26 January 2013

Voice Over

This is probably going to be (just about) the best short film you will see this year so if you have any prejudice against watching subtitled movies, suspend it for just under 10 minutes: I promise you this will be a worthwhile experience.

Voice Over has just that – a voice over and perhaps this is another prejudice you may have to overcome too. Yet it is the voice over which drives the action, changes the movie’s direction and brings it to its very, very satisfying conclusion.

I won’t give too much away except the movie poster, enigmatic as it is, does not really indicate the true content or denouement of the movie. You really, really need to watch this – I cannot too highly recommend this.

Unsurprisingly, this short, directed by Martin Rosete, has received over 40 awards and has been selected to appear at over 80 film festivals all over the world. It is a Kamel Films production.

23 January 2013

Blue and Joy – The Superficial Essence of a Deep Appearance

You may remember in May that we featured the work of Blue and Joy – once seen not forgotten.  Their new exhibition is currently underway at the Artra Gallery in Milan, Italy. They have been kind enough to give us permission to share these pictures with you, just in case Milan is a little too far for a trip for you at short notice.

Altogether, the installation is made up of four million pills.  A million of them make up enormous mosaics on the wall and the other three million (or so, did they count them all?) make up the floor’s multi-colored carpet. Blue and Joy is the creation of a duo of Italian born Berlin based artists. Fabio La Fauci and Daniele Sigalot joined forces at the end of 2005 and since then have been making something of a name for their immense media project.

22 January 2013


Seven months after an aggressive alien invasion humanity continues to fight back.  However, the aliens have been modifying their DNA in order to infiltrate the resistance against them.  Several months after he disappeared an army officer reappears.  Yet can he be trusted?  His wife is located and called in to effectively debrief him – to ask questions that only a husband would know. She is hesitant but is willing to go through this harrowing experience in the hope that she might regain her spouse.

Chameleon is directed by Sam Lemberg and produced by Tony Hernandez. It starts James C Burns who you may know as Sergeant Frank Woods from the Call of Duty: Black Ops franchise. It is based on a  story by science fiction author, editor and reviewer Colin Harvey.

The Evening Sunset (El Vespre)

Perhaps it is just as well that I didn’t come across this yesterday, if I was to believe in all the media hullabaloo about Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year – and so on. Really, how is knowing that (if it is true, being dependent as it is on some fairly dubious algorithms) supposed to help anyone, especially if one is depressed?

The Evening Sunset (El Vespre) is a short stop-motion film created by Joan Martín Giménez. It tells the story of an old man who truly is tired of life and decides to do something about it in a home-made Dignitas kind of way. Instead of heading for Switzerland he decides to take things in to his own hands but, as you shall see, life has not quite finished with him yet. Giménez handles a very sensitive subject here with pathos, charm and just about the right amount of nudity.

21 January 2013

Y Mynyddoedd Grewyd Gan Ddyn - Man Made Mountains

A word of advice before you watch this video – it has a rather slow burn effect (which may be a nice way of saying it takes a minute or two to get going and for things to become clear).  Yet bear with it – because your jaw may well be a little slack by the end.  Some background first – North Wales dominated the world slate market for over a century but that time is now over and only a tiny fraction of the slate industry is left.

Yet this bastion of the Welsh language is (literally) littered with the remnants of this immense and intensive engineering and manufacturing period of cymric history. For every tonne produced over thirty tonnes would be discarded as waste product. My family on my father’s side hail from North Wales and many of my visits there in my youth were slate associated. My father’s great Aunt Ginnie’s house perched precariously underneath one of these huge man made mountains. I used to wonder what would happen if it all fell at once.

The sight of these gargantuan piles of industrial detritus is, indeed, at once glorious and disheartening.

This piece, with information in both Welsh and English, is a collaboration between artist and photographer Bob Mitchell and the filmmaker Jonny Maxfield.  Huge – and I mean huge – photographic images were created and displayed at windswept installations around the old industrial sites and then simply left to merge with the environment. 

The artistic process as well as that of slate production as it is today is captured by Mitchell and Maxfield with some wonderful time-lapse and still photography. It fills me with hiraeth and, I must admit, with what can only be called anti-hiraeth at the same time. The slate industry was the economic power house of North Wales for a long time but it is for many, too, a symbol of Welsh oppression. Yet this film celebrates the people not the politics.

This project was supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Gwynedd Council, Snowdonia National Park, The National Slate Museum, Llechwedd Slate Caverns and Tudor Lodge – Porthmadog.

Bicycle: A Tale about a Crazy Old Biker

I need to explain, first of all, that I have no real explanation why I like this so much.  I just do. Perhaps I see a little of myself in this crazy old biker on his penny-farthing, suddenly shrunk to a tiny size and propelled forward to our own technology littered century. Perhaps because it’s a great, almost mesmerizing, way of spending a minute or two. Or perhaps it is because it is just a little crazy, like its protagonist.

Who can say. Yet I suspect you might enjoy this by Pask D'Amico, aka Klesha, who describes himself as an Italian cosmopolitan audiovisual artist and a multidimensional traveler.  A perfect fit for Kuriositas, in other words!

19 January 2013

Cadaver: A Bittersweet Love Story

I’ll cut the chat, remove the blather,
Here’s the story of an old cadaver
Awoken by a hapless pair
He knows he has to get to where
His wife of years still mourns his life’s cessation.
And to that point he’ll cross the nation.
There he discovers a truth quite toxic
And America reclaims the gothic

OK, so my rhyming is missing something (and don’t tell me what please, I know already: talent).

However, you should take a little time out to watch Jonah Ansell’s Cadaver which rhymes perfectly all the way through.  What’s more it features the vocal talents of Christopher Lloyd, Tavi Gevinson and Kathy Bates with music by Neil Young and The Pet Shop Boys. 

Don’t be put off by what sounds like somewhat macabre content.  That much is true but this cinematic poem has love at its heart.

The film was (unsurprisingly) shortlisted for an Academy Award and has now also been made in to a book which is released on February 1.


In a totalitarian regime a young girl experiences the brutality of politics first hand.  Yet, through her memories and her fortitude perhaps the idea of personal freedom will persist.  Motherland harkens back all the way to Metropolis and features stereotypic characters and motifs that are plentiful in the propaganda art of the 1920s and 1930s as well as later – Orwell’s 1984 looms large here.

What is remarkable about Motherland is that it is a diploma project produced at The Institute of Animation Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg – in other words, it’s a student project.  It was directed by Hannes Appell with DOP Stevo Arendt and producers Libor Tesacek and Felix Vollmar.

18 January 2013

Downton Abbey Goes to the Dogs (and Cats)

No, this isn’t Kuriositas’ first ever TV review – even though with the events at the end of the last series we might be forgiven for being a little sniffy about the show’s future.  Yet even though some feel that Downton has become Downturn, the show's general appeal seem to be enduring.

So much for my play on words. If you want to toy with the show’s name then you should really do it like Massachusetts based artist Toadbriar, aka Kim Parkhurst.  Her latest pieces are a very fond homage to the show’s characters entitled collectively Houndton Tabby.  I am not sure which came first, the idea for the collection or its name.  It doesn’t matter to be perfectly frank – these beautifully created prints are absolutely wonderful. And what a way to demonstrate a love for all things Downton and our furry friends by combining the pair!

Hyuro to Create The Longest Street Art in Denmark

You have to admit it - this wall is dull. Very, very dull. In fact it's crying out to be adorned by something wonderful before it gets covered in tag after mindless tag. How about something like this?

The Danish authorities agree. In May 2013 Spanish street artist Hyuro will transform a very long and dull wall in Copenhagen into the longest coherent piece of street art in Denmark. The artwork will be 271 meters long and located in Copenhagen.

The McBarge - Abandoned Relic of Expo 86

Sometimes something seems like a very good idea at the time.  When Expo ’86 landed in the Canadian city of Vancouver the McBarge as it became known was one of the centrepieces of the exhibition.  It was the first floating McDonalds in the world and offered visitors the vicarious thrill of eating their meal while afloat.

Guests at the globally renowned exhibition would enjoy the future technology and architecture around them.  The McBarge, which was originally called the Friendship 500 was a great hit. Yet when Expo ’86 ended no new home could be found for the barge and it has, over the years, become derelict, anchored forlornly in the creek’s Burrard Inlet.

All is not lost, however.  It is hoped that a new waterfront development in Mission, British Columbia, will ‘adopt’ the barge.  After a complete refurbishment it is hoped that the barge will become the home of not one but several restaurants.  The proposed development would also include features such as a marina and a float plane service as well as offering paddlewheel excursions up and down the river.

So perhaps there is an opportunity for the Friendship 500 to be reborn. There aren’t many restaurants, after all, which have the capacity to up anchor and find a new home in the way that the Friendship 500 can.  Neglected and forgotten for so long the architecture, once considered so futuristic, has become almost retro and would certainly make a fun place to eat.  Perhaps every dog can have its day more than once in spite of everything?

First Image Credit Flickr User TylerIngram

Stille Post

Stille Post is a German children’s game very similar to Chinese Whispers where a message or word is corrupted by being shared multiple times through a murmur. So, how do animators play the game? Simple!

The folks at BUILT., an office for visual communication and a creative partner for commercials, film, print and interaction, were given a simple brief. They would be given only the last frame of the previous participant’s contribution on the subject of pause. Then every participant would provide their own clip which could vary in length from 5 to a maximum of 30 seconds. Their offering could be stop motion, graphic animation, typo animation, 3D or even still images. Likewise they would then pass on their last frame to the next contributor – and so on....

And so on until you have a five minute animation from this group of accomplices in animation. It’s great fun to watch and must have been even more fun to create! My own particular favorite is the crab orchestra pictured above but I am sure you will find your own too!

17 January 2013

Dark Day - Very Cool Pastiche of Nuit Blanche

A couple of years ago Spy Films came up with the remarkable and ground-breaking Nuit Blanche.  Well it may have taken a few years but a thing of beauty needs to be satirized just a little.  This, at least, was what a group of students at Utah Valley University felt (and rightly so, as it happens).  Standing directly opposite the White Night, here is the Dark Day

One gets the feeling that the students did not have quite the same budget as Spy Films but nevertheless they acquit themselves admirably.  Not only have they produced a pastiche which in many ways is remarkably faithful to the original they have led me back to it (below).  And it’s still awesome.

Namibian Nights – Stunning Deadvlei Time-Lapse

We have featured the amazing dead trees of the Namibian desert at Deadvlei before – and what an amazing place it truly is. Yet Marsel van Oosten has come up with something quite extraordinary here. He has already created the most extensive and most popular night photography portfolio of Namibia on this planet and here he takes it to the next level.  The footage has been edited by Daniella Sibbing and together they make Squiver.

This isn’t just time-lapse photography. Essentially it involves moving the camera while still shooting at a speed normally associated with timelapse. It’s a fairly new technique and one that has been evolving recently. As you can see when you watch the video above the results can be astonishing.

14 January 2013

Lux Aeterna

You may remember Nature By Numbers which went viral a few years ago. It was created by Cristóbal Vila. The Zaragoza based graphic designer and 3D artisan has just released this online – Lux Aeterna, with wonderful accompanying music by Jóhann Jóhannsson.  If you have had a classical education (or have access to one of the many translation tools on the interweb) then you will know that means eternal light. Watch the animation (no, really, it is) above and you will get it.

I can’t even begin to express the admiration I have for Vila’s sporadic personal projects, but I will give it a go nevertheless.  There seems to be an almost seamless combination of the artist and the scientist in his work, a deep reverence for nature blended with an intimate knowledge of the science behind it which merges to produce some of the most visually stunning, technically arresting moving images you will see this side of REM sleep. Yet perhaps, after all, all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream (thanks Mr Poe).

If you did miss the sublime Nature By Numbers a few years ago, here it is.

13 January 2013

H.U.D. Heads Up Display

So, what comes after Facebook? What does the world of social networking hold in store for us in the near future?  Perhaps unsurprisingly filmmakers are veering towards the dystopic (partly because if you make a movie where social networking has cured the world’s ills – full stop – then you don’t have a movie).   I wouldn’t mind a future where we all travel around on imaginary pink unicorns but I imagine it might get a little boring.

Yet the protagonist of Evan Jarvi’s HUD – Heads Up Display – has not found happiness, let alone pink unicorns.  In fact HudNet seems to have made his life about as bleak and meaningless as it could get.  He wakes up alone, travels alone, works alone – his only company is the all-pervasive presence of the automated iris recognition living nightmare that is the HudNet software.

Can he escape the awful monotony? With shades of Orwell and a dash of early Lynch, HUD will reward your patience with an answer, almost. Yet that still makes it a lot more satisfactory than a lot of science fiction shorts these days! Oh and I really, really liked the depiction of the futuristic biometric interface - very imaginable.

Light Emitting Dudes

Light Emitting Dudes takes a team of free-runners, geared up from head to toe with LED lights, and sets them loose on the streets of Bangkok at night. With acrobatic grace, they carved up the already buzzing nightlife spots while adding their own flair and color to the mix.

Jason Paul, Shaun Wood, and Anan Anwar are the team of free-runners whose homes are already quite far apart, coming from Frankfurt, Sydney, and Bangkok respectively. Director Frank Sauer and costume designer Christina Zahra are both from Germany so this is a truly international production!

12 January 2013

The Underwater Realm

This is something quite incredible.   The Underwater Realm has been funded by people from all over the world and created by a team of volunteers.  As you may have guessed – yes – it tells the story of Atlantis, or at least its inhabitants.

The movie is split in to five separate timezones and I am very pleased to feature all of them on Kuriositas.

Part I is set in the present day where a couple are spending their time on a thrilling diving vacation,  They are both experts but this will be the most challenging dive of their lives.

During their time underwater they come across something they had not bargained for...

11 January 2013

Paper Age

This is such a great visual idea yet as far but what makes it truly remarkable is that as far as I can make out it is a piece of research in to character rigging, polygon reduction, depth of field and motion blur in Cinema 4D.  A dinosaur made from a thin, pliable material, once considered highly versatile and with many uses, roams its territory, the king of its paper jungle.  Yet it inevitably comes in to contact with a new and different kind of beast altogether….

This short by Ken Ottman may prove perhaps a little contentious, particularly with committed bibliophiles such as myself! When an ereader is invented that gives people the same sensuous thrill as a real book, perhaps I may agree that the paper age is over. Until then, people like me are just going to carry on sniffing the pages (as it were. No, as it really is!).

Mission: New Year

OK, this is perhaps a little late but I am sure you will find this amusing!  A lone but nonetheless somewhat arrogant astronaut (a kind of Jock Sheldon Cooper), played by Richard Hollman, is the only person above the Earth on New Year’s Eve.  Mission Control has done what they can to help him bring in the New Year but he remains alone with his ironic asides about the Mayan Apocalypse.  The New Year comes in and… well, you will have to watch to find out what happens.

The immense fun that writer, director and editor Jonah Oskow and his crew had making this very short (science fiction) short is evident in each and every frame.  I’m going to do a River Song and not provide you with any spoilers here, as at only just over two minutes in length you don’t need any.  Needless to say if you don’t laugh (or at least wryly smile), I’ll eat my hat.

Half a Pantaloon

Halfie is a monster with a lot going for him.  He’s a bright even charming chap and does very well at work but there is one thing about him which always leaves other monsters aghast.  It’s not his bat-like ears or his fangs, oh no.  It is his insistence on wearing half pantaloons rather than full trousers which leads to acrimony among the monstrous population.

Once you watch this animated short by Together you will be fully apprised of the perils and pitfalls of wearing short pants in the wrong circumstances. Yes, it’s a lesson about how our superficial appearances can affect others and so quite shallow – but rather joyously so.  As a plus it is voiced by Canadian national treasure Jayne Eastwood who really knows how to make a meal out of a nonsense poem!

When I See an Elephant Fly...

Over seventy years ago a group of anthropomorphic crows ridiculed Timothy Q Mouse when he first speculated that an elephant could fly to his silent companion, Dumbo.   So wrong did they perceive the clever little mouse to be that they tunefully derided him in song. The Crow Chorus could not have got it more wrong.  Although these clouds are, of course, elephants of the imagination, perhaps if the crooning crows were to see these photographs they might admit that they had finally be done see'n about everything. Ladies and gentlemen, you will believe an elephant can fly…

7 January 2013

Dum Spiro

A hapless Roman legionary is given a task by Caesar – to take an important message to the leader of the barbarian tribes.  The message is so vital it could bring the war to an end.  Yet the unfortunate messenger must get to the chieftain’s camp – and in order to get there he has to go through the territory of a very pernickety bear.

Inspired by the whack ‘em, chase ‘em, whack ‘em tradition of the golden age of Hollywood animation, Dum Spiro (Latin for as long as I breathe and usually with spero, I hope at the end) is a film created by five students at ESMA, Boris Caillly, Brieuc Guenole, Jean-Baptiste Hardion, Thomas Lemoine and Sébastien Wackowiez.


Seven, as you know is the natural number following six and preceding eight.  It’s a number you have to love.  Shakespeare waxed lyrical about the seven ages of man in As You Like It, and A Clockwork Orange’s three parts each has seven chapters.  In the Potter universe it is considered the most magical number and Septimus Heap was the seventh son of a seventh son.  It is also the original diameter in inches of the 45rpm format gramophone record. Face it, seven is a great number.

So, take in the world of seven in this experimental short by animator, motionographer and designer Ginz.  The tracking was done with Boujou, and 7 was shot with Canon sx30is at random places in New York (wouldn’t it be great if the city had seven, rather than five points?).  The music is The Return of the Seven by The Herbaliser.

5 January 2013

Giant Rubber Duck Swims in to Sydney Harbor

Sydney’s Darling Harbor has seen a few strange sights in its time.  Yet nothing, probably, to beat the harbor’s most recent visitor.  An enormous bright yellow rubber duck has been spotted nonchalantly floating through the city’s waterfront.

3 January 2013

Neil Gaiman’s The Price

This is something of a treat if you love animation and the works of Neil Gaiman.  It is the animatic of The Price, lovingly created by Christopher Salmon of Silver Fish Productions.  Salmon created this animatic to convince Gaiman to give him the rights to create a 3D CG animated film of his extraordinary short story. It worked.

For those of you not in the know, an animatic is a simplified mock-up which gives a better idea of how scenes will look and feel with motion and timing. It is also really useful in editing – animation is very time consuming and expensive so if things can be edited out at the animatic stage then it saves both time and money.

If you are interested in learning more about this amazing and very cool project, then get over to Christopher Salmon’s website, The Price Movie to find out how the venture is progressing.  There is a real community feel at the website – it is obvious that so many people want this movie to be made!


Now that Myanmar – you may know it as Burma – is opening up there are opportunities for filmmakers to show us the real country.  This is an almost intoxicatingly colorful look at the country by Patrik Wallner of Visualtraveling. This is a wholly positive look at the struggling nation and as such we get monks, temples, face powder and lots of smiles! 

Believe it or not Wallner created this beautiful film (and hats off to Jean-Claude Vannier for the wonderful music too) while he was on holiday in the Southeast Asian country.  He says “I was going to Myanmar, a nation that I have placed close to my heart and visually strikes me as one of the most photogenic countries I have even seen.”  I have to agree.  This is a simply stunning snapshot of the country.

2 January 2013

Rumble City

This short animation by The Studio will not make much sense at all until you get to the final few seconds.  Then, I assure you, you will go aaaah!  The citizens (fairly odd looking but cute!) of a city find their world turned upside down by a mysterious force.  Is it an earthquake? Watch to the end and find out!

The Studio is a visual communications company that supplies the images that brands and marketers need to reach their audiences. Their mission is to help grow their clients' businesses and ourselves by bringing strategic vision, artistry, imagination, delight, and clarity to the world of communication.

I think you will agree that they do that pretty well here!  To see more visit their website or hook up with The Studio on Facebook.

Sweet and Cruel Tales from a Strange Garden

Although the French title for this strange but alluring animated short is D'une Rare Crudité it really doesn’t translate very well in to English (try it!) so I have given it a new name for this foray in to the English speaking market! 

It tells the story of the rare and raw inhabitants of a strange garden as the seasons turn and the natural cycle of life takes its toll.  Yet these plants may not be quite like anything you have seen before!

The animation was created by Emilien Davaud, Jérémy Mougel and Marion Szymczak with music by David De Salle for their major diploma project at Supinfocom.  It is quite bizarre but entrancing at the same time.  Watch it and see if you agree!

Killzone Intercept

Fan films just keep on getting better and better.  If you enjoy the Killzone series by Guerrilla Games then you are going to seriously love Killzone Intercept

It has been created by a group known as Infectious Designer and is directed by Brian Curtin.

On previous projects, they did not have any form of support from the actual game creators. Fortunately, Guerrilla Games gave a huge amount of feedback and recognition for this intense and exciting fan film. Pop over to 2wenty4se7en to watch the movie.

1 January 2013

Blind Spot

So, despite all the warnings and forecasts the apocalypse, end of the world or whatever you might like to call it, failed to transpire.  As many people pointed out at the time, however, when people say the end of the world is coming they almost always mean the end of humanity as a species, rather than the entire third rock going pear shaped.

So, will it happen in 2013? Who can say but it sometimes pays to keep a sharp pair of eyes about you. Steven, the hero (I guess) of Blind Spot couldn't see how his day could get any worse, but that's because he was is looking the wrong way. Blind Spot is a short film by Matthew K. Nayman, a director and cinematographer from Canada.