About a year and a half ago, I stumbled upon an animated short titled ‘Curiouser and Curiouser’. The film features a creature which was part cat, part mouse, and part giraffe as it explores a mysterious shaft of light. A truly captivating animation created by an extremely talented film-maker, it hardly came as a surprise to learn Joseph’s latest venture, ‘The Man who was Afraid of Falling’, released today, had caught the attention of the prestigious BAFTA Cymru (BAFTA in Wales).
How did you feel when you found out it was Bafta Cymru nominated?
I was thrilled to hear about the nomination. It was a huge honour and a really encouraging accolade at this stage in my career. Ultimately we didn’t win but Falling was the only animated film in the whole 2013 selection and it was great attending the awards ceremony.
What inspired you to create The Man Who Was Afraid of Falling?
The film is my graduation short from Newport Film School in Wales. I’d had the idea for the film about three years previously when I was travelling around Italy. I was saturated with Italian landscape and architecture and I’d also been thinking about ageing and fragility and the relationship between body and mind in old people. I was waiting for a ferry at a port when I took my sketchbook out and wrote the story. It didn’t changed much after that.
What is the concept behind it?
I think everyone has someone they care about who’s old and frail. We all worry about the wellbeing of our relatives and I wanted to explore how that frailty might manifest as anxiety for an old man. The story follows Ivor who lives alone on the top floor of a tall apartment block in a crowded city. His main passion is his flowers but when a plant pot falls from his window and smashes below he begins to think ‘what if I fell?’ As his paranoia grows he makes a series of decisions that turn his life upside down.
Describe the process of actually making the film?
The production process was about eight months long from ideas development to final product. I worked with composer Kit Wilson and sound designer Jack Vaughan but there were only two of us on the project full time, myself and another student, Emma-Rose Dade, who worked with me. Every project I work on always starts with drawing, I use it to explore and define ideas and it’s shorthand for taking what’s in my head and communicating that to others.
The storyboard and animatic went through various iterations and, as that was settled, we built all of the sets and the puppet. Everything apart from Ivor is made from recycled cardboard from cereal boxes to postal packaging. The shoot was about two weeks long and we used a Canon 5d, Dragonframe software and an array of film and photography lights. Kit’s music evolved with the film and we constantly sent sketches and ideas back and forth. As there is no text in the film we wanted the music to work as a dialogue and allow the audience into Ivor’s psyche.
How did you get into animation?
When I was three years old my parents showed me the first Wallace and Gromit film. Apparently I sat transfixed and at the end I turned to them and said that’s what I wanted to do. I studied animation and also film production on the continent as well as training as a performer and theatre maker. I now work as a freelance film and theatre director.
When telling a story in a short film, what do you think is the most important thing to bear in mind?
I always talk about making shorts, especially animation, as a kind of alchemy. Many different elements synthesize to create the final piece. For me, it’s a combination of narrative, character, visuals, music and sound. Whether I’m working in animation, live-action or live theatre I always try and consider the audience’s relationship to the work and my main concern is storytelling. With Falling I had more time to spend on details like the colour palette and how that goes towards informing the audience and telling the story.
What are you up to for the rest of 2013?
I’m working as Puppetry Associate on Bristol Old Vic’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ from the makers of War Horse, we go on tour to America in May so most of my summer will be spent in the States. After that I am moving to France to set up my own studio with a bunch of talented animators and filmmakers. I’ll be posting about the adventure on my twitter (@josephwallaceuk) and blog.
Varathit Uthaisri aka TU+ is a freelance graphic designer and graduate in MFA Design and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design. From art director to free-lance motion graphic artist, TU+ has a grand and varied portfolio to show for himself, and quite a spectacular one at that. Working on both commercial projects and personal projects from illustration, design, and motion to live visual concerts and even DJing at nightclubs, this designer has a varied career and broad skill set that makes for some exciting and unique results. Although a difficult choice, one favourite has to be his experimental film entitled 'Surface'. It is both visually and audibly beautiful. The film explores the point of contact between humans and the ground we walk on, visualising our daily lives from a new perspective, from beneath the floor.
The storyboard begins with small objects cascading onto the floor, as the film unravels the contact with the floor increases, to humans walking, laying, playing and fighting. More and more people and more and more objects are added into the scenes until finally almost an entire city is unveiled in this underground perspective. What is perhaps most exciting is this 'urban symphony' that is created, a composition of visual action and corresponding harmonising beats, a compelling watch. TU+ offers us an insight to the world from a new perspective. He challenges and highlights our connection to the world around us, the very things that ground and connect us. 'Surface' has its own website that tells you everything, the influences, the process and the result: Surfacefilm.com
But I highly recommend you take a look at TU+ website and portfolio: Varathit.com
Kiss: A Love Story is the first and only short film released to date by the innovative and creative motion graphics design studio, RACECAR. This Norwegian design company work on a huge array of projects including commercials and music videos working with anything from 3D animation to illustration. Every project is unique, but this one particularly so. Created by the two co-directors Joseph Hodgson and Frank Aubry, the two work together to produce a love story inspired by the world around us. A statement taken from their website sums it up beautifully: “As Paul Auster once said “The sun is the past, the earth is the present and the moon is the future.” In our ﬁrst independent short ﬁlm we explore the consequence of something as innocent as a kiss. A love story between the sun and the moon. We believe that every solar eclipse is the moons attempt to reach the sun...” This 3min short is a vehicle of beautiful craftsmanship. Set in super widescreen, in a monochromatic tone, using unusual yet astounding animation design the film was certainly destined for visual impact. Not only does it go beyond our visual expectations it is also combined with the emotive, stirring music of Bendik’s ‘Sille’, transforming this delicate, beautiful story into a powerful and passionate tale. It is truly sublime. There is a whole website dedicated to this short full of information including behind the scenes found here: Kiss.racecar.no It is almost unfortunate that this is their only short film (despiteits countless awards), they leave you wanting more! However there is no doubtthat their other projects are worth a look:Racecar.no
Sigur Rós, an ambient post-rock band from Iceland, set filmmakers a challenge to create whatever comes to their heads when listening to their latest album Valtari. "we never meant our music to come with a pre-programmed emotional response. We don’t want to tell anyone how to feel and what to take from it. With the films, we have literally no idea what the directors are going to come back with. None of them know what the others are doing, so hopefully it will be interesting." - Sigur rós, May 2012 With this challenge accepted, Nick Abrahams created one of the most beautiful, modest and poetics short film I have come across. The film has captured the attention of many, winning the main prize at London Short Film Festival last month. The film follows a man lost in countryside, unable to find his way home he befriends a snail and later meets a fox. The British countryside is beautiful and wondrous but equally tremendously alien and bewildering, it is a place of life and mystery. The story is a small and intimate one set in a vast landscape, capturing the macro world of the snail with the pure human emotion from the man. “ You’d think that these days you couldn’t get lost, but you can.” This film has beauty, narrative and emotion, it is certainly an entrancing and sometimes unsettling watch. You can see more of Abrahams work at: Nicholasabrahams.com
There are some more great creations made for the ‘Valtari’ Mystery Film Experiment that can be seen at: Sigur-ros.co.uk
1.The theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified.
2.The theory or view that the self is the only reality. Experimental filmmaker Andrew Huang, has created one of the most vibrant, compelling and fantastical film fantasies I have seen yet.
The ten minute short takes you through a triptych, three cleverly devised scenarios exploring colour, texture, nature and trickery. His playful imagery draws inspiration from the transient seabed to Tibetan costumes and jewellery design, as well as gestural influences from Noh Theatre and Polynesian dance rituals.
An abundance of intertwining materials combined with natural flowing transitions and gestures, unified by peculiar digital sounds, with striking colour explosions thrown in and the result is quite frankly beautiful. In Solipsist, he combines the pre-production making and shooting of sculptures and models, with heavy post-production, exploring a huge array of VFX techniques, ultimately achieving this exquisitely mystifying and visionary short film. If you want to see how it was made, Huang gives us an insight here. Following this huge success, Icelandic singer-songwriter Bjork, invited Andrew to direct her new music video for Mutual Core, which can be found on his website.
At FUSSED we are interested in all aspects of art and design, from the famous to the obscure, from the weird and wonderful, from fashion to fine art and all inbetween. Continuing on in the talent countdown, we predict who we think will be the Film-Makers to look out for in 2013.
Laura Thies First on this list is independent film director Laura Thies, whose 2012 feature film Surviving Family won the Viewers' Choice Award at the Indie Gathering Film Festival. The film centres around Terry Malone, a woman whose chance of settling down with the man of her dreams is marred by her family’s history. The film explores themes of alcoholism, death and a tragic secret that could tear the family apart
A group of film productionstudents from Bournemouth collaborated to produce this next entry. Directed byConrad Milligan, “A visit to the Tank Museum” evokes a ‘night at themuseum-esque’ feel to promote the Tank Museum in Bournemouth. They aimed toshow that museums can “fire the imagination and bring the past to life.” Thefilm was so successful that it was shortlisted for the New Forest Film FestivalShort Film competition, and another film is currently in discussion.
American film-maker Alex Bohs isa little known independent writer/director/editor from Chicago. With a firm following, Alex is starting toestablish himself in the world of Film. His short film “half” was screened at the 48th Chicago International Film Festival and has won 4 independent film awards.
Up and coming producer ArielKleiman is an Australian film-maker currently based in London. His short film Deeperthan Yesterday is a hauntingly beautiful film evoking a “sense ofclaustrophobia and hyper [masculinity] induced knife-edge tension.” It has beenhugely successful in the film industry having won 5 independent film awards,most recently the Leeds International Film festival Jury Prize Short Filmcompetition.
This directing duo has recentlyhad an incredibly successful run, their most famous short film “TheAstronomer’s Sun” has been shown in 70 festivals, and won 6 independent filmawards including the Leeds International Film Festival Yorkshire Short FilmCompetition. The film is a beautifully directed stop motion animation about aman and his mechanical bear, who “visit an abandoned observatory to confrontmemories of his past and follow his father on a magical journey.”
Max was one of our first features on the FUSSED blog. His film-making prowess in his short film, ‘The Chair’ shone through when he reached a finalist position in The New Forest Film festival. Since then, Max has been working on a new short film: Thyme.
‘Thyme is about Shaun whose grey, bland job dominates his time and overshadows his friends, family and his main passion, cooking. Shaun is forced to reconsider how he spends his time after discovering a mysterious Kitchen Emporium full of unusual ingredients.’
Below, you can watch an exclusive trailer of the film which is set to be on the festival circuit in the new year.
Almost everybody knows the name, Alfred Hitchcock, whether it be for his personality and private life or for his direction of some of the most famous films of the past century. His famed strong personality and attention to the smallest details in his films make it interesting to find out who he would trust the job of costume design with, in a time when fashion and film were so very closely linked. That person was Rita Riggs in some of his most famous motion pictures including 'The Birds', 'Psycho' Birds', 'Psycho' and 'Marnie'.
Tippi Hedren was the female lead in both 'The Birds' and 'Marnie', and Riggs proved in both films that she knew exactly how to portray Hedren's characters through costume. In 'The Birds', Hedren stars asMelanie Daniels, a wealthy socialite who unexpectedly meets an attractive gentleman in a bird shop who plays a practical joke on her, and so in turn, she decides to do something of the sort back. Travelling to Bodega Bay from San Francisco to visit the man who is visiting his mother and younger sister as he does every weekend, when she arrives the birds in the town begin to behave strangely, attacking the town's residents. Melanie Daniels is a very confident, clearly independent woman and her dress reflects that. Riggs styled Hedren in stunningly sophisticated outfits from fitted dresses and jackets, in 1960s silhouettes that accentuated the waist, to long fur coats and beaded necklaces. As the viewer you cannot help but become suspicious of Miss Daniels, perhaps due to the fact that she seems overly perfect and it is Rigg's costumes that contribute to this effect.
In 1960s film 'Psycho', Riggs perhaps had the opportunity to be more experimental with her costumes, with Vera Miles' character Marion having more scope to have a slightly more risqué wardrobe. Scenes that included Marion in her underwear contrast with her styled in button-to-the-neck tops and chic suits. The promotional poster from 'Psycho', features Miles in a slightly pointed bra and high waisted underskirt, a very statement combination of the time which proved Riggs' sense of style and willingness to push boundaries.
Riggs was involved in many films, but perhaps more in American TV shows such as Good Times, All in the Family and The Jeffersons. Riggs' varied and long-spanning career, along with her past of working with the likes of Edith Head, establish her as one of the greats in costume design and provides us with inspiration that is timeless and classic.
Cedric Gibbons is the man behind the art direction of such classics as The Wizard of Oz, Singin’ In The Rain, The Philadelphia Story, and It’s A Wonderful World. He is celebrated as both the most Oscar nominated and most awarded production designer in movie history, titles which come as no surprise when you learn the sheer number of movie design Cedric is famous for. He is credited as art director in over 1000 pictures spanning 32 years, and at the start of his career, was responsible for the design of the Oscar statuette he went on to win eleven times, second only to the remarkable Walt Disney.
Throughout his career, Cedric has been director, production designer, and art director. While the production designer is responsible for the overall look of a film,iit is the art director’s job to carry out the production designer’s creative vision. As such, Cedric has worked as both task-maker and server. As art director of The Wizard of Oz, Cedric worked under uncredited production designers Malcolm Brown, William A. Horning, and Jack Martin Smith. Together, they were responsible for making The Wizard of Oz one of the most memorable films in history, as famous for its aesthetic styling as its narrative.
The Wizard of Oz was all about transporting you from the grey, drab, mundaneness of reality to a bright, colourful world where anything can happen. The yellow brick road is perhaps the most famous of the Oz production set, the path leading Dorothy on her journey back home. Cedric Gibbons is responsible for some of the most famous, and best, film sets in the classical period – a true Hollywood legend.
The film, The Stepford Wives, is an iconic 70s thriller which challenges aspects of gender and women's rights, a very prominent issue at the time. The fashions of the film are equally as fascinating, illustrating the contrast between the typical 1970s housewife and the more rebellious woman.
The film is focused on the story of a woman who moves to a small town in Conneticut, Stepford, with her family. Whilst getting to know some of her neighbours, Joanna soon becomes suspicious of how perfect all of the wives seem: how they are extremely obedient to their husbands and seem to have none of their own interests or hobbies. Joanna is saved when another family moves to town and she befriends the wife, Bobbie, who seems more like herself, until eventually Bobbie becomes the same as the other housewives, obsessed with cleaning and being the perfect wife. Suspicious of how the town seems to change the women, Joanna sees a psychiatrist who tells her to leave town, but upon her return, Joanna discovers that her children are missing. Thinking that Bobbie has her children, Joanna stabs her and subsequently, when she doesn't bleed, discovers that she is a robot.
The fashions of the film fit perfectly with its plot, and help to raise awareness on the issues about gender equality. The outfits of the Stepford wives depict the male fantasy, exactly how they want their wives to dress and look. The outfits are feminine and inherently 70s with the cinched waists and big hats; they are both respectable and attractive, exactly how a man would like. Now, the concept seems laughable. However, as the film was released during the second wave of feminism, it would have been a much more serious nod to an important issue at the time. The iconic image of the Stepford wives stood together in the supermarket is one that is still recognised now and at the time perhaps depicted the 'perfect wives', which clearly in present day mind sets seems more humorous. Even still, the dresses are classic and inspiring in terms of 70s silhouettes, hence the film is still held in high regard, thanks to the designs of Anna Hill Johnstone. Joanna and Bobbie wear outfits that challenge the perfect wife look, tackling important issues of the time. Wearing shirts, trousers and leather jackets, they both are in real contrast to the Stepford wives, and hopefully helped to promote women's rights and their sense of freedom when the film was released.