Sunday, July 31, 2011

Animated Chat 2011: Carlos Saldanha and the Magic of Rio

In the last Animated Chat of 2011’s Anima Mundi edition in Rio de Janeiro, the Animated Square was full of people eager to listen to one of Brazil’s most recognized animators: Carlos Saldanha, who recently direct the film Rio. Saldanha is an old friend of the festival and this was his second participation in the Animated Chat. He shared with us his own history of success and told us everything we wanted to know about Blu, the male blue macaw, star of the film Rio.

Carlos has been living in the United States for the past twenty years. He left Brazil and his home city, Rio de Janeiro, to do an animation course in New York. He had already studied a bit of computer science and he didn’t want to loose that. In the animation field he could put together his technological skills and art. When he first arrived to America he was shocked with how many computers there were available in the school, something that was rare in Brazil’s reality. He started working day and night and a professor invited him to do his masters in the school. Saldanha decided to stay and started taking lessons about concept and theoretical aspects of animation. Most of the other students came from an artistic graduation, but had difficulty to deal with the technique tools and programs. The digital part was never a problem for him, so he ended up doing two short movies during the masters. One of then, Time for Love, was presented in 2002’s Anima Mundi. “This is one of the very few movies that I can say it is a hundred per cent mine and it is great to have it as a reference and be able to evaluate my own growth process as an animator”, said the director.

Before finishing the masters, Saldanha received a new invitation this time to work in his professor little animation studio, the Blue Sky. Back then, the animation market was starting to boil because the first digital feature movie, Toy Story, was about to come out. The company was not very lucrative, but they decided to give it a shot. For a while they did only commercials, including Big Deal for Bell Atlantic. He told us that he had the opportunity of transforming something complex into a pretty simple and good idea, which for him is one of the most amazing things about animation, the capacity to turn very simple ideas in great contents. The commercial was a success and that helped open new doors to the company. For Carlos that meant the transition from animation to direction. He became after effects supervisor in the next project, the film Joe’s apartment.

With the thirteen minutes of the funny and disgusting animated cockroaches, Blue Sky achieved a new level within the American animation industry, which was going through a series of transformations. The studios were joint together to create big animation complexes and there was a rumor that new features movies were about to take off. Blue Sky ended up joint to Fox and a little while later came the opportunity to do Ice Age. Carlos co-directed the movie with Chris Wedge. A few months before the launch there was a big expectation in the company: if the film succeed, they will for sure be given other screenplays, if not, there was a highly possibility that the studio would be closed. To stimulate everyone in the office, Carlos decided it was the time to get on board in a different and funny project, so he started doing the short movie Gone Nutty. The film stars the squirrel Scratt, one of the most beloved characters in Ice Age. The movie was a hit and ended up nominated to the Oscar. Unfortunately, Carlos didn’t take the award home with him.

After the success of Ice Age, Blue Sky started doing movies without even stop to take a breath. Robots, Ice Age 2 and 3 and Horton Hear a Who were produced during this period. This was also the time when Carlos decided to achieve an old dream: making a movie about Rio de Janeiro. “All of the sudden people were thinking about doing films located in France, China and many other countries and I started asking myself why not a film in Brazil”, said the director. The initial idea was to do a movie about a penguin. “I remember reading newspaper articles about these little penguins that arrived in the beaches of Rio during winter”. In the story, the animal would be locked up by traffickers and would have to fight for his freedom. But the most touching aspect of the movie was not to watch the penguin getting rid off the physical chains, but actually the process of setting his heart free. The Brazilian’s heat would inspire the penguin and melt down his ice cold heart, teaching him how to love.

Unfortunately several other movies about penguins were being produced, so Carlos had to think about something else without loosing the essence of the story. They came up with the idea of using a macaw as character. From there, it was born Blu, who is actually from Rio in the story, but that has never felt his own land’s heat. Saldanha told us that the film has a lot about his personal experiences. “I wanted to reconstruct in animation the feeling I usually have when I first arrive in Rio after being a long time away”, he said. In the movie, it takes a while until Blu finds out his “brazility” and starts considering Rio as his home.

Saldanha wanted a very colorful and happy film, that shown not only Rio’s visual beautiful, but also its cultural diversity, music and carnival. The commercial viability of the movie was important. The film should be didactic and able to talk to everyone. “I was not doing a movie only to Brazil”, he said, “it was a movie to the whole world, so I had to incorporate elements that were familiar, which people would be able to connect even if they didn’t know anything about the city”. That was a challenge even during the production because only three of the team members actually have been to Rio. Saldanha decided to bring six of then to visit the town and find out their own impressions about it. The trip ended up being very positive to the production process.

Six months were necessary to bring the main characters of Rio to life. Blu’s design was outsourced and developed in several different countries, especially in Spain. Before animating the characters, once their design is finished, it is necessary to record the voices of the actors that are going to interpret each personage, so that the flash and bone facial expressions can be introduced to the animation process. After that, some 2D sketches are made and only when they are approved by Carlos, the animators can start transforming it in a 3D reality. Saldanha told us that one of the most difficult aspects of animating animals is the feathers. The Blue Sky team developed a special software just to deal with the fur of the animals in previous movies, such as Ice Age. The program was adapted to be able to animate birds. About five million microscopic feathers were put in Blu’s body. That increased the animation possibilities, making the animal a lot more real. Once finished the body and constitution, the animation challenges of movement starts. One of the biggest concerns was whether they could animate a bird that dances Samba, a typical dance from Brazil that involves several difficult and fast foot movements. In spite of everyone thoughts, it was not a legitimate Brazilian that were able to put his dance in the computer. It was a Finnish animator that had no talent at all to dance Samba, but a lot of ability with his hands to manage to animate the dancing bird.

Animating human figures was also a challenge. Saldanha didn’t want perfect real characters, so the people in the movie have a caricature aspect. He told us that it is very expensive to animate human by human, so what they usually do is create six basic models, in which they can chance the color of the skin, hair and clothes. These six types were used to create the main human characters, but can also be seen in the extras composition. To create crowds full of people, it is the same process. In the last act, for example, when they are passing through the carnival parade, it were necessary fifteen equal modules, with the same persons on each module, to fulfill the four thousand hundred sits bleachers. To create the favelas (slums), one of the aspects the animators were more interested about, the same scheme was used. Several sets of houses were created in 3D and then combined to form a big favela. Many technological tools were developed during the production of the movie to overcome the graphical problems. The animators were very dedicated and wanted to create a perfect picture. There are so many details that if you don’t have a Blue Ray DVD and a very good view you are not going to be able to detect!

Carlos Saldanha joint his computer skills with the passion for his home town to create a delightful and interesting movie. Rio showed a little bit of Brazil to the whole world and the fans are already eager to see the second. “Usually when the film turns out to be a success it is possible that the studio asks for another episode. But we don’t have anything closed, not even an idea for a screenplay”, he said, and add: “I don’t have any project now, I’m going to enjoy my vacations!” Is it hard to guess where he is spending his holidays? In Rio de Janeiro, of course!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A little bit about Shinichiro Watanabe

Japan invades Anima Mundi once again, with the presence of one of its most renowned and respected directors and authors: Shinichiro Watanabe. Born in 1965, in Kyoto, he is greatly admired for his works, such as the iconic television series that originated the feature film Cowboy Bebop, and the Samurai Champloo series.

Watanabe began his career as an animator at age 20. He joined Sunrise studios as a production assistant, and became co-director of Macross Plus, the continuity of the successful Macross series, in 1994. He began his career as a director with Cowboy Bebop, the series that became a huge hit worldwide and originated the feature film Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, 2001 (which later became known simply as Cowboy Bebop: the Movie). In 2003, Watanabe joined the select group of Japanese directors invited to create their versions of stories based on the universe of the action film The Matrix, in the cult American production Animatrix. He was put in charge of two episodes (Kid’s Story and A Detective Story), which helped consolidate his status as an international animation celebrity. His next work was a series that presented an innovative format, remixing samurai tradition with the modernity of hip hop – Samurai Champloo, which premiered in 2004.

As a matter of fact, remixing is a key concept in Watanabe’s mastery in harmonizing music and image. It is not just a simple mix of styles, but a balanced and intense combination of longstanding flavors, where visual and musical ingredients blend into a refined culinary recipe of a gourmet. The soundtrack commands his narrative, and the rhythm of his scenes varies in intensity and style according to the dramatic moment. This has led Watanabe to recently start working on soundtracks for other directors, an activity that brings him a sense of pleasure and accomplishment. In Michiko & Hatchin, a recently releases series with sceneries and characters inspired by Brazil, Shinichiro Watanabe, as a musical director, uses Brazilian music, of which he seems to be a great expert and admirer.

Cowboy Bebop: the Movie, which we will have the privilege of watching on a big screen, with the presence of the director (in Brazil, it was released as a direct-to-video and DVD movie), is a film where each sequence brings a different and sophisticated mixture of space and urban sci-fi, American jazz (thus bebop) and western movie style violence. Each one of these sequences was planned according to a specific hit song, such as Sympathy for the Devil or My Funny Valentine, or musical genre, ranging from samba to heavy metal.

Watanabe once stated in an interview that he would like to demystify the general idea that Japanese people avoid expressing their feelings. To him, this was true only during certain moments and time periods, such as the Edo period, a time of repression in which he placed the samurais of Samurai Champloo. This is the reason why, in this series, he creates this contrast through the eloquence of hip hop.

During the current reign of Anime, it is clear that the Japanese people, as quiet and shy as they might seem, have a lot to say. So prepare your eyes and ears for the Animated Chat with Shinichiro Watanabe, in the Anima Mundi 2011!

* The presence of Shinichiro Watanabe in Anima Mundi is a result of partnerships with the Instituto Japão POP Br and Dô Cultural.

Animated Chat 2011: Shinichiro Watanabe

Japan was one of the few countries that were able to build its own animation industry. In those far lands, the animation art end up acquiring original characteristics, that are known as Anime. There is a false idea that the world can be viewed through only one type of lens. That is proved wrong when we find out how rich is the animation language in Japan and how different it is from ours. To increase the exchange with the “oriental other”, Anima Mundi, in partnership with Institute Japão Pop BR, brought one of the most important symbols of the Japanese animation art, Shinichiro Watanabe.

Side by side with his translator (the polite Jo Takahashi, from Dô Cultural), Watanabe started to tell his life story to an audience that was anxious to know more about the director. He said he was also very happy to be in Brazil, a country that since a young boy he has been fascinated with. Deeply appreciator of Brazilian music, Watanabe has always tried to embody the rhythms of our culture to his movies. In one of his films, there is a sequence where we can see three old men sitting in a bar. Curiously, their names were Antonio, Carlos and Jobim.

Watanabe started at the age of twenty with an important doubt: cinema or animation? He told us laughing that back then there was a rumor that working with animation was really easy. He decided to give it a try. From that, he had a good and a bad news: he discovered he had talent to work in this area, but he soon found out that it wouldn’t be easy. In 1994, he was hired by the Sunrise studio, as production assistant. He learned everything he could until he was given the opportunity of co-direct a film, Macross Plus. Shinichiro told us that his part in the job was to give support to the main director, what frustrated him many times because the feature was not coming out as he thought it should. A few years later, he was reward with the freedom to do his own TV serie, Cowboy Bebop, which soon proved Watanabe talent.

In Cowboy Bebop, Watanabe reunited everything he liked in animation. Spike, the main character, is kind of an ideal figure that has profound impact in Sinichiro’s work and is a remarkable symbol to many animation fans all around the globe. He was inspired in the icon Bruce Lee, not only in the way he fought, but also his philosophy. “The way Spike fights is almost choreographed with the music and that is something I took from Bruce Lee”. The TV series became a film in 2001. Nowadays, Watanabe is writing the screenplay to transform Spike into a flash and bone character. Keanu Reeves has shown some interest in playing it. With the typical oriental serenity, he said that there is nothing confirmed. “The only thing I’m afraid of is to do a life action that ends up like Dragonball Z”. We appreciate your concern!

A few years after doing Cowboy Bebop – The Movie, Watanabe was invited to direct to episodes of the American series Animatrix, based on the big hit Matrix. The short-films Kid’s Story and A Detective Story were exhibit during the chat and Shinichiro told us a little bit more about those pieces. He told us that is very common for people to ask whether he used or not rotoscope (technique where the animation is designing over life action, frame by frame) to do the episode Kid’s Story, because of the almost photographical background. Some parts were actually shot with real characters, but the tapes were only used to serve as a reference. The episode A Detective Story was actually an accident. He was invited to do just one, but in the last minute the directors needed another one, so the movie end being produced with one-third of the time available for the first one. They had to cut some action scenes and put more passages without movement, just a quick simulation. This kind of technique, when well used like Watanabe did, can reduce the production time, without any loss of quality.

Shinichiro told us a lot about his relation with music as well. All his films have amazing sound tracks. But the level of involvement between music and director is a lot deeper than simply choose what it is going to be played in each scene. For him, music is a matter of concept. In Cowboy Bebop, he introduces the way of thinking and feeling within the Bebop movement, one of the most important influences in American jazz. Bebop seeks to bring a free halo to music. It is an attempt to break through that believes in the end of the score’s imperative and opens new paths towards improvisation. Sinichiro brought not only the Bebop’s rhythm to his films, but also embodied the very meaning of it into his work. He started to conduct his movies in a more loosen way, accepting advices, tips and suggestions from anyone. During the rehearsals for record the soundtrack, for example, he would let any musician come along at any time. He wanted to make the music richer day by day, introducing new elements. Even in the screenplay creation process, this way of working was adopted. Anyone could help thinking it through and adding new components. A guy who had just started in the studio became main screenplay director because of Sinichiro’s open mind.

None of this would be possible if Watanabe wasn’t a genius in compositing. He has the power to unite several elements and create an environment where they can potentiate one another. The result is a rich and broad product that has no cohesion flaws. This can be clearly felt in the TV series Samurai Champloo (2004). Watanabe puts together the traditional and serene culture of the samurai with the intense modernity of the hip-hop music. In the hands of other directors, the product of this sum would be a hybrid work incapable of inspire due to the disconnection of its elements. With Watanabe in control, we have an integrated narrative flux that strikes our attention from the beginning till the last minute. The harmonic marriage of image and sound is the key to make this possible. The music becomes an important narrative element, where the flux of its intensity and rhythm has the dramatic momentum as center of gravity. Even the series name is a reference to this capacity of integration. Champloo is a typical dish, made in an island on the south of Japan. It is easy to do! All it takes is to put together everything you like in a pan and fry! That is the essence of Shinichiro’s work: uniting all the elements he is passionate about, balancing ingredients to achieve the most tasteful flavor as possible. “I made an animated champloo”, said the director.

Nowadays, Shinichiro has been working as musical producer in the TV series Michiko and Hatchin. The historiy takes place in Paradiso, a country inspired in Brasil. He told us that he invited himself to work in the program when he found out that it had Brazilian elements. Shinichiro said he hopes that some TV channel in our country tries to bring the program here. Then, to finish, Watanabe presented something different from everything he has done before. “In my histories there are too much people killing each other. After thinking a little bit I decided that I wanted to do a movie where nobody dies”, said the director. It came from this decision the delicate and sweet short movie Baby Blue. It was clear that Shinichiro Watanabe is an artist of many skills. His specialty is the ability of working with the most different elements not only adding, but actually integrating. As a result, we see all the initial ingredients and something else. It is within this “else” that lays Shinichiro Watanabe’s magic.

Masterclass: Ryan Woodward

The last Masterclass was definitely one of the most touching moments of 2011’s Anima Fórum edition, an event specially organized for professional animators. In spite of the “business” purpose of the encounters, the felling and the passion were pretty much alive in all the lectures. This was remarkable in Ryan Woodward’s Masterclass. He is an American animator and storyboards artist, who worked in the films Ironman 2 and Spiderman 2 and 3. He came to Anima Forum to tell us about the creation process of storyboards and animatics for feature movies. And he did not forget talk a little bit about the inspiration and sacrifice demanded to create an authorial short-movie.

Since Ryan was five years old, he already knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. And others already knew that about him as well. In one of his notebooks, a teacher sent his mother a message: “Ryan doesn’t pay attention in class. He draws too much”. In 1995, he started looking for a job in the animation field. Back then, there were no such things as animation courses or specialized schools. The studios would hire you only by looking your portfolio of drawings and then you would learn working. He was hired by Warner and helped doing the feature movie Space Jam.

After a while, the animation industry started to change. New technologies were incorporated and now drawing well was not enough anymore. The animators should have knowledge of computer science and skills to deal with the new advanced tools. Ryan knew that he should learn to keep up with the transformation process. He tried, but he ended up finding out that his heart belonged to the simple pencil and choose to leave the algorithms behind. To stay in the business doing what he wanted, Woodward realized that he would have to find a new area. That is when he started showing some interest in storyboard and animatics’ creation, even thought he didn’t know absolutely nothing about it. He left WB to look for another job, while he was trying to learn more about this specialty.

For someone who used to draw too much since the age of five, learning the proper skills to create storyboards wasn’t that hard. Ryan developed sort of a method to adapt his own mind to the creative process of designing storyboards. He pointed out that one of the most important things is to always carry a sketch book, so then you can be able to draw pretty much everything that crosses your eyes. The purpose of this is not to improve aesthetics drawing abilities, but to stimulate the artist’s capacity of observing and documenting the biggest variety of situations as possible. “Then, when a director asks you to draw a man in a bike, for example, you already have a memory to rely on”. This way, the artist is amplifying his horizon of creation possibilities.

Another important advice given by Woodward is the necessity of training that part of your brain that is responsible for creativity and imagination. He told us that he usually draws figures based on living models, in a realistic perspective, copying in the paper what he sees. He call this an “academic” portray. After been bossed around by his eyes, he says he likes to let his imagination fly free, with heart and feeling. “I like to be able to interpret the model in a creative form”. So he draws the figures again, but now in exaggerated and deformed ways, that doesn’t correspond to the “reality”. This process, according to Ryan, activates the part of the brain that is responsible for creation and not only copy. In long term, this would make your mind a lot more reactive in moments of creation demand, where you have to draw something you are not actually familiar with or that you have never seen. He found out, working as an animation teacher, that the students that are more concerned about making a photographical copy of their models are the ones that have the biggest difficulty when it comes to creation. Woodward believes that drawing is a constantly journey through your own mind to find ways that allows you to think things in different frequencies and perspectives.

All these methods could only be discovered after years of practice. After living Warner, Ryan went to work for Sony, where he drew the storyboards for the last two Spiderman’s films, directed by Sam Raimi. Ryan told us that he learned a lot with the director. “The best type of director you can possibly work with are the ones that let you participate of the creative process”. Raimi used to come to Ryan and say: “I had an idea”, then he would describe something completely fantastic and would always finish with the sentence “draw that for me?” For Ryan, working like this is a million times better than to just receive a screenplay and an order to draw letter per letter.

All this time working in constantly communication with the director, made Ryan realize which skills make a good storyboard artist. He believes that is not the artist job to judge what can work in the movie, because the person doesn’t see the full picture as deeply as the one who is directing. The important is to give support and stimulate the expansion of the director’s ideas. The storyboard artist needs to add value to the initials thoughts and suggest new ones, to complement. The purpose should always be to add, never to compete. There is also the other side that should be kept in mind: the producer’s. The directors don’t spend their time worrying about logistics and budget. It is the producer job to make the film economically viable. Ryan pointed out that is important to have good-judgment and be able to balance creativity and possibility, so you don’t transform the production team’s life into a living heal.

Another important skill is the capacity of thinking the narrative arc of the film and its continuity. You can be able to do amazing figures inside every single board, but it is necessary that the scenes work in a harmonic and cohesive way, board to board. For that, it is central to know a lot about cinematography, which means actually knowing how the camera conducts the story. It is important to also think about the actors, recognize their possibilities and let they participate of the creative process. To cut a long story short: the storyboard animator is an artist of balance. He walks upon the tightrope, sustaining white china plates full of creativity, narrative, draw, cinematography and many other ingredients of the creation process.

Ryan Woodward seeks for balance within his professional life in Hollywood. But he is also trying to reach an internal balance. “I have a lot of fun working in these commercial projects, but it comes a time that something starts itching on the inside and you have to do something of your own, otherwise it will eat you alive”. From time to time, Ryan takes a breath from Hollywood to dedicate to something he really wants to do, something to feed his soul. Once he did a comic book and then he started doing short movies about things he liked. In this last creative momentum, Ryan produced one of the most amazing pieces that are being exhibit in this edition: the short-movie Thought of You. The inspiration came during a flight. He was feeling very tired, physically and emotionally for be working too much. All of the sudden, the music “Thought of You” started to play in his IPod. That minute he knew he must do something with it.

Simple, delicate and remarkable for a sweetness that brings the pain attached, the human figures’ dance of Thought of You translates the history of those who are watching. Ryan put together some of his greatest passions: drawing, 2D animation and contemporary dance. “I made a movie for me in a way that is almost a little selfish”, said the artist. “It is an attempt to solve some internal issues. But I would never reveal what the movie means to me. What I hope is that each and every single person who watches it can be able to find a little bit of their own life inside this animation”.

The lecture ended up with the audience applauding endlessly. It weren’t only the good advice he gave about designing storyboards or the beauty of the short-movies produced with the soul. It was the reunion of all these elements that can be resumed into one thing: the passion for animation.

You can check here the official website of Thought of You and watch the film and the documentary that tells its story, besides more information about the project Conté Animated.

Animated Chat Interview: David Daniels

When he turned eight, David Daniels had in insight as he and his sisters played with modeling clay: while cutting a block of clay with a sharp knife, he was enchanted by the forms that appeared in each slice. He carried that impression with him for fourteen years, until he went to study at CalArts and produced his final project film, Buzz Box, in the technique he named Strata Cut. The images fuse together and transform into other images in a rhythmic frenzy, as if they were moving oil paintings. From then on, David began perfecting and expanding his technique and the art of telling stories through slices of modeling clay filmed frame by frame. He applied this technique to several of his works, such as the Pee Wee’s Playhouse television series, Peter Gabriel’s award winning music video, Big Time, and ABC’s retrospective on Michael Jackson, Moonwalker. In 2002, David opened Bent Image Lab with Chel White, an award winning independent studio, known for its films and spots created with mixed media animation. In 2006, Tsui Ling Toomer joined the company, of which the Brazilian director Nando Costa also became an associate in 2009.

1. What aspects of your life converged to make the creatio
n of the strata-cut technique possible?
When I was a small child, I paid a lot of attention to very small details and textural things. I was given the time just to look, think, and amuse myself without too much interference, and I spent long stretches very focused in my own world. My adult life is so cluttered it’s hard to have time for truly original thoughts, but as a kid, I could stare at light hitting lint balls on the carpet with my face sideways to the ground for half an hour. My mother allowed me almost unlimited to ‘play with clay’ from the age of five, along with my two sisters, Shelley and Cary. She let us use a dedicated room and table to just this … a play room whose only purpose was to sit and create clay sculpture. The table this all took place we named ‘Claytown.’ Stories and imagination were of course a great deal of what came out of that time, but my fascination with how things are sculpturally shaped was ‘in my blood’ from my earliest memories. The germ of ‘Strata Cut’ came to me in an instant one birthday when I was eight years old. I don’t think it was my birthday, I can’t remember. We had the party, then went back to Claytown and made a crude cake out of modeling clay in imitation of the party cake. When my sister sliced open a piece of clay, and all the buried colors and shapes were still inside … that instant was a moment frozen in time for me. The cut made the image so fresh. It wasn’t dull, or blurry. it was magically clean, and clear, and precise. We went on to experiment with a clay hard boiled egg (with the hidden yellow yolk) and sure enough the slice revealed everything buried again. I knew this was special. I did not have any idea how to ‘use it’ at that age, but I filed it away forever as something I vowed to ‘return to.’ This revelation was something never to let go of and always to remember. So nothing was done at that moment, but the insight and determination to do something that became Strata Cut was absolutely born from that experience. I also had a young interest in architecture until I realized I could make all the building shapes I wanted, but they would just sit there and never really change or move or do anything. I dropped architecture around age 11, and when I was given a super 8 camera by my mother as a birthday present. I began to make stop motion movies, and one of them was good enough to win several awards when I was 13. This brought me some decent prize money when I had little, and an all expenses paid trip to New York, which definitely opened my eyes. I was impressed. I think I realized I a living could be made in this thing they call ‘animation,’ and have gravitated back to that feeling of adventure ever since. Animation = travel and running around money is the equation that formed my life. I worked on a lot of my own stop motion and low end live action shorts for the next nine or ten years, but never forgot ‘to go back to it.’ I vowed to always go back to those sliced images and really discover their secret. The time finally happened the summer before I went to Cal Arts, when I was 22. I had waited fourteen patient years when everything clicked.I was supported for expenses by my family and rent by my girlfriend for this entire summer. This is when I sat down and methodically sculpted and cut, and angled and sliced clay every which way, trying to develop a set of rules, a vocabulary for the use of this technique. It was all figured out by trial and error over 6 weeks. Without this lucky circumstance of free time without other school or job obligations, I don’t know that I ever would have followed up on my 8 year old insight. I was very lucky to have the time and the skills at that point to finally re examine the insight of hidden sculptural images. In my years at Cal Arts, I was given a massive studio space, the so called ‘phone closet’ to work in. No other student was given a space so large. This was in fact a hellishly noisy area that no one else wanted to work in, but the room was enormous. I could spread out and really paint with strata cut (Van Gogh style clay) and experiment with the emerging style demands and evolving look of things and everything about it. I was very lucky to have this circumstance, since it took several years to develop create and execute Buzz Box during the night, while doing my normal class work during the day. The constant extreme background noise of this environment drove me somewhat crazy, and accounts for some of the extra bit of angst expressed in the already visually aggressive movie. I was lucky that Drew Neumann did the sound for my first strata cut, and developed a cutting edge musical and sampling style (remember this was 1984) that fit the kind of happy/horror visual madness of the piece so perfectly. The soundtrack supports the uniqueness of the images that just any score would not have done.Since that time, I think I’ve developed an immense understanding and control of strata cut that never existed before I took up a fascination with time sculpting, and controlling the predictable outcome of the buried shapes that reveal hidden animation. In the years after Buzz Box, someone pointed out Oskar Fischinger to me … I knew his general work, but not about his abstract wax cutting machine. It’s a giant blade cutting a frame at a time, but it’s not what I would call strata cut. It’s mechanical abstraction without any of the controlled animation, the precise motion design or time sculpting language that I developed. 10 years ago, I somehow saw a few seconds of a silent movie Russian wax cut from the 20’s that was earlier than his abstractions. This clip was a simple figurative extrusion, I think it was of a cat or horse silhouette, but I don’t know who did it, and I have been unable to find it since.The abstract idea of cutting a clean surface pattern with a blade has been with us for thousands of years. The example of ‘Millefiori’ is an ancient sliced pottery pattern technique similar to ‘Fimo’ beads. Controlling the animation within a sliced substance to create narrative storytelling events at the level I do, is a whole other ballgame. Developing that ability to structure figurative animation as pre built extrusion blocks, and naming this new thing ‘strata cut’ has defined my unusual journey through life.

2. What have you been working on these days?
For almost thirty years, I have made my living as an animator/cameraman, then as a commercial director for character and mixed media Live/Animation work. I developed and helped launch the M and M candy characters for CG, and I directed their animation spots for several years. I still do a lot of commercial character work as a result of that. The past decade, I have been consumed with fostering my own animation production company. This is collaboration with several partners, and a great group of talented artists and producers who make up Bent Image Lab. Along with my family, this intense creative clubhouse takes most of my time. Sometimes I do a little directing as I used to do, but just as often my time is a blend of art, people, and business development. I prepare and pitch a lot of jobs, and I help others who are directing or working on projects. This can be exciting, but it is hard to explain and impossible to show as any result. During these years, I still have creative whims that end up as visionary feature scripts that never seem to get finished or filmed, and sculptures or paintings that I never mount at any gallery. I always seem to run out of time to do more personal work, before my kids and my job come back and take over. There is one pet project that shows some promise. I am closer to getting a proper program to do good CG strata cut than I have ever been. One of my sons is a budding programmer, and he is helping me realize this software, and currently test it out with several interested CG art students who are helping us part time. CG strata cut demands the same ‘mental muscle’ and it fits my way of thinking. It has much wider possibilities than clay, yet very different artistic restrictions and constraints. You can tell all kinds of extruded live action stories which would be impossible in clay, but if you allow things to seem too finished, people will feel it’s just computer generated, so there is no ‘magic’ in the mind of the viewer. Storytelling in such a strange and weird world is both daunting and thrilling. The technical obstacles are enormous, and they still slow everything to a crawl. CG Strata Cut has 3d animated texture blocks that run through the entire sculpture, so the need for RAM is immense. The results looks interesting so far, but it will be awhile before I have a real show piece. CG time extrusion animation demands a really different artistic sense, with different visual rules, and therefore demands I come up with different results and different storytelling than the analog primitive narrative from I originated. It’s also expensive, and requires a team, which is hard to keep when there is no money in it yet. I think I’ll finally have something worth presenting this time next year. I’ve been thinking I want to do a stereoscopic conventional clay strata piece, but one that has more character storytelling, as well as more mixed media. I think caves, valleys, open clay design with mixed objects, and radical timing changes is a very interesting way to keep progressing with basic hand made clay strata cut. I also want to stop ‘the fuse’ more often. Stop the progression of cutting, and do other things, before the cutting begins. Cutting at strange angles is also something to explore more … to vary the speed and angle of the knife to make an ‘animated’ blade, and not be consistent. There are more surprises still ahead, should I get the time to enjoy making them. I also want to someday do a short stereo pixilation piece. I believe stereoscopic viewing allows humans animated one frame at a time to become a whole new vivid re invention of traditional Pixilation.

3.What artists inspire you?

Peter Jansen: Brilliant. Gregory Barsamian: Genius. Jan Van Holleben: Great. Ron Mueck: Astonishing. Julian Beever: Get’s to blow minds while working outdoors. In common, they sweep away all preconceived expectations of spatial and temporal convention, and bring a level of private dream out into the daytime. They do this with excellence, panache, and fresh insight. They all possess a grace and flair to their work that goes beyond the technical magnificence that sits on the surface idea.I’m truly inspired by dozens of other artists every year. Some of those who do work for my studio have inspired me like Pascal Campion, Carlos Lascano, Colin Batty, and Portland’s own Brett Superstar who deserves a wider following than he get’s now, and has a look that will be discovered. I also love several of the Brazilian motion graphics gurus like Guilerme Marcondes and Nando Costa.

4. Have you been to Brazil before? How do you imagine Anima Mundi to be like?
No. I have visited both Argentina and Uruguay, but never yet Brazil. I have been all over the world and each time I am in some fresh new place very different from where I grew up, or where I live, I feel the experience to be a kind of revelation for me. I enjoy the excitement and thrill of new culture, geography and history (I really enjoy history) so I greatly look forward to this, as a great country with such a different story to tell. Brazil is something I should already have done a long time ago, but now I get the chance. Anima Mundi is one of the biggest and best festivals of great animation in the world. I am greatly honored to be a part of 2011. It brings an inspired focus to the artistic trust we keep in each other, but don’t always open up about. We are fellow travelers who share a common fascination with designed motion. One of the greatest joy’s I feel, is the reaction of other people who have gotten something special from my work. I hope to see that wonder in a few new faces who are unaware of what I do, and that will give me a chance to smile back, knowing their reactions are what make the whole trip worthwhile. I very seldom have time to visit festivals or get out from my work, so this is a rare occasion I passionately look forward to.

Animated Chat 2011: David Daniels and the Strata Cut

The first Animated Chat of 2011’s edition was with the American artist, David Daniels. The conversation was funny and delightful, just like Daniel’s work. He shared with us important moments of his childhood, which have determined the great artist that he is nowadays. One look to a cake made of clay might have changed the way he uses to see and think the world through. As he said in his interview, this epiphany took many years to be transformed into something real, that he could actually work on. He developed Strata Cut during vacations and his first attempt to put it in practice came with the production of the film Buzz Box, a very dense piece of art. After that, he did other films using Strata Cut, such as Journey from a Melting Brain and Freaked. In need of paying the bills, he end up walking away from his clay blocs and started his own firm, the Bent Image Lab.

We were really excited to see all this colorful blocs of clay. The magic was going to happen in front of our eyes and we thought that we were going to be able to see how he does that. People always say that a good magician doesn’t reveal its tricks. Well, David did try it, but no one understood a thing. He has been improving Strata Cut’s technique since the 80’s. His work involves the calculus over the velocity of the cut and the how many degrees must the knife be in relation to the clay to create one specific design. To cut a long history short: it is very complicated. The audience was really surprised to see how David could think all that through. It almost looks like he thinks in a different frequency. We all see the world through different lens from each other, but it seems that Daniels could face everything from a structurally different point of view. It is not a coincidence that, in thirty years, he has never been able to teach this technique to anyone. Maybe the long time between having that first epiphany and actually develop the technique, must have prepared his mind to this new way of thinking.

The most incredible part is trying to understand the theory behind the simple cut of clay. It is not only about doing beautiful images, there is a whole concept underneath the process that relates to the way the artist thinks space, time and even life. Strata Cut blocs of clay are an attempt to transform time into something physical and make us able to see it, simulating the fourth dimension into a 3D structure. He says that we are all blind because we cannot see the process, which he calls extrusion. We humans are only capable of seeing the image that appears when the knife cuts the clay bloc, which he sees as the “present”, but we cannot actually see the process. Strata Cut tries to reveal physically the extrusion of being in time. Extrusion is the name of a mechanical process that gives substance an oblong shape. To understand this process check Peter Jansen’s pieces of art. This artist was Daniel’s biggest inspiration when building Strata Cut.

David has been long gone away from animating Strata Cut films by hand. His is now working in a computer program in the attempt of digitalizing clay, adding new possibilities to the technique. What excites him the most is that, if the project works, he will be able to cut the clay in unthinkable angles. He confessed to us that Anima Mundi Festival and all the talking with other animators who admired his work have made him willingness to do Strata Cut movies again. We hope to hear from him in the festival next year!

To know more about David Daniels's work and philosophy, check the interview recommended by the artist!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Miwa Matreyek talks about her work Mith and Infrastructure

We don’t need words to describe an image like this. Anima Mundi 2011 has a very special guest: Miwa Matreyek, who brought her performance Mith and Infrastructure. Graduated in Experimental Animation in CalArt, Miwa is an animator, designer and multimedia artist. Her capacity to integrate different artistic aspects is an important component of her work. In Mith and Infrastructure we can see the presence of art, animation and music, all united in a place where the absence of natural laws makes it hard to tell the difference between real and unreal. For the artist, the point is exploring how animation and reality can influence each other. Check out the interview we did with Miwa, in partnership with TV Brasil' program, Animania!

How was your first contact with animation?

Miwa: I arrived to animation by making collages and then making the collages move with music. Some of the earlier inspirations were Brothers Quay, where there is a lot of work with collage, as well as with stop motion. I have a real interest in music and animation sort of working together, creating this dance. My works often tends to be choreographed to the music as well.

What is the performance idea? Where did you get the inspiration to do it?
Part of it came from being in school at CalArts. I began taking classes in the theater school, especially a little bit with puppetry, what really opened up what I was doing with animation. I was interested, even though my performance was on the screen, in taking animation and transforming it into a more physical sense. And I hope that in my work, by mixing my physical body with my animation, the animation becomes a little bit more real and my body becomes a little bit more fantastical, into this sort of strange illusion combination world.

How do you transform your body into an animation? Can you explain a little bit more for us?
In my work there is a lot of play with scale. The animation would be a city and I’m walking in the city, and all the sudden I’m this giant, walking into the city. Animation kind of has this way where it can transform time, where something can be speed up or something can be slow down. And what does it mean for a real body to be in that space? I’m interested to see how the laws of physics kind of don’t apply in this body, in how gravity doesn’t work either, because there is sort of this floating way the body can move within animation. I’m not sure if I’m explaining it right. It is hard to explain because it is more like a feeling.

Can you tell us little bit about CalArts?
CalArts is an amazing school. It was actually founded by Disney, to be the animation school for the Disney’s animators and now it is becoming like a full art school, that has dance, theater, writing, music, animation and fine art. They really encourage collaborating across disciplines. So, you know, you meet with the dancers, then you create something new and then you meet with the musician and they help you with your film. So it’s very inspiring in that way. And being at this animation festival right now, kind of reinforces all this in me, because a lot of people here went to CalArts, like Léa Zagury, one of the founders of Anima Mundi. The history is very deep in the animation world with CalArts. And I’m really excited to be a part of it.

Did you produce the animation in your performance? Do you like to do only animation? Which are you favorite styles or techniques?

I studied animation and I primarily consider myself an animator and a performer second. I don’t really want to be recognized as a performance, I’m shy about it. In animation, I usually most after affects, a lot of compositing life video elements with sort of collagen images, like photography that I take from around the street.

What other artists inspires you?
Someone that really inspires me is Michel Gondry. In my work there is a lot of puzzle solving: figuring out how the layers are gone work together with the body, for example. There are a lot of small puzzles that I have to solve. I think that Michel Gondry has also a lot of puzzles that he solves. Of course there is also the music and the images kind of combine together into this really beautiful dance. His work really inspires me, especially his broadness of experimentation.

Does your performance try to show that animation can be more than the films we set on the screen? That the horizon can be amplified?

I’m not sure if that is what I’m trying to show. There is a lot of figuring out the puzzles in my work. It actually works as these little vignettes that I string together and I hope that there is sort of a narrative arc, at least the feeling that I’m taking the audience somewhere.

What touches you in this work? What moves you to do it?

For me the most important is really the puzzle solving. There is a lot of things that I find fascinating, you know, baking, cooking and just look outside of my window, things that inspires me everyday. It is about imagining the image and wanting to create and actually play with it through animation. And then making the images through shooting video and compose it. It is like a collage of layers, my body is part of the collage and the two projections are combined with my body to create an image.

Did you performed in other countries? How are people receiving your work?
I’ve been touring this piece around. I’ve been to France, England, Beijing, Norway, and Canada. This is the first time in South America, even in the southern hemisphere. The reception has been pretty great because I think that is really universal. There are no words, just sort of a happy feeling and that translates into any country.

Do you know other artists that are also trying to cross the line between animation and other kinds of art?

It seems that projection mapping is really taking off in terms of projecting into buildings and transforming the buildings, which is also very interesting when it is really done well. PikaPika definitely is part of this movement. I’ve also seen interesting zootropes, like 3D sculptural zootropes. There was someone named Gregory Barsamian that I was in a festival with and he made this really amazing sculpture with strobe lights and the sculpture keep spinning really fast, which is probably dangerous, but creates this really visceral and beautiful animation in front of you. That is so much more striking than see 3D films with glasses on. It seems like that the film festivals have been more open to not just film, but film and installation or film and performance. There is this move of opening it up and take it to this whole new thing for the audience, what is very exciting. And it is also very interesting because most of the artists that do things like that are not necessarily animators or film makers, but they arrive to film and animation via being a sculpture or a photographer or something else, like a digital media artist. It is very interesting to see film and animation from a different perspective.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Anima Mundi Web and Cell: choose your favorite!

Anima Mundi has always been ahead of its time. Even before digital revolution spread itself in Brazil, the festival was already trying to promote the expansion of animation towards several different platforms. That is why, besides the film competition, two other contests were created. Anima Mundi Web focused in animations specially design for internet and the other one, Anima Mundi Cell, for cell phones. The point was to encourage the animators to learn how to deal with the new media technologies, letting then not only prepared, but also guarantying the possibilities of animation within every kind of platform.

Nowadays, the need of learning this kind of skills is even stronger. In one of Anima Forum’s lectures, Exporting Animation, Kevin Geiger, president of Magic Dumpling Entertainment, pointed out an important issue for those who wants to transform animation into a lucrative business: adapt to the revolution in distribution. Kevin believes that copying the mainstream American model is copying something that is dying. The advice is to be transmedia, create interactive contents and develop alternative forms of advertisement and marketing.

Following the modern tendencies of convergence, the competitions were put together, creating Anima Mundi Web & Cell. The videos are judged by the professional and the popular juries. You can check all the works that were sent here and choose the one you like the most!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Last year was Anima Mundi’s 18th birthday. During all this time, the festival has grown side by side to Brazilian animation industry, which has only achieved the status of solid economic sector in recent years. Nowadays, we can affirm that the animation produced in Brazil is high qualified, what allows us getting new responsibilities. On the other hand, we are now mature enough to identify the obstacles and challenges that remain in the horizon, separating us from being an international platform of animation content. We have grown, yes. But that doesn’t mean that we are ready. So the question is: what now?

Trying to solve this tuff puzzle was Anima Forum’s job. This four day event runs at the same time than Anima Mundi and is specially designed to professional animators. Besides open debates about Brazil's animation industry and ways to develop it, the participants also learn a lot in the Masterclasses. “Teachers” from all around the world come to share a little bit of their experience in the animation field. This year we had American David Daniels, who invented an incredible technique with clay, called Strata Cut, Tom Cordone, who came to talk about the movie Rio’s design and art project and Ryan Woodward, a storyboard artist that has made draws to films like Ironman 2 and Spiderman 2 and 3.

In 2011, our main priority was to create a space where free speech could flourish and in which we were all able to discuss what should be done to guarantee the rights achieved so far. In many ways we have achieved this goals and now is time to put then in practice and stood up for the things we believe. Animation is one of modern life’s main cultural spots and is very important that we fight to maintain it. In the next posts you can check more information about the classes and lectures of Anima Forum.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Getting to know a few more about Brazil

We dedicate special sessions for foreign movies, but we are very proud to also display what is produced here. Our feature movie invited for the session Panorama in 2011 is Morte e Vida Severina em Desenho Animado, directed by the Brazilian Afonso Serpa. The film is an animated version of the book Morte e Vida Severina, Brazilian writer João Cabral de Melo Neto’s master piece. The movie has already been adapted to the theatre, the television and was even transformed in music by the world-famous Chico Buarque. In 2005, the text became a graphic novel, illustrated by Miguel Falcão and then was brought to life in Serpa’s animation movie. The soundtrack was idealized by Lucas Santanna and the voice of the main character belongs do the Brazilian actor Gero Camilo.

The film, a P&B made with 3D technology, portrays the harsh life of Severino, a migrant that leaves the dry northeast area of the country because of the poverty and lack of opportunities. In Brazil, the hunger and malnutrition that has made tons of victims in the lasts centuries is not a matter of climate conditions, is actually the result of the almost eternal Brazil’s concentrate land issue, a reality that remains strong until today. The art design of the movie embodies the roughness of the dry place where Severino live and walks upon and the simplicity of the pencil’s trace makes it hard to define what is land and what is person. The character is practically molten to the land that he will never be able to call his. The movie is not only a tribute to one of Brazil’s most recognized writer and poet, but also a wake up call that shows that this unfair situation has never left us, in spite of how much money our economy makes.

A window to the rest of the world

This year’s edition of Anima Mundi is more international than we usually see. Besides the movies that came from all over the world, we had two specials shows from oversees. One of then is the Session Chilemonos. Every kind of animation in Chile is known as “mono”. In the last ten years, Chile’s animation industry has grown severely, with the production of tv series, short and feature films. Chilemonos is a project developed by the group Spondylus Producciones. Their main concern is to make sure the world knows Chile’s animation contents. There are six short films being exhibit in Anima Mundi, which were never displayed in Latin America before. They were first seen abroad by the Europeans in the 2011’s Anima Festival, which took place in Brussels. The “monos” surprised by the great variety of genres and techniques that were explored in the movies. The films embodied modern tendencies of animation mixing then with traditional elements inspired by American indigenous culture.

France is also well-represented in Anima Mundi this year. Two feature films were made available by the French Embassy in Brazil. Chronopolis were produced in 1980 and mixes objects animation with the still undeveloped 2D technology. The film tells the story of Chronopolis, a city lost in time, where the citizens lived immerse in their own immortality. The film was directed by Piotr Kamler and took more than five years to be finished. Purely visual and full of attempts to break the formal temporal logic, the film echoes in the cinematography the central point of the screenplay. Anima Mundi is also displaying the film La Planète Sauvage produced in 1973 and exhibited in Brazil in the end of this same decade. The movie, directed by René Laloux, portrays the story of a planet where human beings are brutally infantilized and oppressed.

Anima Mundi Festival in one of the most important windows for the Brazilian animators not only to check everything that has been create all around the world, but also to show all the great stuff that are being produced here. This international exchange is one of the richest things about the work we develop. If you have any doubts or whishes to see your country represented in our festival please do not hesitate to contact us.

Making animation films in Anima Mundi's workshops!

Anima Mundi’s Festival is an event that takes over the city of Rio de Janeiro, bringing lots of colors, joy and fun, as if it has life of its own. And the festival has a heart: the set of locations composed by Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil, Centro Cultural dos Correios and Casa França-Brasil, all located in the city centre. Between this last two, there is a small square, usually empty in normal days. During Anima Mundi, thought, the square comes to life and transforms into Praça Animada. They built a very big tent there and everything looks magical as the first time we go to the circus. Inside this tent there is a huge cinema screen. This is the place where the films that win the competition are exhibit in the end of Rio’s festival.

In Casa França-Brasil’s and CCBB’s halls there were the animation workshops. The most famous one is called Pixilation, where you can self transform in a character of a stop motion short film! The participants put on costumes and do some sketches. Instead of filming the scene, the monitors take several pictures and then join everything together, creating a small movie. The magic relies on the in between: you can make hats disappear, transform guys into frogs, and a whole lot more interventions that will look like specials effects in the screen.

The others workshops taught us how to make our own animations with several different techniques. The most well-know is draw in paper. You need approximately twelve pages with different draws of a sequence of events. They are all photographed and put together in sequence to create the illusion of movement. The clay workshop used the same logic. The kids built up clay toys and animated then using a photo camera to create the stop motion. The interaction between the kids and their characters is very important because they are free to think their own stories and create a mise-en-scene, in which they can easily move and interfere. You can do animation even with sand! All it takes is to find a bunch of it and spread it all over a smooth surface. With a paint brush, you slowly draw something or write your name, taking pictures of every single transformation in the sand. In the end, you will see the words appearing like magic.

You must be asking yourselves how the kids put together all this photographs to create a film. Easy! With MUAN (Animations Universal Manipulator), a free software created by Anima Mundi’s team of animators, developed by INPA (Applied Mathematics Institute) and sponsored by the company IBM. MUAN is specially designed to children, so his computer interface is very simple and intuitive to make the job easier. Small kids can easily find out how to work on the program by themselves. The software organizes the photos in sequence allowing a little film to be formed. The biggest conquer of developing this program is that it can put more people in contact with animation, once there is no need of spending lots of money to buy advanced programs and to pay lessons of how to use then. You can download MUAN for free! Just check here!

Last but not least, we have the “analogical workshops”, the ones that did not require the use of digital equipment. Animation is a very old art, since 1833 exists, for example, the zootrope, the first equipment which was able to produce the illusion of movement. Everyone was able to check and use this amazing object. Another analogical workshop is the one that uses the Moviola, an old school film editing machine created in 1917 before the dawn of non-linear editing suites. The participant receives a 35mm film and draw direct into it, using a special pen. After that, the film can be seen in the Moviola.

Anima Mundi is not only a world famous animation festival. It is also an event that cares to inspire the kids in Brazil not only to like to watch animation movies, but also to want to make it.

The Magic Place for Children

The 19th edition of Anima Mundi is now leaving Rio and heading to São Paulo. If you couldn’t be here to check this amazing festival, our blog will bring the news for you! In 2011, Anima Mundi’s film selection pleased the kids (even thought we know there isn’t a limit age to love animation). Check the children’s favorites!

We started on friday with The Missed Lynx, 2011’s feature film winner. The film follows the misadventures of a group of animals to escape from being kidnapped by an unscrupulous hunter, hired by a “benevolent” millionaire, named Noah. The eccentric old man, aware of nature's deterioration hatches a plan: to build a new “ark” and keep a pair of animals for each endangered specie. He recruits Newmann, a cool blooded hunter. But even the best hunter in the world will face endless problems as he try to capture our animal heroes under the leadership of Felix, a jinxed Lynx.

The winner of the silver medal was the very delicate Japanese movie Hearth and Yummie. The animation film tells the story of Heart, a T-Rex who was found still inside the egg by an herbivorous female dinosaur, which raises him as her own baby. The film questions the existence of something we call “essence” in a very beautiful way.

We also had a special show for the Aardman’s most famous character: Shaun the Sheep, with bright new episodes. Shaun is the leading character of this British tv show. He and his friends turn the farm they live upside down in hilarious adventures.

Besides the feature films, we had a session only with short films for children, called Comkids – Prix Jeneusse. The seven short movies were reunited by Midiativa – Brazilian Center of Midia for Children and Adolescents. The premier concern of this institute is to develop audio-visual programmes for children with high quality contents. They work like an observatory, analyzing and mapping every program that is specially designed for children in Latin America. They also look forward to increase the public debate within this field of animation. This special show makes us think about the power of animation when used such as an educational tool. We can point out the short films Things you Think – Love, made with several children’s illustrations about what they see when they think about love, and Paul and the Dragon, the touching story about how kids face harsh realities. And we couldn't forget the amazing Juan Pablo Zaramella with the movie Trip to Mars, elected best short movie by the Popular Jury in 2005.

Another great session especially design for children is Panorama 6 – Child TV. Anima Mundi brings seven episodes of children’s TV series from many different parts of the world, including Brazil. The idea is to show what is being produced internationally and at the same time provide fun as big as the cinema screens to the kids. The show comes with episodes from United Kingdom, Check Republic, Taiwan and Colombia. An episode of the program Trank Train, one of the first TV series that were created and produced entirely in Brazil and was actually exhibited in national channels, had a granted spot in the show!

For those kids that are already drawing and thinking about animation, the tip is to go and see the show Future Animator. The panel reunites films produced by children and adolescents that are starting to discover the magic in the animation world. The films are made in schools or at home. In the next post you will hear more about MUAN, a very simples and easy animation software developed by Anima Mundi’s team, and then you can start doing animations with your own kid!

Anima Mundi is a place for children and their families. Check in the next post everything about all the animation workshops available for the public and more details about how you can do it at home!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Could we wait any longer?

The 19th edition of Anima Mundi started today in Rio de Janeiro! In a dreamy and joyful environment, so well portrayed in the illustrations of Priit Pärn, we had a slightly taste of the next ten days. Inside the familiar cinema tent and enjoying a tasteful combo of popcorn and guaraná, a typical brazilian drink, the faithful audience of the Festival was feeling again almost at home. The expectation was big: the four directors of Anima Mundi, Marcos Magalhães, Léa Zagury, César Coelho e Aida Queiroz hurried up theirs speeches, but without forgetting to highlight the most important events that will be happening in this year’s schedule, which you can check here.

The first session of films inspired the best emotions in all of us. The next ten days are surely going to be very exciting. If unfortunately you couldn’t be here to see the place that inspired Carlos Saldanha’s blockbuster, don’t worry! Come and check everything here in our blog. Let the Festival begins!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

19th ANIMA MUNDI Starting!

The 19th edition of ANIMA MUNDI is about to start! From 15 to 24 July, the festival takes over Rio de Janeiro, in Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Centro Cultural Correios, Casa França-Brasil, Odeon BR, Arteplex Botafogo and Oi Futuro Flamengo and Ipanema. Then it moves to São Paulo, from 27 to 31 July, in the Latin American Memorial, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Espaço Unibanco Augusta and Cine Livraria Cultura.

To resume, we have short and feature films for children, adults, art films in the Gallery, student films and even films made by big studios such as Aardman ( Shaun the Sheep show) and Pixar (with a special screening for its 25 anniversary!).

We have many international guests, beginning with the Animated Chat with Brazilian Carlos Saldanha the director of Ice Age 2 & 3 and RIO, then moving to David Daniels (inventor of the fantastic technique of clay animation, strata cut ) and the cult Japanese director of animes, Shinichiro Watanabe, author of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Shamploo.
RyanWoodward will give a masterclass on storyboards and animatics, and Tom Cardone will teach about the art and design of features such as Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, Disney's Beauty and the Beast and Blue Sky's RIO.

We will be back soon with more info!