30 July 2013


LALALA is all about a little girl who just wants to pick a flower.  However, in her attempts to swipe the bloom she awakes a sleeping bear which doesn’t appreciate having a pick axe stuck in its head.  So ensues a battle of titanic proportions – who will win, girl or bear?

Tomotou created LALALA in only three days.  However, something so deliciously mad and deliriously silly demands a sequel and so a year or two later he created LALALA 2.  You may wonder how either protagonist could have survived their first encounter – but hey. Remember, this is animation after all!  Ready for the sequel?  Press play.

Come on Monsieur Tomotou - let's have LALALA 3 soon, please!

29 July 2013

The Package

A man with OCD lives his life in a thoroughly ordered, antiseptic manner.  Everything is just how he needs it and as such he keeps his anxiety down to a minimum.  Although he hasn’t stepped outside his door for quite a while everything he needs is delivered to him.  Then one day the delivery man brings and unexpected package…

This is a very sweet animated short with, what you might imagine, a not very promising premise. Yet directors Vitaly Magdalits and  Daria Simkin have  produced a very human and heart-warming story here.  True, there is of course an element of having to suspend your disbelief but this is animation – that goes with the territory!

What is Cinema? The Cinema of 2012

This has been called a poignant and inspirational narrative on being human and I must say I agree.  If you are a cinema fanatic you will find this compilation of last year’s movies something to sit back and revel in (even if you are not what could be described as a fanatic, I think you will find this rewarding).  The amount of care and thought that has been put in to this project by its creator, Jorge Gonzalez Diaz is quite astounding.

Diaz describes it as a brief glimpse of the enigmatic, ephemeral and yet perpetual, nature of cinema. Yes, all of that – except perhaps the brief part!  Go and make yourself a beverage of your choice, load a few snacks up around whatever device you are watching this on – and revel.

The Photo Man

Have you ever looked at a child and known what they would do as an adult? It is difficult to tell even when the child in question seems to have a predisposition for something quite unexpected. I don’t think that the parents of Mark Kologi would ever have guessed that their son would grow up to be The Photo Man. Kologi buys and sells photos and it doesn’t take long for you to realize that for him, this is so much more than simply making a living. Kologi has bound his livelihood with his own personal philosophies and perhaps there lies a contented man.

I couldn’t help but be reminded here of the fascination that the replicants in Blade Runner had with old photographs. The glimpse in to so many other lives led gave them a kind of solace. For the hundreds of people who visit Kologi’s store I think the attraction is, perhaps, something similar. The Photo Man was produced and directed by Ben Kitnick with cinematography and editing by Saxon Richardson

28 July 2013

The Dangerous Job of Being a British Prince

Prince George Alexander Louis. The House of Windsor’s new arrival this week provoked something which is now customarily defined as a media frenzy.  Certainly in the United Kingdom this descriptive hyperbole was merited (and not for the first time as far as this particular family is concerned).  It was nigh on impossible to get away from the little prince. As republicans and monarchists were given ample (if tedious) time to air their opposing views the nation inhaled a deep here we go again breath.  Those who wish to see an end to the British Royal Family (a term sometimes considered one of those rarest of things – a triple oxymoron) were particularly vociferous.

Why the British people should stump the bill for yet another blue-blooded sponger, they argued, was beyond them.  Simultaneously, another section of the population politely raised a collective hand and suggested that young George’s blood was more likely to be green.  Yet another faction suggested that the money set aside to coddle, spoil and imbue the heir’s heir’s heir with a sense of twenty first century droit du seigneur was beyond the pale and should be given to the starving children of Birmingham instead. 

The arguments ran that this eight pound blob, as an eight pound blob born to reign, would lead a life of utter privilege, pursue a lifestyle which should have been abandoned centuries ago and be so apart from the common people as to have to feign the common touch. Yet the job of British Prince (one hesitates before saying career although Prince Harry has been known to use the noun as a verb) is not, historically, one of particular safety - in many cases far from it.  Perhaps the funds drawn from the public purse should be seen more as danger money than a living allowance.  As the roll of royals below shows, being a British Prince can be bad for your health, often to the point of extinction.

Prince Arthur #1
Arthur is not the luckiest name for princes of the realm. We all know about Richard the Lionheart and his usurping younger brother, Prince John (later King John).  Yet they had a middle brother, Geoffrey.  He died in 1186 but not before siring a child, Arthur, who was born after his father’s death in 1187.

25 July 2013

Tumbleweed Tango

This is a short animation but immense fun.  Life must be hard if you are a balloon dog and you live in an arid desert surrounded by cacti.  Yet our red protagonist steps up to life with relish and lives for the day that he meets a new partner to participate with him in his life’s passion – the tango!  You can probably guess that he does indeed meet his dancing partner, but what comes next may not be quite what you expected.  Not that you expected to be watching an animation about a red balloon dog dancing the tango in a desert this morning, now did you?

Tumbleweed Tango is an animated short film by Hydra and produced by Humble TV.


Have you ever wanted to talk to or simply just meet someone who has attracted your attention?  Yet when you make an attempt, the distance between you and the object of that attention seems almost insurmountable? That is quite probably a stupid question as it happens to just about everyone – and it is exactly what happens to the girl in question in Distance, a wonderfully made animated short.  The short few steps up to that person become a mind bending phantagorisma of obstacles in a way that, I suspect, only High School life can proffer.

Distance was created by five students at Gobelins, Manoury Wandrille, Tom Law, Jonathan Vermersch, Todd Dejong and Etienne Metois and as such is their graduation short.  Somehow, I think they may have received very high grades.

23 July 2013

Like A F%@k!ng Punk

There are one or two naughty words in this (as you may have guessed from the title) but if you are not averse to that, then this is an enjoyable way to spend five minutes of your time, especially if the world is about to end...

That is just what one half of a couple surmises when their flatmate comes home with blood on his jacket and locks himself in the toilet. Her partner just needs to relieve himself and the ensuing altercation becomes a typical (and very funny) fight between a boyfriend and girlfriend on a not-so-typical day.

Like A F%@k!ng Punk was directed by Kyle I Kelly of Bullmoose Pictures. It stars Annie Capobianco and Miles Davis as the couple and Michael Sutter as their hapless flatmate.

It's a Boy!

The Amazing Gecko: 20 Interesting Facts about the World’s Most Species-Rich Lizard

The gecko is an extraordinary lizard, a triumph of both adaptation and diversity. Out of the 5,600 species of lizard on the planet, over 1,500 belong to the gecko infraorder called Gekkota. So, what is so interesting about a line of lizards which is, apparently, so ubiquitous? The Ark in Space today has 20 interesting facts about the gecko, as well as some amazing pictures of 30 gecko species that you may not have come across before.

The pictures are not as frivolous as the one above, but they shed light on gecko species I had never heard of, some of which have marvelous names.  Gold Dust Day Gecko anyone? No? Then what about the Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko? More over at the Ark in Space.

Image Credit

22 July 2013


A fancy dress party is taking place on board a cruise ship.  One of the guests, dressed as a Roman Centurion, comes up to deck for a breath of air.  He notices something mysterious on the island the ship is approaching. His curiosity aroused he takes a small boat, along with a flower and a robot, to explore.  What they discover is some very, very strange goings on…

This riot of an animated short was created by six Supinfocom Arles students in 2012: Rémy Busson, Francis Canitrot, Aurélien Duhayon, Sébastien Iglesias, Maxence Martin and Paùl Monge.  I have to say I did see one or two similarities between this and the TV series Lost. However, unlike Lost, this mostly made sense!

21 July 2013

The Alphabet - Part 1 - A to D

Yes, we know that the alphabet is 26 letters long and that after watching this you want to see the other 24 letters but give a guy some time!  Animator Paul Rayment created this wonderfully dry learning aid frame-by-frame (24 per second) with a tiny bit of 3D in there too, just for good measure.  So, although we may have to wait a while for the next instalment, be guaranteed you will find it here!

Each of the first four letters of the alphabet gets to have its own adventure in around 60 seconds using only words which begin with itself (sounds a little odd when you put it like that). Each escapade segues neatly in to the next so that, yes, when D is over you really do want E to toddle along. 

There is, I think, a certain comedic legacy at work here originating on a set of small islands just to the left of mainland Europe which somewhat informs this animated short.  No surprise then that Paul Rayment is an illustrator and animator based in London.


Sometimes the burden of family history – its legacy if you like – can weigh heavily upon someone.  So it is with the hero of this animated short written and directed by Adam Floeck.  Yet whether one makes one’s own way in this world or follows in the footsteps of who went before, perhaps the greatest resolution is to do it for yourself.  Maybe that is the greatest legacy anyone can bestow upon their children – the right to make decisions for themselves.

This is a thought-provoking and beautifully made animated short.  It is even more of an achievement when you take in to account that Floeck created it while a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design.  As an undergraduate piece this is outstanding.

Monolith: A Tribute to Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick would have been 85 this month so uberfan Shaun Pitz, who just happens to be a very talented animator, has created this tribute to him.  It is centered around the mysterious monolith which humanity encountered in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Pitz made this as a tribute to the sense of mystery and exploration that Kubrick instilled in him as a child.

If you are a fan of Kubrick and his work then I think you will love this…

20 July 2013

Alan Turing to be Given Posthumous Pardon

In 1952 scientist Alan Turing was betrayed by the British government.  The scientist who was instrumental, through his code breaking endeavors, in shortening the Second World War, was arrested for little more than being gay.  Convicted, he was forced to decide between a prison sentence or chemical castration.  He chose the latter but just two years later committed suicide.

Widely respected as one of the fathers, if not the father of modern computing, Turing is finally to be pardoned by the British government.  On Friday it signaled that it will give its support to a bill which would give Turing a pardon in the near future.  Unless amendments are made the bill should have a speedy passage through the House of Commons.

Unfortunately it will not include the other 49,000 men who were convicted and jailed for homosexual activity before it was legalized in the UK in 1967.  Their number includes Oscar Wilde.  However, at least this news means that Turing’s name will finally be cleared.

In order to mark the occasion,  above is a video about Turing’s achievements which was made to celebrate the centenary of Turing's birth last year. Dr James Grime, Enigma Project Officer at Cambridge University's Millennium Mathematics Project explains the code and tells the life story of this remarkable man. It concludes with his death in 1954 – betrayed by the British Government and with only a single escape route – suicide – Turing bit from an apple he had previously laced with cyanide. This tragic end to a brilliant life was thirty years before most of his work would become public; the Official Secrets Act meant his true brilliance was not to be acknowledged until many years after his death.

Today, however, we can lift a glass to this most brilliant of men, celebrate his life and his achievements and perhaps – for a pardon is not an apology - speak softly of our regret for the sins of our fathers.

Kinzua Bridge: Once the World’s Longest Railroad Bridge, Destroyed by Tornado

When it was built in 1882 the builders of the Kinzua Aqueduct Bridge boasted that it was the Eighth Wonder of the World.  Their hyperbole had some merit: at just over 300 feet it was the tallest railroad bridge on the planet and remained so for a number of years. Then, in 2003, to Pennsylvania came a tornado…

La Création du Monde

Take 90 animators and a modernist composer and what do you get?  Something very much like the video above.  The arts and animation students (old and new) and their  instructors were asked to listen to Darius Milhaud’s La Création du Monde, one of the composer’s signature pieces and come up with the visuals to accompany it.  The result was shown on a cinema sized screen to an appreciative audience last week with Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne playing the piece live.  We can’t reproduce the size of the screen you can go large and fill your own with these amazing visuals, influenced by Oskar Fischinger who did the special effect for Fritz Lang's 1929 Woman in the Moon as well as being an important pioneer in the history of animation.  They go amazingly well with Milhaud’s polyharmonic piece which combines jazz-age looseness with French sensibilities - this is something very special.

Thomas Beg’s role in the project, alongside Jordan Buckner was to collate and direct the speed paintings into the animation for the final performance.  You can see the paintings over at this Behance page. The students who contributed are all at the University for the Creative Arts, based in the English city of Rochester.

13 July 2013

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet: A Remarkable 1846 Primer for Children

In 1846 a pair of Quaker sisters came up with an idea.  They were abolitionists and actively campaigned against domestic slavery in the United States.  However, Hannah and Mary Townsend came to realise that in order to ensure the end of the oppressive servitude of so many of their countrymen and women that educating the young was vital. A child, they decided was not only able to fight against slavery in their adult years but as youngsters too.  They produced a new way for the 26 letters to be taught by rote – the Anti-Slavery Alphabet.

The Story of Physics

schrodinger's cat
If you want a brief history of physics (hopefully in animated form) then you have come to the right place.  This very cool video directed by Åsa Lucander and narrated by Dara O Briain gives you a pithy and humorous take on what has happened so far.

From Galileo through Newton to Einstein and beyond The Story of Physics gives you (almost) everything you ever wanted to know but were way too bored at school to ask… There's even a cameo by that darned cat...

12 July 2013

Filminute - Time is Running Out for Your Submission!

Filminute an International one-minute film festival and is in to its 8th edition this year.  There will be some very exciting finalists this year, if last year’s entrants are to go by. Altogether there were 25 one-minute short films and animations competing for the title with 15 countries represented.  You can see the 5 we selected at Kuriositas here - the overall winner, Chop Chop (above) was one we put forward..

If you are interested in joining in the fun then there is still time to submit your short movie – the deadline is August 20. The shortlisted films will be subject to both a public vote and a review by an international jury - luminaries from the film, arts, literature, and advertising fields.  Here at Kuriositas, we can’t help but join in – we will be showcasing our 5 favorites from this year’s line-up at the beginning of September.   Click the picture to get to the website and make your entry!

Taron Egerton and David Walmsley: Bright New Stars of Sky 1’s Upcoming Firefighter Drama The Smoke

Taron Egerton David Walmsley The Smoke
Taron Egerton David Walmsley The Smoke
Earlier in the week I met up with friends Mark and Tony for a drink and a chat in one of Lewisham’s best pubs The Fox.  While I was buying a round I absentmindedly counted my money in Welsh (long story, but it’s easier than doing it in English if you are as semi-numerate as I am).  One of the guys playing pool just behind me overheard and started counting in Welsh too…

Now you don’t hear Welsh spoken often in Lewisham (even though I believe it was a Welsh enclave in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) so a conversation naturally ensued.  The Welsh speaker turned out to be Taron Egerton (above right) and his friend was David Walmsley (left).  I am the good looking one in the middle.

You might be scratching your head right now as neither is a household name, just yet but the title above has probably given you a clue.  They may, however, have to get used to being recognized in the street in the near future as they have been filming a new series for Sky 1 which will be broadcast in early 2014.

The Smoke will tell the stories of the White Watch team, London firefighters who tackle blazes while negotiating their own sometimes messy private lives.  The series is fronted by Jamie Bamber (most recently killed off in a hail of bullets in Law and Order UK) and Jodie Whitaker who gained a host of new fans for her performance as Beth Latimer in ITV’s compulsive Broadchurch earlier this year.

Taron Egerton David Walmsley The Smoke
Both Taron Egerton and David Walmsley have a strong theatre background but if you don’t put your bum on a theatre seat very often and their faces seem somehow familiar it is because neither is new to television.  You might remember Taron Egerton doing an excellent coma as Liam Jay in the Lewis two parter  The Ramblin' Boy (he wasn’t in a coma all the time!).  As for David Walmsley he did an equally excellent zombie, returning soldier Rick Macey in BBC 3’s mildly perplexing but thoroughly enjoyable supernatural drama In The Flesh.

It’s been a while since we had a mainstream TV drama about firemen and women in the UK. The last of any note was the long running and immensely popular London’s Burning which ran for over a decade starting in 1988 but has been off our screens since 2002.  Originally written by the legendary Jack Rosenthal, The Smoke has a lot to live up to but the signs are good.  It was written and created by Lucy Kirkwood who is mostly known as a playwright but has written for the Channel 4 drama Skins.

Egerton and Walmsley will play two of the firefighters of White Watch which promises to show what being a team member for this vital emergency service is really like in contemporary Britain.  The first series will be eight episodes and is quickly becoming one of Sky TV’s most anticipated new shows. 

Certainly if their fictional characters are as engaging on screen as Messrs Egerton and Walmsley are in real life, then The Smoke should make for great viewing.  I really enjoyed our chat in The Fox, gentlemen, and as I did, after all, promise you a shameless plug for your show, I hope that this is (as my grandmother used to say) adequate sufficiency.  I’ll see you on the goggle-box!

8 July 2013


In a world ever so slightly darker than that inhabited by young Mr Potter and his chums, a young girl helps out at a shop. When she sees a pair of siblings enjoying themselves she becomes a little down as her parents can no longer have any more children. However, once asked to look after the shop she comes up with an idea…

Yet once you start using magic, how can it be stopped?  The Sorcerer's Apprentice, however, this is not!

Bizarre but nevertheless oddly enjoyable, Axolotl shows off the talents of Anaïs Poilpré, who recently graduated from EMCA.

Mr Darcy Emerges from a Lake: Again

It wasn’t quite how Jane Austen had originally intended. In fact she never wrote the passage at all.  Yet a certain scene from the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice caused so many hearts to flutter that it has gone down as one of the fondest remembered moments of British TV of all time. And now it’s happening again, albeit in London’s Hyde Park and courtesy of a trio of artists.

The scene (above) which raised the blood pressure of (at least half of) a nation saw an amorously frustrated Mr Darcy take a dip in the lake of his country pile, Pemberley.  His ardour somewhat cooled, he stalks to his house in sodden but still smouldering condition. He then bumps in to the object of his thwarted desires, Elizabeth Bennett and Georgian embarrassment ensues.  What was intended to be a rather comedic scene lit a million candles: it is said that Colin Firth became a movie star on the basis of his wet linen shirt and breeches.

7 July 2013


A dead king rests in a chapel. His crown awakens three mystical beings who must compete against each other in order to retrieve it. Yet their quest is not without its hazards and they quickly realise that they must work together if they are to overcome the obstacles set in their way.

This is a very interesting animated short, combining as it does a pop-up book with traditional 2D animation. It was created by two EMCA (in Angoulême, France) students, Lila Peuscet and Vivien Merdrignac with music by Thomas karagiannis.

Serial Taxi

A young businesswoman is caught in inclement weather and decides to hail a cab.  As she starts her journey her social media alerts inform her that there is a taxi killer at large.  Immediately she begins to question her safety as her driver begins to act in ever stranger ways…

Serial Taxi was created by Paolo Cogliati and produced at Ringling College of Art and Design, 2013.  I have to say, I think this is excellent work.  OK, I might have seen the end coming but it is so skilfully done that I didn’t!  Paulo is unfortunate enough to have his name dot commed by another, so you can find his work and resume at his website paoloanimates.com. Serial Taxi also has its own website if you want to read more about it.

The Beach Captain

Every city has its eccentrics, none more so than London.  One of the city’s great characters is Ron, otherwise known as The Beach Captain.  He descends on London’s South Bank every day and makes sand sculptures on the beach of the River Thames (yes, it has a beach!).  Over the best part of a decade the Beach Captain has become a fixture on the South Bank and people make special visits to see what he is creating on any particular day.  There is a certain canniness to him as he ensures, through a variety of beach side games, that people can make a contribution to the creation of his art but this is never going to make him a millionaire!

The Beach Captain was created by Tom Akerman, a freelance camera operator and editor based in South London.  It is done with great fondness for Ron and his way of life and let’s face it: there should always be room for people like the South Bank’s Beach Captain on this planet!

6 July 2013

Bye Bye Bunny

I love it when an animation defies expectations and this one does just that, purposefully and wilfully! The opening premise is that of a magician and his rabbit (the one he pulls out of his hat, of course!) about to go on stage. When he is about to perform his key trick, the magician discovers that his rabbit has gone – as well as all the other bunnies in the world.

You might think that the rest of the short would be taken up with the magician’s hunt for his missing rabbit. Well, it is and it isn’t – and for the sake of not giving away spoilers I will just say that you will have to watch Bye Bye Bunny yourself if you want any further answers!

Bye Bye Bunny was co-directed by five Supinfocom students, Julia Bueno, Catherine Lepicard,Cheng Li, Inès Paginez, Julien Roguet and Paul Torris

5 July 2013


I saw the trailer for Baobab a short time ago and have, ever since, been waiting for the full animated short to be released with bated breath. Once you watch it, I am sure that you will see why I have been anticipating this so much. Baobab is like the origin of a myth, a story which is handed down from generation to generation. Hundreds of years ago in Madagascar lived a baobab tree. She was the most beautiful tree in the forest, tall and graceful – a feminine sentience which nurtured the forest and its inhabitants. Her protector was a giant primate, fierce and loyal, who would die before harm befell his charge. Then, one day, man came to the forest.

Baobab was directed by Nicolas Loesner, Anaëlle Moreau, Marina Steck (no link, her blog is invite only, sorry), Simon Taroni and Benjamin Tron with music by Pierre Manchot. Here comes the remarkable part: the directors listed above were all students when they created Baobab, which makes us their graduation short from Supinfocom Valenciennes.

Fritz Lang

If you admire the work of Fritz Lang, the mechanisms of Jean Tinguely or just German expressionism in general then you are really going to enjoy this. A nameless man works in a mysterious factory. Along with thousands of others he works. He does not know what the fruit of these labors might be, all he knows is this is what he does. Yet as his co-workers flag and die around him he decides to discover where exactly he comes from.

Fritz Lang is a personal project by Bjorn Feldmann who completed this animated short in around a year. The entire work was created in After Effects: I think perhaps that Adobe should ask Feldmann if they can use Fritz Lang to show off to the world what can be done in their software by a single individual. The wonderful music is by Chapelier Fou.

4 July 2013

Nature’s Fearless Fighting Machines

Animals fight for a variety of reasons. It may be for play, for space or, most likely, for sexual dominance. Today, the Ark in Space has a great photo essay which features a number of species basically beating the cr*p out of each other. We can't, unfortunately, make the promise that no animals were hurt in the taking of these photographs...

Image Credit mikebaird

The Chandelier Tree

Sometimes an idea can just take hold.  Adam Tenenbaum, an airbrush make-up artist, photographer and designer from Silver Lake, Los Angeles acquired a few chandeliers six years ago that he thought might go quite nicely in the house. However, they turned out to be too large and so he had the idea of hanging them from the tree outside his house.  Over the years many more have been added and the Chandelier Tree has become something of a local celebrity in its own right.  It does look quite amazing, it must be said.

Colin Kennedy, a director who lives and works in the city of angel just happens to live up the road from Tenenbaum.  After a number of years the temptation became too great and he embarked on creating the short docufilm above which tells the story of the chandelier tree through the words of its creator, Adam Tenenbaum (who comes across as a very nice gentleman indeed).

3 July 2013

Reconnected – Artist Reunites Illegally Felled Trees with their Stumps

Reconnected 1
Just over 400 years ago an infamous witch trial took place in Pendle, England. Last year, a group of artists were asked to commemorate the anniversary of the hanging of the ten innocents accused of practising witchcraft. Artist Philippe Handford, in a moment of pure inspiration as far as I am concerned, used a sad example of modern day vandalism to reconnect with the cruelty of yesteryear victimisation of the supposed supernatural.  You may need a tree stump removal expert in Austin, but these are staying in place for the foreseeable future.

1 July 2013

It’s Time by Meedon

Ever wanted to, metaphorically, flap your winds and fly the nest? Then, this is for you. Or perhaps it should really be for all the patient parents out there who are waiting for that moment to come so that they themselves may once more stretch their own wings.  I am going to stop there before we get in to a paradox (or something else I wouldn’t understand).   Let's just say, if this is you right here right now, you will know when it's time.

This is a lovely tune by Meedon, a singer based in New York.  What she says on her Facebook page is very honest: “I tinker on the piano, guitar, clarinet, & sax...sing, write, play, & record everything myself. I’m a work in progress... & love & music saved me”. The ampersandissimo is not mine, hence the quotation marks.

Meedon, you may still consider yourself a work in progress, but this is a song perfectly formed.  Bravo.

The video was directed by Giada Strinati and Valentina Delmiglio through HOWOW Studio. Bravo #2.