ANIMATION

Welcome to...Tuesday. Not quite the middle of the work week yet. Just the beginning enough to really start feeling the slog of the days ahead. Why not visually get away for a bit and escape into an animation we are totally loving this week??: Miao Jing/Hibanana Studio’s newest animation “Hills Beyond a River”, featuring music by Mickey Zhang&WHAI, will take you far away from that suffocating work state of mind. Its trippy style will do its job to amaze, free and distract you for a few minutes before bringing you dizzyingly back down to reality. Skirt your responsibilities, barrel ahead towards the weekend and get hypnotized by “Hills Beyond a River” now! 

Is it an animated tutorial? A quick guide to creativity? Or a piece of art in itself? Whatever it is, it’s inspiring and looks pretty swell! And how fitting its title is!: “The Ultimate Guide to Inspiration”. If you’re feeling creatively uninspired and blocked or just a bit down and in need of a visual lift, BLND’s super short slick reminder regarding fear and inspiration is a must watch. A few days ago, we shared Simon Cade of DSLRguide’s video "Why Artists Are Never Happy”. We think this is the perfect companion piece if you’re a creative that has hit your emotional or artistic wall. Oh, and the animation style is absolutely stellar and not to be missed. Even if you’re not suffering from a creative lag, you’ll find something to visually love. As the video states, you gotta walk into the world, ready to be inspired. Take the first step and watch BLND’s inspirational-inspiration video now! This is one animation Indie Street is totally loving!  

Featured Animation: HATE FOR SALE

Every so often I come across a short film that I will silently pass on to my fellow film loving friends. Key word: silently. I don’t need to try to sale the film or wax poetic about this or that, over using filmic language with my signature heavy-handed verbosity. No, sometimes I come across a true gem that doesn’t require my word vomit explanations. It takes just a simple: “Watch this. Trust me.”  This is exactly what I did after watching Anna Eijsbouts’ stop-motion cut out animation “Hate for Sale”. Created for the 2017 Visible Poetry Project using an original poem by Neil Gaiman, this short manages to sum up the world we live in, in just under 3 minutes. Eijsbouts’ chaotic, multi-colored style mixed with Gaiman’s honest text creates sheer, gorgeous magic. It’s cruel, unique, and brutally true. It’s beautiful and arresting. The harsh words about the state of society and our sadly inherent lust for hatefulness in contrast with narrator Peter Kenny’s theatrical yet comforting voice and the film's visual puppet master controlled carnival-esque world is pretty much perfect in a way you have to watch to totally grasp. Just a few days before discovering this film, I spent a morning at a puppet theater. It was like disappearing into a totally different world, full of strings and illusions. Like the 20+ other 3-year-old audience members, I was entranced, fooled even. Now, after a few viewings of “Hate for Sale”, I feel like I finally get it. I see the control that societal expectations have over us. It took a 2.5 min short and a Park Slope puppet theater to truly open my eyes. We all need to cut some strings.  So, yes, it seems I’ve run away again with my words! Neil Gaiman himself tweeted that he watched and “was floored”. And that’s enough for me. Just: Watch this. Trust me.  

Featured Short: Ornana's FROLIC 'N MAE

Ah, cardboard. At once so bland and yet so purposeful. What would we do without its functional flexibility, stuff-carrying abilities, and scratchy beigeness? Well, leave it to an animated short film to show us both the pros and cons of a cardboard cutout relationship.  In Indie Street fav Ornana’s latest animated spectacle, “Frolic ’n Mae”, humans’ interaction with cardboard takes on a whole new meaning. Director/Writer/Animator-extraordinaire Danny Madden has created a whimsically chaotic world full of wonder, youthful angst and acceptance. The film’s young protagonist, Mae, doesn’t exactly fit in with her “friends”. After she reaches her tipping point at a birthday party (riddled with pre-teen clichés in only the greatest, nostalgia-inducing of ways), she decides to escape reality, channeling her frustrations into doodling on a pizza box while biding her time away from the others. However, you see, Mae’s drawings are rather different - special even. And when her latest cardboard creature creation, Frolic, comes to life, Mae realizes she has produced just a little more mayhem than she bargained for. Craziness ensues and impressively cute hijinks crash the party, with everything resulting in one unforgettable experience for this shy girl. Who would have thought that cardboard could have such power? Everything Ornana churns out becomes an instant hit with all of us at Indie Street. If you, too, love truely innovative ideas that create new worlds for audiences to escape into, then you’re not going to wanna miss “Frolic ’n Mae”! A film that creatively shows us the true definition of our go-to theme of ‘Escape and Connect’. 

To celebrate one of our favorite shorts of the last year getting STAFF PICKED on Vimeo, enjoy this reposting of our review of "The Past Inside the Present"!  ------------------------------- Ever feel like everyday is the same? We all sit down, plug in and press play. Phones, computers, TVs, tablets. You name it, someone's connected to one. It's a routine we've come to adapt our lives to - day in and day out. A picture here...a video there...a FB post here...a tweet about something inane there. We've become a society so obsessed with documenting our lives within past and present moments that it actually makes the future seem like some intangible concept that never comes into fruition. Every second lived becomes the past at some point. We want to share and we want to document so we can go back and relive. Memories are best preserved and accessed in a physical or digital form, no? Well, what would happen if we totally escaped from the consequences of both our current and future obligations by having the ability to literally crawl back into the best instances of our memories? All of those moments we documented, in a cache or library of some kind, literally available and at the ready to welcome us back with open arms?  Filmmaker James Siewert's animated short "The Past Inside the Present" brings us into an existence where all of this (and more!) is possible. His painstakingly handcrafted world shows us what could come from constantly being plugged in, portraying the soulless black and white by-product of shunning the idea of free, undocumented living. This insanely animated, slightly cyberpunk wonder is what Siewert calls an allegorical tale, displaying the actions of a couple trying to save their dying relationship by renewing it. And how so? By literally connecting themselves into a recorded moment from their time together. Yes, in this world, analog media literally works as a trippy, fucked up time traveling device. Like robots, they wire themselves in and for just a little while, disappear into the abyss. True renewal. While the act of unfulfilled but comfortably repetitive living seems like it would be a safe zone, that feeling is tangled here in an intricate jumble of insanity, madness and eventual emptiness. Past meets present meets future in one overlapping instance that seems to explode into infinity until it's all over and numb reality sets back in. It's dark, it's twisted and it's all very fascinating to disappear into for the 13-min journey. Ask yourself, is this the future world we really want to live in? In order to answer that, experiencing this film and its underlying lesson is a must. In the end, maybe...just maybe...we might realize we don't want this life outside of the confines of the film. The irony? We have to plug-in to watch and learn this fact. That's life in all its past, present and future glory. But oh, what a beautifully hand drawn payoff!  Siewert must be one of the most diligent and innovative up-and-coming animator/directors out there and is definitely one to watch out for in the near future. From animations to music videos, he's got his talented rotoscoping, cinematic hands in a little bit of everything - a true connoisseur of independent creation. "The Past Inside the Present" was a project years in the making, meticulously filmed and drawn frame by frame by a small group. Each individual drawing combines with the others in order to create a dark treat that you should definitely feast your eyes upon and consume.  The great news is that Indie Street gets to help release this must-see, mind-blowing film out into the wild, where it belongs, to claim its plugged-in victims. Watching this short and taking in its extras all feels like an adventure - one into the mind of a talented filmmaker that truly seems to understand the way humans are connecting and disconnecting with each other as well as where we came from and where we are now. Truly a case of the past inside the present.  Check out the trailer below and then head on over to BitTorrent Now to download and watch the full film! While you're there, check out Indie Street's exclusive behind the scenes bundle, including the trailer, a 70 page handcrafted book chronicling the film's conception and production, animated GIFs and stills from the film, 2 time-lapse progress videos and finally, an epic music video honoring the completion of the film (as creative as the final product itself). All it takes is an email to get the full "The Past Inside the Present" experience! Don't miss out on this beautifully dark and prophetic opportunity. Just remember to disconnect, go out and live your life afterwards! WATCH THE FULL FILM FOR FREE NOW ON VIMEO!!!   

  

Featured Animated Short: Life with Herman H. Rott

In a world saturated with new technologies, constantly changing the playing field within the animation industry, it’s refreshing to find something that not only resembles a style of ole but also offers a charming story and set of personalities that feel vaguely reminiscent of TV characters from my youth. Like an odd couple vying for the most annoying spot in each others’ lives, "Life with Herman H. Rott" gives us a rat-cat music loving duo that are anything but normal. Herman is a black rat, large and in charge - a dirty, rough-edged smoker with a penchant for rock music. One day, a quite clean little classical music loving white cat, dainty and meticulous, waltzes through his door with everything she owns, changing his entire world. A battle of space, music, personality and dominance plays out, resulting in an animalistic comedy of errors battle that builds up until it explodes in a very human way. Maybe rat and cat are not so different from each other or from us, eh? Hand drawn on paper and shot with a photo camera, all of the coloring here was done digitally, giving the animation a sort of mid-century, cyan faded film look. There’s a dreamy edge to the film - everything communicated with music and their dueling styles. In that way, the soundtrack is a third character, bringing life to our two characters and filling the void between them with something a human audience can connect with. Something else humans can understand? Well, according to Estonian filmmaker Chintis Lundgren, the rat and cat are stand-ins for how humans function in unhealthy relationships, seeking out the bad guys, forcing them to change, and then moving onto the next challenge when there’s nothing left to manipulate. The nice guys finish last, isn’t that what they say? What doesn’t finish last is this film. A pure gem and true winner deserving of all the medals and accolades it has earned on the festival circuit and online. A funky little animation with a heart of gold and an unexpected ending well worth checking out!  

Featured Animated Short: THE ITCHING

We’ve all been there. The outsider looking in. Vulnerable, anxious and lost. Will they like me? Do I look okay? Why did I say that? They're all looking at me weird. Everyone hates me. Why did I even bother coming? I’ll be alone forever. Ah, the semi-familiar downward spirals of questioning, confidence, and identity crisis. Don’t pretend like it hasn’t happened to you, too. Being ourselves while trying to adapt comes at a price - a price we all pay from time to time. This is where “The Itching” comes in. Director Dianne Bellino and Adam Davies' claymation fairy tale of woodland creatures attempts to follow these scenarios, showing us the story of a shy wolf that wants to befriend a hard-partying, hipster group of…bunnies. Yes, bunnies! Sweet, cooler than you bunnies. However, being a lone wolf amongst a crowd of what you would expect to be dinner morsels isn’t easy. You see, our little lady wolf starts to find that her body is revolting against her environment. In the form of a deep, evolving and desperate itch. Why? That’s up for interpretation. But remember: Facing a crowd that’s different from you is hard. The spotlight is often too hot, too bright, too overwhelming. So, how far will our pretty wolfy go to get rid of her mysterious itch? You gotta watch to find out!It's also worth saying here that the old school claymation style used is a refreshing marvel. The creatures literally say nothing and yet all the while, silently communicate with their eyes, small movements in their fur, and through slow, long shots of reflection. Bellino and Davies give their characters time to feel and this is how we are drawn in. No words - just what we see and infer. The itching here is both grotesque and beautiful - a swirl of rainbows and confusion. If you don’t feel a bit uncomfortable at some point during the film, the itching effect reaching through the screen and taking hold, then you, my hip little friend, have thick, confident skin. Either way, get some pointers and watch this fairy tale of vulnerability, acceptance and friendship now on Vimeo! And face it: we’ve all been wolves at a party of bunnies at some point in our lives. 

With only one day left before Indie Street’s exclusive release of James Siewert’s hand drawn animated short “The Past Inside the Present”, we’re getting prepared by totally immersing ourselves into a completely animated world this week! Discovering scenes from the upcoming hybrid short animation “The Pine Tree Villa” was a happy bonus as this animated ghost story is being talked about just in time for the approaching Halloween weekend! Rendered in over 2,000 frames of watercolors painted onto rolls of live-action film, “The Pine Tree Villa” is a living painting and haunting story of spirits, magic, dangerous music and survival. While people usually warn against entering a haunted house, we say in this case, definitely go for it! Judging by the trailer, Director Jan Koester and animation house Talking Animals have created a beautiful moving painting that will completely mesmerize you. Head on over to The Creators Project to learn more about the traditionally crafted, visually stunning story. The film is currently on the festival circuit but you can catch updates on the film and other works by Koester by checking out Talking Animals' site.  

In the lead-up to Indie Street’s exclusive release of James Siewert’s animated short “The Past Inside the Present” this Thursday, October 27th, via BitTorrent Now, we thought we would feature all things animated this week! Animation does have a strange place in film history, existing in a sort of limbo between consisting of some of the highest grossing films this year and still being largely thought of as only for children. Maureen Furniss, Program Director of Experimental Animation at the California Institute of the Arts, is trying to remedy any confusion regarding animation with her book A New History of Animation. The book is a survey of animation, from the early era of magic lanterns to the present day. As interest in animation continues to grow, Furniss’ book comes at the perfect time. If you’re interested in an amazing reference that’s also fun to browse for new animated leads and ideas, you can read more about about the book over on Pop Matters. And mark your calendars for the exclusive release of one of the craziest, most innovative new animated shorts out there, “The Past Inside the Present”. Watch the trailer now!    

Featured Short: Face Your Fears in Stop-Motion CANIS

In case you live under a rock, Halloween is fast approaching. Don't have any costumed adventures planned? Well, what better way to celebrate than by curling up in the dark and watching one hell of a scary film? Surprise, getting into the Halloween spirit doesn't always have to involve the same overly produced horror films, gory 80s cult classics, or regurgitated Hocus Pocus nonsense we've all come to know, love and overdose on. Leave the overdosing to sugar consumption and try something new this season in the form of the dark and twisted stop motion short, "Canis". Be prepared: once you watch this short, its images will stay with you long after viewing. An award-winning animated film by duo Marc Riba & Anna Solanas, "Canis" is a puppet-based stop motion about Teo, a boy who tries to survive while isolated in a house constantly under attack by a pack of unrelenting stray dogs. Though there's plenty of understated gore and violence embedded within this wild dog tale that is sure to whet your appetite for nightmares this Halloween, this is also a smart story that goes way deeper than shallow, pointless bloodshed. "Canis" takes you on a dark journey into a world you don't wanna be in but can't look away from, forcing you and the character to face fear head-on. The degree of animated talent on display behind this nightmarish world of brutality, animal abuse, death and isolation makes sure its a lesson you won't soon forget. Riba & Solanas took 15 months to complete the intricately produced film and were inspired by the stray dogs that roam European streets. This isn't surprising as the bleak nuances and subtle storytelling devices that bleed through the narrative foundation recall grim centuries-old European tales. Remember that next time you're taking a stroll and see some furry friends. Yes, dear reader, I dare you to watch this film and not feel some surprising mix of discomfort and awe. Let it play out like a grainy fairy tale that shouldn't exist and yet does. But remember, watching comes at a cost - a brutally emotional and visual one. If our protagonist is able to face his fears within this grim, post-apocalystic world out to get him, will you be able to face yours? Welcome to the beautifully twisted black and white world of "Canis". Don't forget your nailbat on the way in - things are gonna get a bit hairy...with a bite. Watch the must-see short film now! Like what you see? Check out more of the best short films available now on Indie Street! 

The Evolution of Stop-Motion Animation in Film

The title for this one speaks itself! If you're interested in how animation techniques have evolved over time, you gotta check out this fascinating visual history of stop-motion animation in film. From the magic of the silent era all the way to the jaw-dropping usage of stop-motion today, watch as technology shapes one of the coolest methods of animation out there. You can read more about "The Evolution of Stop-Motion" project here.

Pages