to the sounds of cars, construction, and people--the typical sounds of a big city. Was immediately reminded that I still need to finish watching Walter Ruttman's Berlin: Symphony of a Great City before the Fall semester. If I'm going to recommend a film (or talk about it) with my students, I like to have watched it myself in its entirety. Only real downside to watching these silent films though is confronting the question: do I stick with the musical score that's on the uploaded video or do I turn the sound off and focus on the visuals? There are so many lessons to be learned from these old movies from the dawn of film. We grow up unconsciously knowing the "rules of film editing" because they are so prevalent in our media today. But back then, Soviet Montage Theory was in its infancy and people were making up the rules as they went along (mostly from what worked with stage productions). One thing I love doing is showing students the films of Georges Méliès with his elaborate sets and trickfilm special effects and then showing them how the same principles were used in portions of Enya's music video Caribbean Blue. Thoughts for another day, I suppose.

My plans for that day were to meet up with Lynn Dana Wilton for lunch and then head out to the evening screening. However, I still had lots of time before that... and I "was" a couple blocks walk from Toronto's Museum of Illusions, so...

Wow was that fun. Now I freely admit, it'd probably be a more fun experience with two people--some of the exhibits are pretty tricky to navigate when you're on your own. But the staff were very helpful so I wouldn't avoid a visit if you have a solitary nature. And there's one in Chicago if you don't want to drive to Canada.

The exhibits were all hands-on and they played with perspective, mirrors, optical illusions, some traditional art tricks and more--see the "hole on the floor" video below.

I'll admit, I went there have a little fun, but one of the things that put the museum on my radar was seeing how some of these illusions have shown up in film over the past century or so. In my lectures, I discuss how we're seeing some of these illusions and techniques in modern day, only enhanced by new technology--like the 3d LED billboards in New York and over by Tokyo's Shinjuku Station, or the Pepper's Ghost "hologram" illusions in the Vocaloid concerts. As I tell my students: somewhere in history may be the solution to a problem you're having in your film, or it might hold the inspiration to your next film.

But speaking of film, I did have to get back to the hotel to meet up with Canadian filmmaker and stop-motion animator Lynn Dana Wilton. Tempus fugit.

Lunch was everything I hoped it would be. Lynn is a fascinating woman with a very storied career. I hadn't talked with her for a couple years due to the lockdowns, and we only had time to exchange 'hellos' last September at the Ottawa fest, so it was such a pleasant experience to sit there and really talk. We quickly got caught up on each other's lives and then launched into discussions about the state of the  animation industry, future trends for animation, and the teaching work we've done. When we finally looked at the clock, we'd been chatting non-stop for four hours. It felt like four minutes had gone by. We could've talked longer, but she had another meeting to get to and TAAFI awaited me at the Hot Docs Theater. The restaurant had been very patient with us so after we left a healthy tip and thanked the management and staff we parted ways.

It was off to the opening ceremonies and the first night's screening for me where I immediately ran into two old friends, artist/animators Pam Rose and Lynne Slater.

The next couple hours were a whirlwind as the film festival started strong with two programs: the Student Film Block followed by the appropriately named "Uplifting Shorts".

The films that really shone that night were Marc Salvatore LaJoie's End of the Line, Jennifer Wo's Mission Popo, ap-sol KANG's Meet Again JAHOE, Christina Woo's Pipe Dreams,  Sonia Furier's Ostinato, and Thomas van Kampen's Mixed Signals.

End of the Line was a touching film about a girl dealing with anxiety issues that come to a head when she loses her favorite fox toy.

Mission Popo. What a fun ride. I saw this in Ottawa last year and it was just as good the second time as it was the first. Hah! Noone messes with Grandma!

Meet Again JAHOE had a really nice visual style, especially in the otherworldly sequence. It definitely had some hints of Miyazaki in the design. I'd really like to watch this film again because I'm sure that I missed a lot of what was going on.

Pipe Dreams, a tale of bugs living in a rundown building told in the form of a reality tv show. Quirky and fun.

Now Ostinato, this was a beautiful and relatable tale of a woman struggling with her creativity as she tried to compose music while also trying to block out the noise that surrounds her.

The last film worthy of note was Mixed Signals, the story of a neurodivergent robot that struggles to fit into society. I had the chance to chat with the director Thomas van Kampen and his girlfriend Ariel afterwards. Turns out they were mutual friends with Pam. I had met them years ago before the lockdowns but it was just in passing. I'd honestly like to sit down with Thomas for a longer chat as he and I had a lot of the same experiences growing up. Even now as I grow older, I find that life is this constant assault on my senses that gets more and more difficult to block out. I saw a lot of myself in the little robot who was constantly getting overstimulated by all the sensory input. A very thought provoking film. After his festival run, I hope Thomas releases his film on Vimeo or YouTube. There's a lot of people who I think would really benefit from the conversation this film inspires.

Afterwards, I grabbed dinner on the way back to my hotel and settled in for the night. Yeh, today was better.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Animated Events: TAAFI 2024 Film Fest, pt.1

I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to Ottawa this year. 2024 is a Presidential election year here in the States and the last one was pretty crazy. Am still not sure if I should leave the country two months before a national election, even if it's only across the border into Canada. But fortunately, the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International was in the Spring and it has been far too long since I've experienced TAAFI in person. So I exercised a couple of vacation days, rented a car, and off I went to the Great White North.

The plan was to pick up a mid-sized car that morning, similar to my own, and head out to Toronto. I'd get there between 4 and 5 o'clock and check-in at the hotel. Yeah, I was overly optimistic. It was a beautiful sunny day without a cloud in the sky. But when we went to Enterprise, I discovered that Michigan Avenue had shut down and was torn up, so we had to figure out a backroads route to the rental company. Okay. I could deal with it. Next, the rental place was packed with people picking up rentals to go see the eclipse. Not a bad thing, actually had a pleasant chat with some college students from India who were driving to Niagara Falls to see the sights and stay for the eclipse. When it was my turn, I learned that I had been "upgraded" to a 2023 Ford Explorer. Not a big deal. I do prefer driving cars, but the Explorer is a really nice ride. Then they told me that I couldn't take it out of the country--even though I had been very open about obtaining the rental to go to Canada when I made the reservation. But, spoke to a manager and got the go-ahead to take it to Toronto--I think the fact that I had already purchased the extra 'anything happens to the car, I hand them the steering wheel and walk away' insurance package really worked in my favor. Downside about the Explorer was that the Bluetooth was buggy and when I went to pick up my luggage at the house, I learned that the USB plugs in the car weren't working--neither were the cigarette lighters. I had planned on listening to some audiobooks on the drive and I like to have the option to use the mapping app on my iPhone. Well, half-an-hour's worth of tinkering with the Explorer and I found that the USB-C plug did work, allowing me to play my music through the onboard entertainment system and recharge my smartphone. So I switched cables, gassed up the SUV, and I was on my way... about a half-hour after then I wanted to leave, but okay. Anxiety levels were being managed and I was on the road to Toronto. 

Pro tip: always record the gas tank level when you pick up the rental car!

Only other issue I found with the Explorer is that it needed a new drivers side wiperblade, but I didn't discover that until I was almost at Toronto and it wasn't bad enough for me to replace it myself. One really nice feature on the vehicle was that you could switch the digital speedometer from MPH to KPH with two clicks of a button on the steering wheel. Very nice! All-in-all, the Explorer was a really solid ride. As my car is reaching the end of its lifespan, I might consider buying one in the future.

As I hit the road, the day was looking up. Had no problem with customs at the Blue Water Bridge. And when I approached Toronto, it was raining, but not too bad. I made excellent time, arriving at downtown Toronto around 5 p.m. 

It became very apparent very quickly that I had been overly optimistic. Because of road closures due to repairs, traffic was backed up everywhere. It took me an hour to find an alternate route and make it to my hotel. An hour to make what was usually a 10 minute drive from the Gardnier Expressway exit. Memorizing the map ahead of time had paid off, kind of, but in the end, the construction had beaten me. I begrudgingly fired up the iPhone and burned some data at the international rates (*shudder*) to figure out where I was and how to make it to the hotel. I was pretty stressed out by the time I arrived. Now the Cambridge Suites? Top notch hotel. First class all the way. I'd gladly stay there again. Expedia really did me right. But navigating through Toronto on a rainy day, approaching dusk, with all that construction and the people walking around, yeah, not the driving experience I hope for.

A Toronto landmark no more.

Ah, but, I was there safe and sound. So I changed clothes, grabbed my umbrella, and walked down to the former location of Marche in order to see what had replaced the restaurant from my childhood. Hopefully, it would be a quality restaurant where I could get a bite to eat and forge some good memories. Maybe even become a new haunt for return trips. 

My hopes were dashed when I discovered that the whole section of the building was boarded up. Nothing had taken its place. Sad. Also meant that I had to find another place to eat. Well, I am kind of low-rent and I do enjoy a tasty burger, so I trudged through the rain (fighting the wind with my umbrella) over to Wahlburgers--only to find out that they had been shut down, despite the fact that their Google Maps entry said they were still open. "Will the last person to leave, please update the Google Business account?"

My mood was flagging as I walked back towards the hotel and found a Hero Burger on the way. Not bad. I had good memories of discovering Hero Burger with my brother many years ago. So I sat there and watched some anime on my smartphone while reminiscing about the first time Ted and I ate at the Hero Burger over on Spadina Avenue. But as I lay in bed and stared at the ceiling, I still wasn't sure if coming to Toronto was the right choice to make. At the very least, I thought that hopefully tomorrow would be better.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Animated Thoughts: Art and the Academy Animated Shorts

It was Spring and time to make a drive down to the Detroit Institute of Arts in order to see the Academy Award Nominated animated short films program. My typical plan for this event is to show up a couple hours early and wander the museum drawing inspiration by the art, then have a nice meal, and finally watch the films. Sometimes my wanderings are to gather information for my History of Animation class. Other times, I'll thinking of a theme (like food) and search for works of art that match the theme. This time though, after looking at a few paintings, I found myself mostly seeking out three-dimensional art like glassware or sculptures.

Kingfisher, Cicada, and Willow Tree, from
the Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting, 1700
Unknown Artist, China

Vase with carnations, 1886
Vincent van Gogh

Water Pitcher, "Pomona"
Glass, 1885/86
New England Glass Company
East Cambridge, Massachusetts

Pandora, 1864
Chauncey Bradley Ives
American, 1810-94

After some musings about how the artwork was produced--and the tremendous skill it must have taken--I strolled over to the Detroit Film Theater. The films selected for the program were a bit on the longer side, so it was only a five-film screening consisting of only those that were nominated. Usually the program has a couple extra films from those submitted but not nominated in order to pad out the presentation to a full hour-and-a-half (ish). But this time, there wasn't any need for extras. As Zippy Films was kind enough to post a list of all the shortlisted films back in December, I debated the merits of looking up some of those short-listed films (you can view that article here). Wild Summon by Saul Freed and Karni Arieli looked particularly interesting, albeit a tad gruesome. The trailer for Humo (Smoke) by Rita Basulto had some very interesting visuals that left me wondering CGI or stop-motion? And the trailer for Eeva, by Morten Tšinakov and Lucija Mrzljak, had both a visual style and story style that projected those quirky Eastern European sensibilities which would definitely appeal to me. Alas, these films got passed over, so will have to do some digging on the internet in the future to see if the filmmakers have uploaded them after their festival runs.

The films this year had a wide array of techniques and topics, though I suspect all had elements of CGI in their production processes, be it compositing, special effects, or animation.

Our Uniform [Iran]: This film had some interesting visuals--the animated short was made to look like all the characters, models, and backgrounds were made of fabric. But with regards to the story, I kinda felt like I'd already seen this film when I watched Persepolis back in 2007. Not a bad film, per se, but I had repeated feelings of déjà vu and was left wondering if the creator was inspired by Marjane Satrapi's feature (or graphic novels)?

Letter to a Pig [France, Israel] - I found the story in this film a little confusing. On the one hand, it was pretty straightforward: you have an elderly Jewish man telling the story of his experiences during the Holocaust to a classroom of kids who (on the surface at least) don't seem to be grasping the nuances of what he was talking about--they fidgeted, some looked bored, I seem to recall one being expelled from the room for being disruptive. The portion of him telling his story about hiding from the Nazis on a farm was rather engaging. But I wasn't sure about the point of the kids being disruptive. Was this an actual event or did the filmmaker script the kids' behavior for the film? Was the filmmaker trying to make the point that as more and more Holocaust survivors pass away, the younger generations become more and more detached from the horrors of their collective history? Then there was the girl who was visualizing the story she was being told before it drifted into daydreaming... 

Well, over on the Hive Studio's YouTube channel, they have uploaded a pair of videos detailing filmmaker Tal Kantor's story and production process. I highly recommend watching them--especially the one on technique if you're a budding filmmaker. I found some of my questions being answered through this fascinating look into how she designed and constructed her film (videos aptly titled: 'The Story' and 'The Technique'). Others were left unresolved.

Interestingly enough, recently Tal Kantor popped up on my Facebook "Suggested Friends" list. Apparently we have ten mutual friends. After watching Letters to a Pig again, I might reach out to her and ask some questions about her film. This is one of those thought provoking animated shorts that I would really like to watch a couple more times to really let it sink in.

Pachyderm [France] - There were some really good visuals in this film--hauntingly beautiful imagery and solid animation technique--but sometimes the story being told is too abstract. During the screening, I didn't get the fact that it was about abuse. On the bright side, it did plant enough seeds within my consciousness that I looked up the film afterwards in order to get some more context and interpretation on the story. Even if they don't "get it" during the first viewing, I think that inspiring someone to look deeper into your film's premise outside of the screening is a pretty good thing.

Ninety-Five Senses [USA] - This film was a slow burn. An entertaining story told by an old man at the end of his days as he reminisces about his life. It was a very compelling story that drew me in from the start and ended with a startling reveal. Now, I'm not going to say that "this is the film that should've won", I've long since given up on trying to determine how the Academy members will vote. But what I will say is that if you only see one of the films nominated this year, it should definitely be this one.

War is Over [USA] - This was an nice film. A bit overly saccharine for my tastes, but it had a decent story (two soldiers on either sides of the war playing a game of chess with moves relayed by carrier pigeon). I honestly thought that it was more interesting to see how the film was created using Unreal Engine (using a video game engine to create an animated short film). What I think really made this film shine is that the concept was strong enough to stand on its own. I don't think that they needed the John Lennon song. Not saying the song's presence was bad or unnecessary, just that it was a solid concept with good storytelling and competent execution in and of itself.

So, all-in-all, I found this to be a very good program of films which were filled with a wide variety of animation techniques and visual styles. It was well worth the drive down to Detroit. Now, time to see what animated features the Detroit Film Theater will be showing this year so I can start planning return trips.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Animated Thoughts: Art comes in many forms

It was tax time and my accountant works an hour away in Grand Rapids. So it was time for my yearly pilgrimge to see the butterflies at the Frederik Meijer Gardens... oh, I mean drop off my taxes binder to my accountant--then go back and sign documents, submit paperwork, and pick up the binder. Yeah, you won't find any real substance or epiphanies in this post, just a bunch of photographs that I took during a period of the year where it's a lot of busywork and maintenance to keep my LLC going and not much else. Fortunately for me, there are opportunites to appreciate some (natural) art, if you're willing to look for them.

Grape hyacinth muscari

Hey, this isn't sugar water, it's vodka!

Postman (Heliconius melpomene aglaope)

Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charitonius)

Postman (Heliconius melpomene plesseni)

Postman (Heliconius melpomene aglaope)

Was taking a picture and this butterfly stopped by to say 'hi'.

Common Morpho (Morpho peleides)

Blue and White Longwing (Heliconius cydno)

Tropical Ginger (circuma)

Well worth a visit... or two.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Animated Thoughts: My Love Affair with Marriage

Well, I saw My Love Affair With Marriage at the Flint Institute of Art. Having done promotional work on both of Signe's features, it's a real rush to sit in the theater and see the final product--even moreso to see your name in the credits as one of the financial backers of the film. And I have to say it was a very enjoyable movie, but more than that, it was very thought provoking. Given the litany of "advice" family and friends have given me about marriage over my lifetime, I spent more than a little time pondering issues raised by the movie on the drive home. 

Though one initial question that crossed my mind as I walked out of the theater was related to how Signe puts a lot of herself into her films. In her animated short the Dentist, Signe drew upon her experiences having some dental surgery in order to create a spine-tingling film. In Birth, she drew upon her experience of becoming a new mother and how advice given isn't always as helpful as one would hope. In watching My Love Affair With Marriage, I do have to wonder how many of the situations Zelma found herself in were drawn from Signe's own life experiences... or drawn from experiences related to her by family and friends?

For me though, My Love Affair With Marriage raised some very interesting (uncomforable?) situations as it confronted the stories we are told about marriage. For example: how you are not a complete person without someone there to complete you. Or how we over-romanticize marriage and childrearing while ignoring the realities of said experiences. Now I'm not anti-marriage or anti-children, far from it. I'm a big supporter of both if for no other reason than how families can add stability to society and children provide for society's longevity. But oftentimes, being married and having children is portrayed in culture as the be-all and end-all of the human experience and your existence is empty and meaningless if you're single--a concept that I've been striving against for the better part of my life.

The very real question that I've been pondering lately is: is the desire to get married something that you want for yourself or do you only feel that desire because it's "expected" of you?

And that's where I found myself as I watched Zelma's trials and tribulations as she wandered through life as a single woman then life as a married woman. Throughout this film, Signe asked the questions and confronted the sacred cows of marriage and the decision to have a child (or not) in a very entertaining fashion--but without fully answering them, always leaving room for speculation based upon your personal experiences.

As always, Signe does a masterful work of weaving the triumphs and failures of the human experience into very interesting and engaging characters who leave you wanting more. Despite all the difficulties she faced through childhood, adolescence, and finally adulthood, the film struck this hopeful tone as Zelma walked a path towards finding peace in her relationships. As Zelma grew, I wondered if maybe she would realize that she doesn't "have" to be married in order to live a life filled with meaning and purpose--a realization that many of us single people look for: that particular moment of clarity when you really start living and enjoying your life in the moment instead of chasing after some highly-romanticized vision of the future that society says you must have. Or maybe marriage "was" the key to happiness for Zelma after all, once she finds the right person with whom she can share the rollercoaster of life. Maybe her personal happiness could only be found in sharing her life with another person and it would take her a series of failed relationships to finally grow into the person she needed to be in order to share her life with someone else? I'll leave it up to you readers to watch the film for yourselves and see how the story ends for Zelma... or maybe doesn't end as perhaps every apparent end for Zelma is just the beginning of another chapter in her story (including the ones we don't get to see). Regardless, after the movie ended, I did have the feeling that it would be nice to check in with Zelma in about five or ten years and see how life turned out for her. For by the end of the film, Zelma felt like less of a character in a story and more like a friend or a family member who you only saw every couple of years but pick the friendship right back up where you left off. 

As one of the Crowdfunding backers, I'm really looking forward to receiving my copy of the film and watching it again since I not only enjoyed the story but I also really enjoyed the visuals in this movie. I was very drawn to the segments where the neuron narrator "Biology" (expertly voice acted by Michele Pawk) ran us through these mini documentaries detailing how the brain matures and processes emotions through biochemical networks before the film went back to Zelma's external story. Then there were the many examples of Signe's "digital setback camera" process--a digital evolution of Max Fleischer's setback camera setup that I wouldn't mind trying myself someday.

Signe continues to push the bar on her personal work as My Love Affair With Marriage added a large number of musical numbers to the feature. And while this film is drawn in her own signature visual style, you can see Signe pushing her drawing and animating skills forward and improving in both the 2d rendering of her human characters as well as the more abstract figures she presented in the neurological characters and processes seen in the microscopic brain sequences.

All-in-all, Signe has added another interesting and entertaining film to the growing pantheon of adult-oriented animated features and is well worth a look, whether you want to be inspired or if you just want to be entertained. Given how approachable and relatable this film was to my own experiences with interpersonal relationships, I can't wait to see what concepts Signe decides to tackle for her next feature.

If you'd like to know more about Signe's process, I highly recommend watching the following presentation she gave at the University of Michigan/Ann Arbor screening of her film. Additionally, she's got some wonderful  production process pages on her website: https://www.myloveaffairwithmarriagemovie.com/ where she covers the setwork, animation, and also shows some presentation and interview videos--great stuff for the aspiring animator. Embedded below is the Penny Stamps lecture series video from University of Michigan.

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* Images used in this blog post are provided by Signe's website/press/presskit and are copyright Signe Baumane

Friday, February 2, 2024

Animated Events: My Love Affair with Marriage

Signe Baumane's latest feature film My Love Affair With Marriage is here in Michigan.

If you'd like to see this film, the next screening will be in Flint, MI at the Flint Institute of Arts.

Screenings are:

  • Friday, Feb 16 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb 17 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb 18 at 2:00 p.m.

You can purchase tickets online at: https://flintarts.org/events/films.

And you can learn more about My Love Affair With Marriage at the film's website: https://www.myloveaffairwithmarriagemovie.com/.

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Saturday, January 27, 2024

Animated Thoughts: Annies and Accessibility

It's January and ASIFA Hollywood has has released their listing of films nominated for the 51st annual Annie Awards.

With the second season of Arcane still months away and not having seen many of the features or television series, I'm a little out of sorts on who to cheer for. 

At this point, I've seen Suzume but only have a couple of the nominees on my list of  films to watch--those being: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Boy and the Heron, Ernest & Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia, Robot Dreams, The Inventor, and White Plastic Sky. I also need to watch Invincible: Atom Eve before the second half of Invincible, season two is released, but that's neither here-nor-there. The rest of the nominated films really don't seem to be capturing my interest. They may be good films for all I know, but when I look at the trailers, I'm just not feeling them.

I have the same problem every season when the new anime is released. I start out with a sizable list of shows that look good from the trailers, but when I get two or three episodes in, the luster fades. Out of the eight shows I've started this season, so far, only Delicious in Dungeon, The Unwanted Undead Adventurer, and Solo Leveling are holding my attention (I'm still on the fence with A Sign of Affection). And last season, I started with four and only season two of Goblin Slayer made the cut. On the bright side, it does give me enough time to go back and finish watching Frieren: Beyond Journey's End and Skeleton Knight in Another World. I discovered those a little late in the season, so fortunately all those episodes are out right now. Though I really do need to finish those two series before the Spring as Kaiju No. 8 is due out in April and Loner Life in Another World is due out "sometime" in 2024.

Then, in February/March, the DIA is showing the Academy Award Nominated animated films so I'll be driving down to Detroit to watch those... and my copy of the late Paul Bush's film Babeldom arrived from England... want to rewatch that film sooner rather than later... and the last two Arpeggio of Blue Steel animated features arrived from Japan earlier this month...  ah, so much animation, so little time to fit it all in. A good problem to have now that I think about it.

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