25 February 2021

Let’s Go Home


You don’t realize how overused a phrase is until it is laid out in front of you.  One of the major culprits (if you can call it that) is let’s go home.  Perhaps it has been rather lazily used over the decades but it now serves as an oral trigger to audiences to indicate movement in storylines. Matt McGee has put this great selection together and – unlike some we can mention – has done us the favor of putting the name of the movie in the bottom left corner.  Thanks, Matt!

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Escape


After crash-landing on a desolate planet, a lone space explorer must find a way to make her new home habitable. This intrepid character displays courage, passion, determination, and curiosity as she transforms the barren landscape she has found into a beautiful planet. Singer Imogen Heap developed an original soundtrack that wraps the audience in Dolby Atmos sound, unveiling the lead character’s changing emotions as she faces the challenges of a dark, disturbed landscape and persists to transform it into a place of joy and delight.
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Cogs


This film is directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker, Laurent Witz, and tells the story of a world built on a mechanised system that favours only some. It follows two characters whose lives seem predetermined by this system and the circumstances they were born into.The film was made for the international launch of AIME, a charity organisation on a mission to make a fairer world by creating equality in the education system.

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Storseisundet - The Bridge to Nowhere

Nervous drivers (and their equally nervous passengers) beware! You should really prepare yourselves for the sight of Storseisundet Bridge in Norway. The road connection from the mainland Romsdal peninsula to the island of Averøya in Møre og Romsdal county doesn’t look as if it actually connects as you drive towards it. In fact it looks very much as if you are in for an icy bath as you plummet off its 23 meters height.

17 February 2021

Maleo - The Bird That Can Fly The Moment it Hatches

Beneath the red hot sand of an Indonesian island something stirs. A large egg is hatching and soon the newborn creature will dig its way out to the surface and take its first gulps of fresh air. Yet no parent watches over it. This sounds as if it should be a young turtle, thrusting its flippers sideways as it makes its desperate lurch towards the ocean. It is not, however. This is a bird. More remarkable still is that when it emerges the chick will already be able to fly.

This is the Maleo.  You can read more about its extraordinary way of life over at our sibling site, the Ark in Space.
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Warsaw: 24 Hour Timelapse


The Polish capital, Warsaw, here gets the timelapse treatment, with something of a difference.  Film-maker Maciej Margas gets up high in the city and shoots his film from buildings such as Cosmopolitan, Złota 44, Marriott, Millennium Plaza, Rondo 1, and the tower of the Saint Augustine's Church.  The result is a compelling portrait of one of Europe’s most intriguing and historic capital cities.
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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.
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The Lanterns of the Dead

At some point in the early part of the 12th century, people in the center and west of France began to erect strange constructions – effectively hollow towers with a hole for a lantern at the top - near or in their village graveyards (and before you ask, most were nowhere near the sea).  Although many were moved or destroyed during the revolution, about a hundred survive to this day.  Known as Lanterns of the Dead (Lanternes des Morts) their precise original use is still debated.  However, there are a number of theories surrounding these unusual and enigmatic constructions.

Fenioux - Images

Amazing Cancelled Advert for Chinese Short-term Rent Online Service


In China there is a short-term rent online service called Xiao Zhu (Small Pig) – think of it as the equivalent of Airbnb.  Commercial director Matthias Zentner (of Velvet) landed the advertising project for the company but – and after you watch this video you will scratch your head too – at the last minute, once everything was complete the client decided not to use this as their campaign.

The premise is promising as we have all stayed in hotels that have turned in to a nightmare.  Here, a guest decides to defenestrate himself in order to escape the horrors within – and we are shown them all as we enter different rooms and climb up the floors of this dramatic hotel from hell setting.  The guests and staff are frozen in a moment but certain elements still move.  Dante would probably add this to his circles of hell if he was still around.

Throw in a rather unique version of Time to Say Goodbye (fortunately, with translation) and you have something bizarre, perhaps grotesque but utterly riveting.  Admit it, you watched it to the end, didn’t you?
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13 February 2021

Extinguished


Imagine if we lived in a world where, when we took shine to someone, a flame would light up in a chest cavity.  It might lead to some awkward situations or, conversely, it might also make things a lot easier for those of us with a shyer disposition.  Our hero in this story falls in to the latter category but he doesn’t seem to be having much luck (at least to begin with) in this lovely animated short by Jacob Mann and Ashley Anderson, who created this at Ringling College.

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A Thousand Words


Sometimes a film can say in three minutes what others struggle to say in two hours. A Thousand Words is one of those: reminiscing over old photographs, a terminally ill husband and his wife struggle with taking what could be their last photograph together. Starring Michael Chwastiak and Alison Myers-Gomez., the touching and poignant A Thousand Words was written, directed and produced by Larica Perera.
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Dance For Your Life, Puny Human


At least we now know what has happened to all of those people abducted by aliens over the years. They are taken to participate in a particularly lethal competition against a dancebot which just seems to win, whoever is put up against him.  For this particularly unballetic human specimen, things are not looking good in this animated short directed by Justin Connolly who should be snapped up by Aardman (or the likes) immediately.
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Frost Flowers: Beautiful but Rare Wonders of Nature

Frost Flowers
Back in 2012 we published a feature about frost flowers - you can read the original here (which includes all the science!).  Created in the autumn or early winter, the frost flower is a morning phenomenon.  Ice is pushed through in extremely thin layers through the stems of plants, creating and astounding whirl of beautiful patterns.  We thought we would take a look and see whether any new frost flowers had been caught on camera since then.  We weren’t disappointed.  So here is a collection for you, embedded from the photographers' pages on Flickr.
Ice Flowers

11 February 2021

Atomic


A group of students at the Columbus College of Art & Design were recently given a rather neat assignment.  Under the guidance of their tutor Adam Osgood they were asked to create an animated short visualizing various elements from the periodic table.  Each student was given six seconds to animate their chosen elements and the most compelling were included in the finished piece above.  Like I said, neat (now there’s a word which needs to be brought back fully in to the language!).

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Apocalyptos


When two young gods fall out the consequences for life on earth can be... apocalyptic! This very entertaining animated short was created by a group of students at Supinfocom Valenciennes in 2015 and, after the festival runs, has recently been released on to the internet.

For anyone interested in animation, Greek legend and dinosaurs, this is a must!

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If You Have Never Wanted to Visit Madrid, You Will after You Watch This


Truth be told I have always felt sorry for Madrid – what with Valencia and Barcelona also in Spain it is almost like being a woman with two younger, more beautiful sisters always around to remind you… My own personal opinion aside, we have featured a number of hyperlapse and timelapse videos by Kirill Neiezhmakov on Kuriositas in the past – and for one very good reason: his work is always superlative. So, older sister Madrid, step out of the shadows in to the light!

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Haenyo – The Indomitable Diving Grandmas of Jeju Island


The calm of the shoreline is interrupted by a whistling noise. Then, a strange, sleek shape breaks the surface of the Korean Strait, clasping its quarry. Yet there is no need to call David Attenborough just yet – this is no strange new species of seal. In fact, it’s an elderly lady; one of the indomitable diving grandmas of Jeju Island.

They call themselves haenyo (pronounced hen-yuh), which literally means sea women and the whistling sound they made preceding their exit from the depths is called sumbisori. They are representative of a centuries old tradition, one which transformed their island in to a functioning matriarchy but a way of life which today is in danger of disappearing forever.

7 February 2021

How to Make an Apple Swan - A Fruity Hyperlapse


If you have ever wondered how amazing fruit sculptures are made then perhaps this hyperlapse is a good place to start – with an apple swan.  You can see how it is cut, carved and created in less than a minute.
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A Bird’s Flight over Romania


I imagine you’ve always wanted to soar over Romania (specifically) like a bird so now here is your opportunity.  Take flight (courtesy of GRTA Studio and its DJI Phantom 3 4K.  My second favorite part of this video is where the fisherman looks up from his boat as the drone passes overhead. The best part?  The awesomeness that is the wibbly wobbly Transalpina road, the first time I have seen it like this. Fantastic.
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Can We Colonize Mars?


The history of human migration shows that when we find somewhere we can live, then some people inevitably go there.  The same may probably be true of other planets.  Yet we, as a species, has never gone further than the moon. What of Mars? In this video in the Further series which explores how humanity and science intersects, former NASA Astronaut, Jeffrey Hoffman discusses the mysteries of Mars, and the potential for human colonization.
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The Red Elephants of Kenya

Yes, these elephants are red. The Ark in Space has their story, together with a great collection of photographs. You may have seen pink elephants on parade before but these red ones are for real. If you have guessed the reason for their rather rubicund appearance you might want to check if you have got it right! Pop over to the Ark in Space to see the red elephants of the Tsavo National Park in Kenya.

Image Credit Flickr User Marius Kucharczyk
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The Twisted Trees of Slope Point

This is Slope Point. It is the southernmost tip on New Zealand's South Island. The airstreams loop the vast circumpolar Southern Ocean unobstructed for 2000 miles and then they smash into land. Here. They are so persistent and so violent that the trees are perpetually warped and twisted into these crooked, windswept shapes.

Unsurprisingly, no-one lives at Slope Point.  Yet like virtually everywhere else in New Zealand you will find sheep in abundance.  Even these hardy creatures need some shelter from the elements and so, decades ago, local farmers planted saplings which they hoped would afford their animals some respite from the often savagely inclement weather.

31 January 2021

Weightless


Even a day by the lake on an idyllic summer’s day is little respite for young Felix from his melancholic life.  His overprotective mother chooses completely the wrong spot and the fact he is a wheelchair user disbars him from the short wooden pier and the welcoming waters of the lake.  He spots a pretty young girl and things begin to look up but when tragedy threatens to strike it is up to Felix to save the day.

Weightless is about that time in your life when you long to break free of the apron strings, when love comes calling for the first, breathless time and about achieving independence through your own actions, regardless of the cards you may have been dealt. I have been meaning to feature this charming short by Bobin Film for some time – and watching it again I have no clue why I haven’t – it’s just lovely. 
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Cough: The Australian Flu Movie


The British media is at full throttle at the moment, spreading fear and panic about Australian Flu. So, it's great to see that Cough, a rather prescient short film has recently been made available for wider audiences. It is set in Australia and one can easily imagine that this is just a few short months down the line from today.

This is a post-infectious society on the verge of a collective breakdown, Cough (directed by Jason Kempnich) features the social effects of a deadly virus on just a few individuals.  When food shortages during the pandemic force recently widowed George to drive far from home to survive in search of food,  a simple purchase of rations derails when he stumbles upon a Shopkeeper's secret, placing all of them in mortal jeopardy.
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A Magical Mermaid Miscellany

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark, has entranced onlookers since it was erected in 1909. Yet there are statues of mermaids the world over – a testament to the way in which these alluring ladies of the sea have embedded themselves in global popular culture. Let’s take a tour around the world and visit some of the best.

Baltinore Easter Ross, Scotland

Where Do Fish Come From? This Animated Short Explains All


When the harvest of the sea fails, a fisherman goes in search of the origin of fish.  What he discovers is something quite magical.  This hugely enjoyable and beautifully crafted animated short is the work of five students who studied at – you guessed it – Supinfocom.  This marvelous school continues to produce world class animators and animation fans like myself greatly anticipate the release of the films each year. Enjoy!
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14 January 2021

intemporalité


Intemporalité is an experimental film made from a large number of photographs (technically its a Hyperlapse and timelapse combined).  The architecture of Paris is deliberately distorted by Didier Viodé but it retains its timelessness and beauty yet you will never have seen the French capital quite like this.  As another way to discover this amazing city it is quite something (even though I challenge anyone to become jaded with the real thing!).
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Stolen


An old street musician, poor and lonely, finds that the one thing he needs to make a few pennies is stolen. Yet when he encounters a friendly street-wise dog his life is going to take an unexpected turn.  This charming and beautifully made animated short was created by a group of students at ESMA in France.  Amazing to think that this is a student film – one can only imagine what they will make when they enter the industry.

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The Spiders That Decorate Their Own Webs

Spider webs – possibly the most beautiful and intricate animal structures of the natural world. However, some spiders are not content with a simple web. They go one step further. Our sibling site, the Ark in Space, today has a feature about these spiders, full of fascinating facts and amazing photos.  Go and take a look for yourself!
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Aliah

Between reality, dreams and dreams of reality, time goes by.  Aliah is a young girl living in the ruins of a once prosperous town in Afghanistan.  War and civil strife has taken its toll and the young girl is left to her own devices, playing in the rubble.

Yet one day she discovers a music box. Through its sweet melody the girl relives years gone by and it comes to represent her hopes for a better world.

Written and directed by Valentino Bedini, this moving animated short was produced by LAB81, a young advertising agency that deals with business communication planning.
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Would You Take a Vacation to Afghanistan?

Afghanistan has many amazing sights. Yet with the forthcoming withdrawal of US troops and the Taliban poised to seize power again it seems unlikely it will become a tourist destination any time soon. Here are just a few of the places travelers will most likely have to do without visiting for the foreseeable future.. Image Credit Flickr Use Nate Derrick

The Buddhas of Bamyan
The Buddhas of Bamyan were built in the sixth century and stood, gently turning to dust, until 2001 until they were systematically destroyed by the Taliban in possibly the greatest act of cultural vandalism of the twenty first century so far.

Amung Feedjit
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