29 November 2014

The Walk Home


This is not for the faint-hearted but then London based artist Steve Cutts’ work rarely is.  A young boy, beaten and bloody, makes his way home through a nightmare inner-city.  This really is a vision of Britain that will resonate with anyone who has been to certain areas in the dead of the night yet the discovery that the boy is about to make turns this animated short in to something quite extraordinary.

How to be a Supervillain


If you have always fancied being a supervillain then you should know that there are some steps to take before you can achieve world domination. 

Fortunately for you, however, we have a guide, courtesy of Alkanoids, a design studio based in Milan, Italy.  So, sit back and take it all in – perhaps in the near future the world will tremble at your name, after all.

Star Wars Episode VII: First Day on Set as a Jedi


It’s an actor’s first day on the set of Star Wars Episode VII. Will it be everything he hopes and dreams of or the dark return of the prequels menace?

You might be able to guess but this short by Owyn & Co, a British comedy collective based in London has a surprise up its sleeve for those who day to mess with the Star Wars legacy.

Pumpkin Spring – The Grand Canyon’s Arsenic Pool

Below the rim of the Grand Canyon runs the beautiful Colorado River.  Many take trips down its length but among the majestic scenery is something which they do not quite expect – a huge, enormous gourd-like squash. Jutting out from the canyon wall and perched above the river, this highly unusual formation is known as Pumpkin Spring.

23 November 2014

The Garden


A lonely chimera comes across a beautiful garden and seeks entry.  Yet little does it realize that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  This is an incredible piece of animation made by a group of students for their graduation project at Bellecour.  As well as being visually exciting it also offers us much food for thought.  France, as ever, continues to offer some of the best animation programmes in the world.

Sunday Short Movie: What Happens When the Mutant Generation Reach a Certain Age?


It happens to us all, it is inevitable. The ravages of age catch us and it is our fate, often, to end our days in a care home. However, when you’re a mutant that doesn’t mean that your superpowers have completely deserted you.

When one group of Ex-Men find themselves together in a retirement community then it isn’t long before The Care Home Wars break out. Directed by Alec Birkbeck this is a gentle riposte to the overblown nature of many (most!) superhero films.  One couldn't even call this The Last Stand as, bless 'em, most of the Ex-Men here can't even do that...

22 November 2014

The Saguaro Cactus And Its Greedy Guests

The Saguaro cactus, found in Mexico, Arizona and some parts of California is a giant among its type, growing to the size of a tree. It also gets a number of greedy house guests during its life time.

The desert isn’t a place that you might normally associate with teeming life, but our planet is full of surprises. The saguaro manages to survive in extremely harsh climates and, wherever it lives animals are to be found. Some even manage to make the enormous cactus their home. This Gila Woodpecker, for example, seems completely at ease among the spines.

Requiem of Ice


The Sandy Glacier Cave system is made up of two large caves, Snow Dragon and Pure Imagination: they extend deep into the glacier. A project a year in the making, ‘Requiem of Ice’ reveals the dramatic melting and collapsing of the cave system that has been occurring since its discovery around a decade ago. John Waller and Ben Canales of Uncage the Soul have scripted an artistic narrative interpretation of the final thoughts of the glacier cave to accompany the time-lapse, high speed, and aerial footage that was produced. Just gorgeous.

Dystopic Utopias: A Movie Montage


Clara Darko, a 33 year old Spanish film lover and video editor has outdone herself with this one – and I loved every second of it.  She has put together a montage of dystopic utopias but before proceeding on this project she laid down a few ground rules.  First of all, there had to be some sort of organized society, so purely post-apocalyptic films were dismissed.

Next, the oppressed had to be humans, not aliens or androids.  Society had to be controlled by humans, not aliens or artificial intelligence.  Finally, society must have evolved only through human ways, not biological.  With those rules in place you might wonder how many films that she had to choose from, but fear not there were plenty enough to make this visually enthralling movie montage.

If you want to know which each movie featured is (in order) then here you go.  The montage starts with Starship Troopers and proceeds to feature Minority Report, Death Race 2000, Running Man, Death Race, Gamer,  Surrogates, The Island, Zero Theorem, Snowpiercer, Wall•E, Idiocracy, Fahrenheit 451, The Purge, Total Recall, Repo Men, I, robot, Soylent Green, The Lorax,  Demolition Man, Elysium, The Giver, Serenity, Metropolis, Aeon Flux, Logan's Run, Divergent, A.I., Babylon A.D., Blade Runner, Cloud Atlas, THX 1138, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Sleeper, Escape from L.A., Dredd, Total Recall (2012), Freejack, The Hunger Games, Fortress, Gattaca, Code 46, Never let me go, In time, 1984, Brazil, Scanner darkly, Equilibrium, V for Vendetta, A clockwork Orange and Johnny Mnemonic – 51 movies all told.  Time, now, to get my breath back!

The Runt


When the runt of a litter of rabbits is to be disposed of, a young boy’s please result in a stay of execution but with a proviso: he must look after the runt but after a year he must kill it himself.

Yet when the year is up will the boy be able to go through with his promise? This animated short has script, design and direction by Andreas Hykade of Film Bilder.  Please don't expect a happy ending - this animation is European.

17 November 2014

Ritual


A young girl must leave her parents behind and journey by boat to a wild and untouched island.  Once this ritual is complete she will receive a bracelet which signifies her transition in to the adult world.  In order to do this she is given a teacher – a somewhat grumpy island monster.  This most charming creation, one of the sweetest rights of passage animations you will come across, was created by students at Bellecour in France.

The Wave, Arizona, As You Have Never Seen it Before


Gorgeous erosion against a starry night:  Arizona’s Wave, the famous sandstone landscape of the Colorado Plateau has never been the subject of a night time-lapse before.  Step in Gavin Heffernan of Sunchaser Pictures and Harun Mehmedinović of Bloodhoney who created this in association with BBC Earth. 10,000 stills provide the footage which is… well, just watch it!  You will soon see why they called it Wavelight.

What if an Epidemic Emptied London of People?


Can you imagine London without people?  That is quite an ask, particularly if you live there: the one constant you have is the presence of another person in the vicinity.  Yet Clare&Max have done this in Miasmatic and the result is eerie, like 28 Days Later without Cillian Murphy – or any zombies for that matter.  Yet watch closely -  there is still a barely detectable presence here. Find out how they did it here.

16 November 2014

The Poitou - The Donkey with Dreadlocks

This is the Poitou Donkey. Only thirty years ago, less than thirty of these beautiful and friendly animals were left. Now, thanks to a conservation programme, it looks as if the dreadlocked donkey is set to stay awhile on Planet Earth.  Our sibling site, the Ark in Space, has its story.

Maggie Smith by Derren Brown



I must come out from the rock under which I hide on occasion.  I didn’t realize that Derren Brown was an accomplished artist as well as being the illusionist come trickster come mentalist come hypnotist that he is rightly famous for being.  Yet here he is creating a wonderful portrait of Maggie Smith.  Plus it’s a time-lapse too which makes its home on Kuriositas a done thing, really.   Enjoy!

George the Poet - 1,2,1,2


George the Poet, aka George Mwanga hails from an estate in North West London but studied at Cambridge so he knows a thing or two about meeting all kinds of people. 1,2,1,2 directed by Abbie Stephens tells us that despite the billions of the people in the world we are all unique.  That’s not a new idea per se but George the Poet’s delivery gives it a new bloom that could make you believe it all over again!

Sunday Short Movie: The Multiple Layers of Maggie Papadopoulos


Set in a small, sleepy hillside village in Cyprus, this heart-warming story follows the building friendship between a young girl named Anna and an older woman called Maggie.

Anna can’t quite work out why this older woman sitting on the bus stop bench every morning wears so many clothes! She obviously has her reasons, but it’s springtime and the Cypriot sun is starting to get hot. Yet she still sits there every morning wearing all the clothes she owns, while Anna waits on a rusty old bus to turn up and take her to school.

But who is this older woman that Anna’s friends call ‘Mad Maggie’ and is she hiding something? Or is she just a sad and oppressed old lady that’s lost her marbles?  The movie was written by David Izatt and produced and directed by David Izatt and Craig Wilson of Zoghogg Entertainment.

Gondar: The Camelot of Africa

When pre-twentieth century Africa is studied in schools it is the slave trade, its awful consequences and the later colonial Scramble for Africa of the nineteenth century which tend to attract the focus of both teachers and students.

Often overlooked is the only country which successfully resisted European incursion and retained its own sovereignty: perhaps its late twentieth century tragedies of famine and attendant local and civil wars do little to persuade the casual historian to look further in to its past.

15 November 2014

Paddington Who? Peter Capaldi Gives our Peruvian Pal a Timelord Makeover

Paddington is an old favorite of Londoners. They (and the Brown family) welcomed the Peruvian bear’s first incarnation way back in 1958.  Just five years later a certain TV show began which, like the Paddington, is still going strong.  Doctor Who lead Peter Capaldi recently joined forces with British charity the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) to bring us Paddington Who? The statue is located at the Greenwich Meridian, Royal Observatory Greenwich in South East London.

Paddington’s distinctive duffel coat has morphed in to a version of the Tardis while the back features a rather jolly looking disco-dalek.  Capaldi’s creation is one of just 50 versions of Paddington Bear designed by a stellar cast of celebrities including Sandra Bullock and Benedict Cumberbatch.  They have popped up around London in recent days to raise awareness for the ChildLine arm of the charity which enables young people to get help and advice about a wide range of issues.  All 50 bears will be auctioned off later in the year with the proceeds going to ChildLine.

Many thanks to Kuriositas reader Darren Kerrison, who kindly sent us these pictures of Paddington Who? We will hopefully include the others in an upcoming feature.

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit Slovakia, You Will After You Watch This


Present-day Slovakia only became an independent state in 1993 but it has over 1500 years of Slavic cultural history behind it not to mention some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe.  Dominika Martincova hails from this small but incredibly vibrant country and created this marvelous time-lapse of her homeland (called Time for Slovakia) on returning to it after almost three years of globe-trotting.

14 November 2014

Phoenix 9


After a nuclear war has devastated the planet a group of survivors journey through the barren wilderness to find refuge.  They stumble across a secret installation and are offered a new beginning – but there is a catch.  This superbly created science-fiction short movie was created by Amir Reichart (director and editor) and Peer Gopfrich (writer and producer) of Double Vision Films.  Although self-contained it is hoped that this may one day become a feature film.

How Will You Die?


This is a question that, if you have a Facebook account, you may be confronted with every day thanks to your news feed and depending on the general silliness of your friends and acquaintances.  However, this animation by Steve Cutts (created for NPR originally) is not a daft quiz, gets to the point within seconds and – with great comedic bluntness – tells you how you will really die.

Money Does Grow on Trees


Did your mother ever chastise you with the words money doesn’t grow on trees in a possibly fruitless attempt to curb your profligate ways? Well, maybe – just maybe – she was wrong.

9 November 2014

The Real Afghanistan


If you said Afghanistan has had its ups and down you would never be accused of exaggeration.  Yet as the creator of this short, by Mikai Karl says, Afghanistan is “a country misunderstood, depressed by conflict, fighting for stability. A country thought of as inhospitable, in fact home to some of the most hospitable people. Yes, there has been war, their country has been torn, but they are a strong people, just like any other, searching for peace among this chaotic world.”

Sunday Short Movie: The Treehouse



Bereavement at any age is difficult, to say the very least, but when you are young it can have an impact leaves a shadow over the rest of our lives. When Matt loses his mother his world seems to have lost its meaning until he meets the girl next door, Angela.  She tells him that she has a spaceship and with it they can find his mother. The Treehouse was directed by Sam Shapson and AJ Sheeran.

Ian McKellen Gently Upstages George Ezra


I used to scratch my head about Rick Astley but have recently been somewhat confounded by George Ezra’s voice.  The young British singer’s looks belie his base-baritone delivery – it always sounds as if the deep and throaty voice should be coming out of someone else’s mouth.  This must have occurred to director Rob Brandon too.

Step forward Sir Ian McKellen who provides a more lived-in look for Ezra’s soulful singing not to mention a cheeky attempt at upstaging (what for once is) the real talent.  I am resisting the temptation to throw in a Gandalf joke here…

How Early Man Discovered Art


At some point in early human history, man discovered art and the wonderful drawings discovered in caves are testament to this early inclination to culture.  This video shows us one way in which, perhaps, the art of the chase gave way to the art of the cave. However, as you will discover in this wonderful animated short by LISAA students, while one step is made in the general direction of civilization, others are yet to be determined.

8 November 2014

The Bat-Eared Fox – Did You Ever See a Fox Fly?

Around 800,000 years ago a species developed on the African Savannah, a canid but quite unlike any other. It was small – with a head and body length of only around 55 cm, tawny furred and with black ears. It is the ears which really make this mostly nocturnal animal stand out.  On average the ears of the bat-eared fox are a staggering 14 centimeters in length.  Proportionally they may not be as large as Dumbo’s but this is no fictional appendage. These ears are for real. Our sibling site, the Ark in Space has the full story.

Image Credit Rene Mayorga

It's Paved With Them....


The Sound of Flames


This is a mysterious yet beautifully elegant animated short by a group of students at Paris based animation school LISAA.

In it an old man goes in to a forest plays his stringed instrument.  The music produces fire and cleanses the forest. That is pretty much it but this is done with such aplomb that it is difficult to believe that it was created by a group of students.

Bulletproof Thoughts: Ray Bradbury


This is an excerpt from a James Day interview with Ray Bradbury made on 21 January 1974.  In it the author muses about a number of things including how he saw himself as part of the universe waking up and how we sometimes have to think about the ‘unthinkable’. The visuals by too are amazing all of which comes together to form Bulletproof Thought’s second philosophical pill for the suffering souls of the hypermodern era.

The Magic Moment: When Pop-Up Cards Become Art


If you thought that pop-up cards were cute but throwaway, then you might want to take a look at Peter Dahmen’s creations: if you got one of these for your birthday the likelihood is that you would want to keep it forever.  This amazing paper engineer creates sublime pieces that are much more than just a card.  In this film by Christopher Helkey he talks about his pop-up passion and shows us some of his brilliant creations.

4 November 2014

Ganvié - Lake City of Africa

This is not a picture of a flood. This is Ganvié, in the Republic of Benin, the largest collection of lake dwellings in Africa. 20,000 people call Ganvié’s stilt supported dwellings home.  The city, in the middle of lake Nokoué, is not a recent construct however. 

Ganvié is up to five hundred years old. Sometimes called the Venice of Africa, like the Italian city its first inhabitants set up home there out of sheer necessity.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century the country was called Dahomey and was one of the most powerful states in West Africa. The major ethnic and linguistic group was the Fon and they had made a deal with the Portuguese. Rather than their own people being captured and sold in to slavery they made a contract with the Portuguese to hunt and sell tribes people from smaller ethnic groups.

If I Had a Moustache… for Movember


I once tried to grow one.  It was light and fluffy and turned green under disco lights (that statement ages me). My father visited and giggled at it: I don’t think I had ever heard him giggle before.  I have used a razor ever since.  However, now it’s Movember, a month in which many men grow moustaches in the name of men’s health. Pixel Park, the animated studio behind this paean to the tache, show us how to make the world a better place, one tache at a time.

The Lost Glove


We are now getting to that time of year (certainly here in London) where draws and cupboards are rummaged through in search of that pair of gloves.  Now where are they and why can I only ever find one? Frustrating as that may be it doesn’t compare to what the poor lost glove goes through! Directed by Lizzie Oxyby, The Lost Glove features the amazing handiwork of Theatre-Rites' puppeteers and tells a touching story with surprising use of found objects.

Green Eyed


In the 1980s yuppies were everywhere and it might have stayed that way if the hunting parties had not been organized. Status was everything but one young urban professional on the up his smug existence is about to come crashing down around him when a somewhat Nosferatic ghoul arrives at his party and undermines him at every turn. Written and directed by Nathaniel Lindsay, Green Eyed asks the question who is the monster and who is the man?

2 November 2014

The Abnormal, Gruesome Gall – Alien Invader in Your Yard

They appear as if from nowhere.  A previously healthy looking plant suddenly has an abnormal growth protruding from it.  Some are hideous and some strangely beautiful but they leave the plant looking as if it has been invaded by miniature aliens.  And in a way that’s exactly what has happened.  Take a look at the weirdness of the plant gall.

Sunday Short Movie: Market Hours


Grab a hot beverage, wrap a quilt around you and enjoy this charming short film.  Randall is a burly but benign security guard who enjoys his job guarding a market even though, as his boss tells him, he is not that good at it!  Not only that but he is too shy to ask the girl he loves for a date. It takes a threat, a thief and a small dog for fruit and hearts to collide in this lovely short by Lexus Short Films.

The Real Reason Alien Abductions Happen


All it needs is one for it to work.  Here, aliens kidnap the famous Dutch cartoon character DirkJan and implant him with a device which turns him from a loser who stumbles through life in to a military dictator bent on global war.

In DirkJan Rules! from animated studio Mooves (which is based in the Netherlands) we finally discover the reason why aliens have been abducting us for so many years! Oh dear.
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