31 December 2015


A young boy befriends an old man, much to his parents’ consternation.  However, the boy and the old man have a bond – a fascination with space travel. Together, they transform a vintage vacuum cleaner into a rocketship for a surprising journey. This heartwarming short film was written and directed by Alfred Thomas Catalfo and was   inspired by the rocketship sculptures of artist David Random. This may leave you with a lump in your throat…

30 December 2015

Can You Match the Minor Character to the 2015 Blockbuster Movie?

You may be a movie buff but how closely were you watching? Match the minor character to the correct movie and find out. 

Even if you haven't seen all the films you could probably make a few educated guesses... Good luck!

29 December 2015

Metroid: The Sky Calls

Ever wondered why Metroid has never been made in to a live action movie? It didn’t occupy too much of my time either, but having watched The Sky Calls by Rainfall it certainly does beg the question.

If you are a fan of the series of science fiction action-adventure video games by Nintendo my guess is that you are going to love this.  This non-profit film is not associated with or endorsed by Nintendo or its subsidiaries but it takes the adventures of Samus Aran in to a whole new dimension.

20 December 2015

The Online World Quiz: How Much do You Know about the Internet?

The 25 Best Films of 2015 – A Video Countdown

Ever felt like you’ve missed out? You will after you have watched this list if, like me, you have only seen a handful of the amazing movies this list contains. It was created by Rolling Stone Staff Writer David Ehrlich. However, just as entertaining is the intro to the list which includes a lot more films that I did manage to catch as the year went on. Time to put those gift vouchers to good use!

Drink Along with Martin - Animated Christmas Card

I knew I would have to acknowledge the coming of Christmas at some point so it is with some relief that I can do so by sharing with you this wonderful animated Christmas card which popped in to my inbox a short time ago. It is from London based animation production studio Trunk and it celebrates the most important aspect of Christmas to any self-respecting Brit – drinking.

Created by Layla Atkinson, this awesome animation features Martin who I am guessing is a rabbit (with an English accent no doubt). He likes to drink, but not just alcohol – anything that can pass between his leporine lips does so. Plus it comes with a soundtrack by the gone but fondly remembered Bow Wow Wow. Altogether this makes for one of the more unusual Christmas cards I have received this year -so thank you to Layla and all the folks at Trunk. Enjoy – and remember to drink sensibly: the contents of a potty does not qualify.

13 December 2015

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit Rome, You Will after Watching This

Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions and the city of yearning.  So said Italian painter and architect Giotto di Bondone (who was from Naples so it’s unbiased!).

Yet sometimes it takes those from even further afield to truly capture the spirit of a city.

In this short, Febian Nurrahman Saktinegara, and Galih Mulya Nugraha of Embara Films, both 6,000 miles from their native Philippines, beautifully encapsulate the eternal city, Roma Eterna, in just under three minutes.

The Ventriloquist starring Kevin Spacey

How are you supposed to compete with your best friend when he’s a dummy? That’s the challenge faced by Kevin Spacey’s shy ventriloquist here.  Yet there are times in our lives when we have to learn to live without something – or someone.

Written and directed by Kevin Leavitt, this short was the Jameson First Shot winning film for the USA.

28 November 2015

The Trial of Barnaby Finch

To swat or not to swat? That is the question posed to eager interviewee, Barnaby Finch in this fast-paced, metaphysical short film featured on The Sundance Channel and winner of Best Writer from The One Show.  The Trial of Barnaby Finch was written by Sorrel Bara and directed by the writer and Sam Stephens.  This perhaps might not be the best short film to watch if you have a job interview in the near future… or maybe it is.

Master of Suspense: A New Hitchcock Movie

Perhaps this was only a matter of time.  However, director, screenwriter, operator and editor Fabrice Mathieu has done it with great panache.  Alfred Hitchcock was renowned for appearing slyly in his own movies and here Mathieu has stitched Hitch’s appearances from 30 films and trailers and made them in to a murder mystery which tells its own tale.  Add a new sound design, mixed with eerie tones of the music of Bernard Herrmann and you get this. Joy.

16 November 2015

Aimer: Paris, We Love You

Paris holds a special place in my heart – I’m sure the same can be said for millions of people the world over.  A group of animation students and alumni at the Savannah College of Art and Design wanted to say something simple but unambiguous after the events of the last few days. They came up with this – and it’s just lovely.

They also point out that this piece is not meant to exclude other nations that have been struck by terror; it is meant to serve as an inspiration for others to fight hatred through love and poetry. Well said.

6 November 2015

Historical Figures Who Used the Lottery to Their Advantage

The dream of winning the lottery is not a modern concept by any means. Throughout the ages, people and nations have used lotteries for financial and political gains. It may be odd to think about, but without lottery, our world would be a very different place indeed.

Ancient Roman Lotteries: The Good, the Bad, and the Unlucky 
All roads lead to Rome and some of those roads were paved with lottery revenue. Augustus Caesar, the adopted son of Julius Caesar, is the first Roman emperor who created a modern-style lottery with tickets and prizes. Unlike lotteries of today, the prizes were not money, but physical items of differing values. Augustus Caesar used the profits from the games for repairs which the City of Rome desperately needed. It's been more than two millennia since Augustus Caesar's reign, yet governments are still using lottery funds for civic projects like road repairs.

Augustus Caesar wasn't the only emperor who found a use for public lotteries. Elagabalus (pictured above), who reigned from 218 to 222 AD, took a peculiar and revolting pleasure in the games. At first, the boy emperor held lotteries which endeared his people to him – giving them opportunities to win prizes like slaves and land. Soon, however, his darker sensibilities and passions took over and he forced people to participate in public lotteries in which lottery tickets would be released by a catapult into the frenzied crowd. Live snakes would be released alongside the tickets and most of the prizes weren't such a prize at all: Romans could win wasps and bees, dead animals, and death sentences. It's hardly surprising that Elagabalus was assassinated just four years into his reign at the ripe old age of 18.

Voltaire and the Philosophy of Winning
Without the lottery, university philosophy and literature curricula might look completely different. A young Voltaire attended a dinner party where he met renowned mathematician Charles Marie de La Condamine. The two worldly men hit it off and de La Condamine told Voltaire of a plan he came up with that would make them both rich beyond their wildest dreams. Voltaire was not doing well financially at this point in his life, so he decided to follow the brilliant mathematician all the way to the bank.

So what did the plan entail? The government of France had set up a lottery to encourage people to buy bonds. Each bond owner could purchase a lottery ticket which cost 1/1000th of the value of the bond. Winners would get a jackpot of 500,000 livres, an insane amount of money for the time. Because the French government failed at maths, the jackpot was not dependent on the price of the bond. So de La Condamine decided to buy up all the cheaper bonds. Thus, he was able to buy most of the available lottery tickets at a cheaper price, greatly increasing his odds of winnings.

De La Condamine, Voltaire, and a group of wealthy patrons formed a lottery syndicate and split the prize money. The government caught onto their scheme after a year of nonstop winning and took them to court. However, nothing they did was technically illegal and they were allowed to keep the money. With his newfound wealth, Voltaire was able to spend the rest of his life writing and philosophising.

Lottery syndicates are still very popular to this day, though you don't need to attend fancy dinner parties in order to join. Now people can join lottery syndicates from anywhere with online ticket purchasing services like theLotter.

Casanova: For the Love of Lottery
Casanova may be synonymous with great lovers, but he was definitely not loved by all during his lifetime. He was sentenced to five years in prison in Venice for crimes against the Church, to be served at the Doge's Palace – known to be inescapable. So, of course, he escaped.

Casanova fled to Paris where he met up with an old friend, François-Joachim de Pierre de Bernis, who was serving as France's foreign minister. He advised Casanova to gain favour with King Louis XV by raising funds for the government. Casanova went to the King and recommended the government start a lottery. The venture was an instant success and Casanova became its trustee. But because Casanova was Casanova, he soon ran afoul of the local authorities and had to flee to the Holy Roman Empire (modern-day Germany) where he lost his entire fortune.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Fortune
The Founding Fathers of the United States loved using the lottery to their advantage. From George Washington to Ben Franklin, everyone was setting up lotteries in the name of freedom and funding. Franklin bought a cannon for the protection of Philadelphia with lottery revenue; Washington tried and failed to fund his resort plans through the Mountain Road Lottery; and the Continental Congress established lotteries to help pay for the Revolutionary War effort in 1776.

But no founding father loved the lottery more than Thomas Jefferson, who set up a lottery to pay off his debts later in life. Trying to persuade the Virginia legislature to allow his private lottery to go forward, he wrote: "Far from being immoral, they are indispensable to the existence of Man." Lottery is now king in the US, where half-billion dollar jackpots are not unheard of, and revenue funds education and other social programs.

Image Credits

31 October 2015

Hey! A Dog isn't just for Christmas - it's for Halloween Too!

Over at the Ark in Space they are getting in to the Halloween mood too. It seems (and quite rightly so) that a dog isn't just for Christmas - it's for Halloween too.

So, they have brought together a very funny compilation of pictures of lots of dogs dressed up in Halloween costumes.  Now, before people jump up and say that it is people being cruel to animals, let me just say one thing.  All the dogs I have ever had (three in total over my life, which doesn't make me an expert, but!) had the opportunity to dress up over their life times.

For the most part they were quite willing because of all the additional attention it garnered them.  When, on the rare occasion, they did not like what they were going to have to wear, believe me it was off their backs before I could turn round!  Make your own minds up anyway - take a look at this cool collection of Halloween pooches.

Image Credit Flickr User istolethetv

25 October 2015

The Unpeeled

There is one for you if, like me, you tend to allow fruit to get a little overripe instead of eating them when they are ready.  Their optimal ripeness never seems to coincide with my desire to taste their flesh but as we can see in Hillary Galvin’s entertaining short it can sometimes work the other way around.  These bananas, it seems, are not for the peeling!

Floating Points ~ Silhouettes

Trunk’s director Junior Martínez and Pablo Barquín have created a stunning and mesmerising video for Floating Points, aka Sam Shepherd. The music in the video is taken from 'Silhouettes (I, II & III)', an eleven-minute overture that is also the second track on Floating Point’s forthcoming debut album. It was shot in the vast Rio Tinto copper mine, using an incredible light rig to create amazing 3D light paintings.

Ben Steel as Shakespeare’s Juliet

You might not automatically relate cast members of the long-running Australian soap opera Home and Away with Shakespeare but here Ben Steel, who played Jude Lawson gives the role of Juliet a damn good shot.  Eyebrows raised? In the bard’s day Juliet would have been played by a young man, despite what you saw in Shakespeare in Love. This short, directed by Sally McLean, gives an old speech a thoroughly fresh and modern take.

18 October 2015

File Compression Definition

What is file compression? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Here we define what file compression is and take an introductory look in to algorithms and indexes, the two elements which make up the essence of file compressing, otherwise known as zipping.

This video was created for students and teachers doing the BTEC L2 Diploma in Information and Creative Technology, specifically Unit 1 - The Online World.  As I teach this in the real world I thought I would include it on Kuriositas!


If you have ever driven through a large city then you then this short by director and animator Nate Theis will probably resonate with you.  It shows the inexorable journey from simple, straightforward rage to homicidal frenzy experienced by drivers every day as they try to navigate their way home while trying the avoid the red lights. This will probably not increase your desire to get behind the driving seat again one little bit!

10 October 2015

Pay Per Click Explained

What is Pay Per Click? Everyone who has a go at running their own website or selling a product online has to unlock, at some point or another, the mysteries behind these three little words.  This video hopefully explains in a straightforward an informative way the ideas behind pay per click and what the advantages and disadvantages are for advertiser and publisher alike.

4 October 2015

St Peter’s Seminary – Remains of the Pray

At first sight the ruins pictured here look as if they may have been a housing project of some sort and in a way that would be a correct assumption. Yet the ruins are of St Peter’s Seminary, a Roman Catholic Institution which was finally abandoned in the 1980s.

27 September 2015

Apostrophe Quiz – Can You Spot These 10 Mistakes?

Are you a stickler for the apostrophe?  Does public signage with the incorrect usage of this most understood of punctuation (and occasionally diacritical) marks leave you grimacing? Now you can show that you are in singular possession of the grammatical right stuff by spotting the ten mistakes included in the video above.  Or are there really ten? You might have to see the answers to make sure!

6 September 2015


Childhood nightmares, so real and vivid, can be forgotten in the daylight.  Yet for one young boy the day does not come as his dreams turn in to a terrible reality. Spectrum was directed by Cody James Ong and Joshua Tendero.  It is intended to attract investors to make it in to a full feature but it also stands on its own very well, leaving the ending very much up to your own imagination. Don’t have nightmares!


This is interesting. Take the war on drugs and re-imagine it as a medieval allegory. There are kings, knights in shining armor and a dragon. Directed by Gabriel Nobrega for Lobo, Drugo puts forward an alternative policy (already adopted by a number of countries) for the real world, one in which a fairy tale ending could never have been expected anyway. This is a thought-provoking animated short to say the very least.

30 August 2015

Once in a Blue Moon

On the 31st of July, nature and landscape photographer Luke Taylor captured the rise of the full blue moon in Aquarius. As you can see from the video, it was a beautiful sight to witness. The video is made up of 1038 frames and slowed down as close to real time as Luke could make it.  The results are amazing.  It was filmed in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia.

23 August 2015

Ex Animo

This is like one of those dreams that you have which you can never quite remember but what you can recall is their whole strange, surreal dislocation from real life.  Here, images conjured up by the animator create a reality of their own.  Creatures exist because they do; things happen because they do – it all makes perverse, inextricable sense. Produced by the Polish Film Board and Fumi Studio, Ex Animo was directed by Wojciech Wojtkowski. Watch in HD if you can.

21 August 2015

Disabled by Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen wrote ‘Disabled’ in 1917 at a time by which he had experienced the full horror of war in the trenches.  It is a long, narrative poem: vignettes of a young man’s life appear before us as he reminisces from his wheelchair.  Now, he is without arms or legs and he looks back to the time when he was ‘whole’.

Although Owen uses simple language throughout, probably to emphasize the fact that the soldier is just an ordinary man – and ‘everyman’ as it were, the poem uses a number of sophisticated poetic techniques to juxtapose the ‘then’ and ‘now’ reality of this soldier’s life. As the soldier’s life and body have been broken, Owen also deliberately breaks the rules of iambic pentameter to convey the man’s bewilderment about his current existence.  This video is an attempt to convey the soldier’s story, using images from the time (not all from Scotland, it must be admitted).

In my ‘other’ life I teach English and IT – and this is one of my summer holiday projects (which makes me sound quite sad, I suppose, but think of it as therapy!). I had been meaning to attempt to match images with the words of this poem for a while but it is so long I needed an extended period of time, doing a line or two from day to day.  I got there eventually and hope that it helps more people to become familiar with this very powerful poem.

15 August 2015


We have featured Lofoten in Norway a number of times on Kuriositas as it is such a special place – not least because it shouldn’t really be there at all.  Yet this stunning part of the world does exist and Kai Venøy has created this amazing short film to take you on a tour of the place from the comfort of your [insert wherever you are right now]. It was filmed with the DJI Phantom 2 drone and a number of other cameras.  The result is stunning.


During the 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq a young photographer must make a quick decision, one which could have a profound impact on his future. This animated short, created by Yousef Al Bagshi, who spent almost two years making it, will have you on the edge of your seat but has its moments of pure comedy too.  The artwork is superb, reminiscent of Dalmation era Disney but modern and vibrant too. It is based on a true story.

14 August 2015


CocóNonó are a band based in Bogota, Colombia. They were formed in 2012 and it's about time the rest of the world heard about them, frankly. Lovers of rock n 'roll, country, bluegrass and jazz, among others, the band members compose songs from these influences, with lyrics in English, French and Spanish mainly.

This deliriously energetic video for their eponymous song was created by Ana Maria Angel, an animator and illustrator from Colombia, currently living in Berlin.

I speak only a few words of Spanish, mostly involving alcohol, beaches and, ahem, the wild thing - so if the lyrics to this song are completely and utterly rude and not suitable for a family audience then I really can't say I told you so.

13 August 2015

Neuschönau: The Longest Tree Top Walk in the World

If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise – a very big surprise! Nestled in the Bavarian forest just outside the small town of Neuschönau, the longest tree top walk is an unexpected but spectacular sight. It is as if the fantasy of a young child with perhaps too much imagination has suddenly come to life.

The statistics certainly stagger the imagination. The walk way is over 1300 meters long, and at its greatest height takes the visitor to over 25 meters above the trees. Yet what really captures the eye is the oval shaped dome at walk way’s end. At 44 meters high it spirals around a massive pine tree, allowing for startling views of the canopy of this beautiful German forest and beyond to the Alps.

12 August 2015

The Question

Have you ever looked up at the stars and wondered whether there is life on other planets? Will we ever be visited by people from light years away? What will they be like and what legends might they leave behind?

This thought-provoking animated short by freelance illustrator and architecture student Ettore Biondo poses these questions – and in a way which you might not altogether expect.

Watch a Relationship Break Up via Instant Messages

I don’t mean to be prurient or voyeuristic and you might wonder what a post with that title is doing on Kuriositas – best leave that kind of thing to... other sites. This, in fact, is a very cleverly put together music video for Harrison showcasing their song How Can It Be (feat. Maddee), from the EP, 'Colors' on Last Gang Records. When viewed on a mobile this will look exactly as if it is happening in real-time and I don’t think I have ever seen a music video quite like this before.

Above Transylvania

Admit it – if you were asked to do a variation on the Rorschach Test but with words and someone said Transylvania, your reply would be Dracula, correct?  However there is so much more to this historic central part of Romania.  Jonathan J Scott recently took his DJI Phantom 3 there and captured the lush beauty of the rolling landscapes from above.  It really is quite breath-taking and not a vampire in sight. Guess they may not have heard of daylight rings there…

Bear and Bird

Bear and Bird are so excited when their new video game, Kung Fu Fisticuffs IV arrives that they have to play it immediately.  Unfortunately for Bird, Bear’s atrocious body odor is revealed in all its glory every time he celebrates a win and raises those big hairy armpits.  Yet that might soon be the least of their worries in this hugely entertaining animated short by New York based Hornet production studio.

Data Protection Act - the 8 Principles Explained

In the ‘real’ world I teach English and also a lot of ICT (Information Creative Technology). One of the things my students have to learn about is the Data Protection Act (DPA) which became law in the UK in 1988 and is as dry as a bone... However, if you are going to be asked about legislation around ICT in an exam, then it is likely to be about the Data Protection Act.

So, as it is an important piece of legislation and affects people on an almost daily basis I thought I would try and jazz it up a little.  The video above is the result.

9 August 2015

World Record Vertical Skydive - 164 Person, Head Down Formation

Oh, a thousand, a million times - no. That just how often I would have to refuse to do something like this if I was asked (which admittedly is highly unlikely). However, each to their own – this amazing footage was captured by Ben Nelson. 164 skydivers jump from 7 different aircraft and come together in the sky to form the largest head-to-earth formation skydive that has ever been seen. The World Record was set at Skydive Chicago on July 31,2015.

8 August 2015


Cecil the praying mantis is in the mood for a little love and he knows just the present for the lady mantis he has in his sights.  However, poor Cecil is blissfully unaware of the fate which will befall him once the object of his affections has had her wicked way with him.  Can he escape her clutches before he gets a love bite to end all love bites? Lovebites is a 2014 animated short film by students from the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Sydney, Australia.

Old Tricks: Help this Great Short get Made in to a Movie

If the older gentleman in this short film by Theo Buckwald looks familiar that’s because you have recognized him from his many on-screen appearances.  If you are my age you will remember Joe Spano as Harry Goldblume on Hill Street Blues. Younger Kuriositas readers may have seen him as Special Agent Tobias Fornell on NCIS.  Here his character gets to grips with a hapless young burglar, played by Drake Zimmerman.

Theo has contacted us with a request.  He says “I am currently entered in a contest with Amazon Studios to pitch Old Tricks and hopefully get it professionally developed. It would mean the world to me if you could share the link of the contest page to your viewers in order for them to rate and comment on the video”.

We don’t normally do this sort of thing but as Kuriositas was instrumental in its original success online we thought we would make the exception.  Please rate this short on Amazon – you can get to the right page by clicking on the picture below or this link.  I found the review link difficult to find so look for the part of the page pictured below.  Good luck, Theo!

7 August 2015

Cecil: The Lion Sleeps Tonight

The killing of Cecil the lion created a global wave of revulsion – and rightly so.  Artist collective id-iom have come up with this lovely tribute to the lion, shot by a dentist from Ohio on an illegal hunt.  The stencil shows a winged lion with the legend ‘the lion sleeps tonight’ below.  Of course, when it came to choosing the location in London to position the stencil, there was only one place it could go: Cecil Road in the capital’s Haringey area.

23 July 2015


This amazing footage was shot by film maker Marlon Torres using new AF100 camera.  I can’t quite believe that what we see here is really just him testing out his new toy! So, sit back, relax and see the ocean in all its beauty.

The music, so it doesn’t annoy you if you cannot remember, is Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor.

21 July 2015

Palm Rot

Investigating a mysterious explosion in the Florida Everglades, a crop-duster named Bill discovers a lone crate that survived the wreckage. Curiosity gets the better of him and he pulls the crate unto his airboat. That's just the first in a series of decisions he learns to regret.  Written and directed by Ryan Gillis, Palm Rot is excellent – a slice of science fiction which doesn’t provide all the answers.

20 July 2015

50 Things a Teenager Should Do Before Hitting 20

What should teenagers do before they hit 20 and leave their teen years behind? Here are 50 quick suggestions. How many have you done – and how many are you yet to do? If you are over 19, then how many do you remember doing while you were still a teenager?

In my other life I am a teacher and so spend a lot of my time creating stuff like the video above. However, I hope that people enjoy watching the educational videos I make even if they are not students. This video, however, is ideal to present to a class to give them some ideas - stimulate some thinking! There is then a task at the end where students are asked to split in to groups and decide which five (not necessarily included here) things they think are definitely what they should do before their teenage years are ended!

This video could be used as a starting point for many different classes (indeed I hope many will enjoy watching it for its own sake!) but it is designed to meet the criteria for an informal discussion. Students could be encouraged to consider how and/or why they would choose to do certain things above others. As well as initiating small group discussions, it also enables students to feedback to the whole class towards the end of the session. I will be using it for one of my Functional Skills English Speaking and Listening activities.

17 July 2015

Back of the Head

I can’t quite believe that after so many years Kuriositas has never featured the vital work of back of the head actors.  Such an omission is almost unforgivable but at least now we are able to make up for it with this great documentary short about one of the best in the business.  Back of the Head was made by Ninian Doff for Pearl and Dean and shown in cinemas across the UK.