31 May 2014

Desire


Envy can be a great spur: not necessarily a wonderful one as one thing always tends to lead to another.  For one small robot, jealousy and resentment get the better of him but fortunately his desire to be the best is tempered by the generosity of his friends.  This animated music video short blends Rob Fetter's song, Desire with story, direction and animation by Scott Thierauf.  Only one word for it really: awesome.

Kismet Diner


If there is one thing in life of which we should all be certain is that we don’t get much of a choice about who we end up loving.  It happens and it may make us scratch our heads but why question something which is obviously out of our hands.

Written and Directed by Mark Nunneley, Kismet Diner follows Laura (beautifully played by Ilinca Roe), waitress and aspiring singer who often takes a turn at the mic at work (now there’s an understanding boss). 

The problem is that the object of her affection, who she doesn’t know from Adam, the guy she has fallen for, simply doesn’t listen to her.  How she gets around this is the story of this rather charming short film which won the Manhattan Short Festival in 2013.  A word of warning – you may need a hanky!

Dinosaurs: All You Ever Really Need to Know in 3 Minutes


Unless, of course, you are a huge dinosaur fan, in which case this animation by The Brothers McLeod covers stuff that you already learned before you could talk.  However, for those of us with simply a passing fascination (a passination?) for  these amazing beasts this potted history of their time on our pale blue dot will be adequate, especially if we like to appear knowledgeable without the prerequisite study involved!

The Amazing Longsheng Rice Terraces


Village elders have a saying in Longsheng: where there is soil there is a terrace. Two hours ride from the city of Guilin in Guanxi province the problem of growing rice on steep hills was long ago solved. From the Yuan Dynasty at the end of the thirteenth century the colossal task of terracing the Longsheng hills to provide a rice harvest began.

29 May 2014

Wilbert


Rosalie is a high flyer but an injured leg brings her down to earth – and face to face with her lonely domestic existence.  Fortunately she has Wilbert, a robotic manservant who can look after her and cater for her every whim.  Yet what Rosalie truly craves is company – can Wilbert provide that too? This pared-down and somewhat melancholic short film, directed by Ben Brand, asks some real if uncomfortable questions about our future relationship with technology.

Wayne the Stegosaurus


If you have ever wondered how to introduce a child to poetry you can’t really go wrong with the poems of Kenn Nesbitt.  His poems have been published since the early nineties and include such wonders as My Hippo Has the HiccupsMill artists adapted the Nesbitt’s poem Wayne the Stegosaurus into a delightful animated film for the 5th Season of Motionpoems, a non profit bringing poets and filmmakers together to create short films.

Maya Angelou In Her Own Words


Maya Angelou is dead and the world is, quite rightly, paying tribute to a remarkable woman.  Yet, I think that I will leave it to the woman herself.  Here, in full anecdotal mode she reflects on a number of issues around the issue of being human, the nature of language and an episode from her past.  I think the words “I am going to be anything I want to be” sums her up admirably.

26 May 2014

Secondary Education: 90s Power Ranger Science-Themed Throwback


Three high school students are forced to make up a chemistry test during after school detention. Over the afternoon, they discover that their Chemistry teacher, Mr Yamamoto, has been leading a secret life as a crime-fighting Power Ranger. When an escaped mutant lobster shows up in the hallways seeking revenge for his arrest at the hands of Mr Yamamoto, they must use the science principles from the test that they failed to help him defeat it.

Eskimal


Eskimal and his seal friend Morsa live on the great glacier.  Yet the impact of industrialization is having a profound effect on their habitat.  Can the two save their world? Created by Homero Ramirez and his team this animated short shows the impact that our over population and dash for resources at whatever cost is having on our planet, particularly for those who still live effectively carbon neutral lives.

Femmes Fatales: Bad is Better


Let’s face it, we all love a wicked woman: well, at least when it comes to the movies.  Those femme fatales really do know how to manipulate and here video editor Clara Darko brings over 50 of them together in this deliciously dark montage.  This compilation of clips spans almost ninety years of movie history and so the bets are on: how many of these wilful women can you name?

He’s Spider-Man


As fan homages go, this one is high up there.  Motion graphics artist and illustrator Shawn Sheehan wanted to create something which captured the spirit of the original 60's Marvel cartoon which, if you are a certain age, you will remember fondly.  Add a cool new theme tune by the Ray Wall Band and you have something which is both a nostalgic salute to the TV show and something quite modern too.

20 May 2014

N’Djekoh


We have featured Chad only rarely on Kuriositas so it is a great pleasure to be able to share this marvelous animated short with you. Based on a true story, N’Djekoh tells the story of a young woman who has never quite been able to get over the loss of her mother. Years after, her memory is jolted. She has, at last, the opportunity to put her mother to rest. N'Djekoh was written and directed by Suki.

What Makes a Hero?


Did you know that adventure stories with a hero usually follow a set pattern, from the Hunger Games to the Hobbit?  This excellent TED animation (aimed at young people, useful to everyone) goes through the cycle of hero storytelling and then brings the focus back around to us – can we be the hero of our own adventure? The answer is a resounding yes – as we are all human (and the one mistake in this very cool video was it said that Frodo was one: which he isn’t!).

A Rather Lovely Thing


The title of this animated short by Cesar Martinez could well be the name of a Stephen Fry novel (does he still write them?) – it has that ring to it. And for some reason I thought “I bet Stephen Fry would like this” as I was watching it.   An American might say ‘go figure’ to that and I might reply ‘go watch’.  It’s all about experiences and how – whether they are good or bad – they can lead to inspiration.  This animated short, all said, is a rather lovely thing.

19 May 2014

Tafoni – Nature's Rock Art

Tafoni – you may not have heard the term but the chance are, if you have visited an ocean shore, (or less likely a desert!) that you have seen them with your own eyes. Essentially they are caves (mostly in miniature) and their formation can often result in beautiful patterns. Yet why are they formed in the first place?

17 May 2014

Noka: Keeper of Worlds


Gabriel is eight and his world has just changed with the death of his grandfather. Yet he has inherited a condition which is mistaken for a form of schizophrenia and he is medicated by his concerned mother.  However, a visit from a friend of his grandfather’s reveals the true nature of this illness.  He is a Noka – a gatekeeper for a supernatural realm. And the gates are open Written and directed by Shaun Escayg this short film will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Robert Mitchum (Will Last Forever)


Robert Mitchum has an acting career which spanned six decades but is perhaps best remembered for his presence in film noir movies.  However, my predominant memories will be for his roles in Cape Fear and Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison which, when taken together, show just how diverse an actor he was.  Brett Underhill has taken his film career highlights in this swinging animated short. It’s sums up his career wonderfully.

NYC Ballet – The Perfect Home


50 years ago the New York State Theater opened and became the home of the city’s ballet company.  This film, commissioned by the New York City Ballet and made by Buffalo Picture House takes a fond look at the last half century with contributions from some of the people who were there at the beginning.  I particularly enjoyed the contribution by Jacques D’amboise who was the principal male dancer on the first night and who still remembers his jejune clanger when interviewed for TV directly after the performance.

16 May 2014

Grumpleton


When you are the only miserable person in the town of Merryville is it any surprise that your thoughts turn to ending it all? That’s the case with Grumpleton who simply can’t take the happiness of the place anymore. Yet when you live in Merryville, slipping off your mortal coil is more difficult than you might think.  This short by Jumbla may not be in the best possible taste (they are Australian, after all!) but it certainly gave me a few laugh out loud moments.

14 May 2014

The Young Mao of Changsha

As a young man Mao Zedong who would later become universally known as Chairman Mao found himself converted to communism in the city of Changsha in south central China.  When a memorial to the founding father of the People’s Republic was decided upon, the people of Changsha decided to go against the norm.  Instead of the mature leader most of the monuments of Mao depict, they decided that they would remember Mao as the young man who discovered his destiny in their city.


11 May 2014

Plugin


In an automated city of the future power and light are generated through the connections between the organic male and female inhabitants who individually make up a fragment of the whole mechanism. 

When one male component finds himself outside of this perfect puzzle he realizes that his future lies with another male connection.

However, the powers that rule the city have other ideas. This unusual mix of a science fiction and a coming out tale, created by Sergio Di Bitetto at Vancouver Film School shows that while love comes in different forms it remains the same.

United Buddy Bears Take Rio de Janeiro By Storm

You may not expect to see a host of bears at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. However, that is what you will get on this world famous stretch for the next few months. A host of 145 bears are lined up and down the promenade, each one representing a different country. There is hardly any guessing which country Liberty, above, represents!

Organized by the German Consulate in Rio, the buddy bears promote living together in peace and harmony on their global tour – their paws held high in the hope of world peace. Since the tour began over a decade ago the bears have raised millions for children in need around the globe. Although each bear represents a country it is the people and the culture that it embodies rather than the political system. The one for North Korea, above, is hardly what one might expect if the former was the case, especially considering the regimes recent comments about the USA’s President Obama.

Can you spot your own country? Here is a great slide show by Flickr User GloveBR2008’s photostream. All of the bears are gorgeous, of course, but I have to admit to a soft spot for that of Ireland as well as that from Egypt – the leprechaun bear and the pharaoh bear respectively.

Once Upon A…


…Selfie. The seemingly addictive trend of taking self-portraits with mobile technology seems to be showing no signs of abating.  In fact, such is the lure of this global fashion to share one’s blackheads with the rest of humanity that its influence has even crept in to the land of make believe.  Here, in her 3rd year film made at CalArts, Amber Ren shows us what the consequences of this narcissistic fad may be for its denizens. Poor Thumbelina.

Me & You


In the early 1970s Jackie Miller and her husband adopted a little boy, Scott.  Almost four decades later Scott took his mother to StoryCorps where they shared a conversation about their shared life together.  Jackie finally takes this opportunity to share a secret with Scott that she has held on to since she was a teenager.  This is a short conversation but one which sums up a lifetime of love in just a few minutes.

7 May 2014

Storychangers: Animating Europe in a Three Day Frenzy


Would you take the challenge to create forty different endings to a film over just three days?  I always suspected a slight madness around Trunk and as that’s just what they are doing, I can hardly say I am surprised!  You can see the live stream above.

Working with Ogilvy Brussels and the European Parliament the folks at Trunk are attempting to get young people engaged with the European elections possibly leading them to cast a vote. Their friends Wouter and Thijs at Volstok have made a film with a cliff-hanger ending for the www.Storychangers.eu website, to get people involved.

You can go to the site and suggest your own ending for the film - what do you think should happen to the cat?  They have already animated cats in space, a cat turning into a muffin, and a cat/unicorn farting rainbows! So give them an idea and then along with Joost Lieuwma in Utrecht and the guys at Volstok in Ghent, it'll be up to them to animate the most popular suggestions!

You can see all the ending so far HERE.

First Steps


Commander Liam Scott becomes the first American on a newly discovered planet and recalls some important first steps he made years before.  A tad jingoistic this may be (I would like to imagine countries coming together for space exploration!) but this is a beautifully created piece of film by Ramiro Cazaux.  The cinematography is wonderful but the one stand out for me is the space suit – epic! (Take a look at our 10 coolest space suit designs feature).

Acorn


You know the old saying but if a mighty oak is indeed going to grow from this little acorn then he is going to have to find a place to settle – and soon.  That’s not so easy when you are in competition with all your brothers and sisters and, frankly, you don’t have much of a clue.  Yet even though growing up is hard to do, it is something we all go through. This lovely extended visual metaphor by Madeline Sharafian created at CalArts is a nutty treat.

5 May 2014

Locked Up

Some say that patience is a virtue and while that might not automatically be true it does seem to be the case in Locked Up, this animated short by Gabriel Grapperon.  He created it at Supinfocom as part of his degree course.  As an undergraduate piece this is nothing short of excellent, atypical of the work done at Supinfocom.  As any good animation does, it tells us as much about the human condition as it does about its ‘toon protagonists

A Little Party Never Killed Nobody


This is a great piece of kinetic typography put to a wonderful tune, Fergie’s A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.

It was created by Guillermo Vázquez as a tribute to both the singer and the song (which itself is a homage to the 1920s and its jazz era music).

I think he’s nailed it.

Vienna Waits for You


Anna has a problem. She looks over eighty but she is in fact only twenty five. Days before, after a break up with her boyfriend she gratefully signed the lease on a new apartment. After all, Vienna like any other big city can be a lonely place. Yet the apartment hides a secret - the old Viennese apartment is a creature with never ending appetite, living off the youth of its residents. This spooky tale is brought to us courtesy of Glacier Films.

StickOut Kickstarter Campaign

You may remember a little while ago we featured StickOut which is a great idea for expressing yourself – on your car!  They have developed a simple and cool platform where you can choose a design and visualize it on your specific car model. You can move it around and rotate it until you find the best spot. Now the team have begun a KickStarter (the world's largest funding platform for creative projects.) campaign.  If you think this is a great idea, then why not get over to the page and support them.  Click on the links or the picture above.

Plus here is the video on the Kickstarter page where the StickOut guys, Yair and Gerardo tell you what it's all about.

3 May 2014

Buzludzha Monument - New Pictures

Here you can see two amazing photographs of the Buzludzha Monument taken recently by Valentin Rüst of Don't Complain Travel. Click on either of the pictures to go to Valentin's in depth report on how the Buzludzha Monument looks today.  Here is a taster from Valentin's feature.

Buzludzha’s architecture is impressive, but how to get in? It almost seems impossible as the main gate is heavily sealed and enforced with metal bars. Luckily, there’s a small opening around the right corner of Buzludzha’s entrance, as somebody must have broken the glass to get in before. You could get in by pulling yourself through the hole in the wall, ending up in the stair case of the building. Within a few seconds of doubt and weighing risks against opportunities, we were both standing inside the Buzludzha Auditorium.

And yes, there is a picture of Valentin's legs disappearing in to the above mentioned hole on his entertaining and informative feature, with some dazzling photos to go with...

The Kelpies Enflammer


This remarkable footage was captured at The Kelpies international launch and shows the outstanding Groupe F fire and light show that illuminated The Kelpies for a crowd of 12,000. Using a combination of time-lapse and slow motion photography, this gets you closer to the action and The Kelpies than ever. Created by filmmaker Walid Salhab and team from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

Steadfast Stanley


It always seems that pets get somewhat neglected in times of zombie apocalypse. I can’t think of a single movie or TV series where they get any sort of priority (but please leave a comment and correct me if I’m wrong). So it is with Stanley – the little Welsh Corgi gets left behind when life as we know it comes to a sudden stop in John Cody Kim’s CalArts graduation film. Will he find his human again? Watch and find out!

Amung Feedjit
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