13 June 2021

The Line


Regrets, I’ve had a few... What sensations do you experience when you meditate upon age? The answer will probably depend on how old you are but the unnamed lead in the enigmatic short film The Line experiences a range of emotions from regret and despair through to anger and on to hopelessness.

Much is left to your imagination – the back story of the old man is right there for you to fill in the gaps yourself. Why is he in such misery? What is driving him towards his suicidal actions?

This is the first film by Brooklyn based Joe Petrilla and as such is quite remarkable in terms of the control over both material, dialogue and storyline shown here. I think the word that I was just looking for was restraint. See what you think.

The short movie stars a very familiar face – one of those character actors who you immediately recognize but may struggle finding his name. It is James Rebhorn who has appeared in many movies including Independence Day, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Game, Scent of a Woman and My Cousin Vinny. Unsurprisingly the film did well at Festivals and won best-short at the Festivus Film Festival in Denver last year.

The Myth of Finn McCool and The Giant's Causeway


If you have ever wondered how the Giant’s Causeway came to be, but want the legend rather than the geology, then here you have The Myth of Finn McCool.  This animated short tells you one version of the legend (there are a number) but in a rather delightful way.  Created by The Pond Studio, this short film will be played on a giant screen in the brand new National Trust visitor center at the Giant’s Causeway.

The Pond is a creative CG Animation company with a passion for narrative, imagery and visual style. The Pond's creative team have experience in all areas of 3d and in a range of media. They have worked on projects for the BBC, Discovery Channel, ITV as well as feature films.

Robocoq


After a series of scientific experiments in 1986 a new type of chicken is produced – the first ever with teeth.  Unfortunately the roosters are not given teeth and so the balance of power in the farmyard turns inexorably towards the hens. By 2112 the chickens have all the power and the roosters are second class citizens, soon no doubt to be consigned to history.

A group of rebel roosters decide to create a robot capable of travelling in time to rewrite history. This very amusing animated short was created by Simon Cottin, Charline Courivaud, Quentin Prigent, Guillaume Ronteix, Nicolas Poupart, David Sossah, Frederic Marzullo and Jean-Louis Marco at ESMI in Bordeaux. These students are obviously movie addicts as they throw a very decent amount of visual references in to the mix here, not least of course Terminator. You need to watch the credits too - there is a little extra for you after them...

Namaqualand – South Africa’s Daisy Sensation

Namaqualand is dry for most of the year, an arid almost desert landscape which extends along South Africa’s western coast for 600 miles. Yet when the rains are good, something like a miracle happens.  Water, the driving force of all nature, soaks in to the parched earth.  An uncountable host of flowers materialize as if from nowhere, creating an extraordinary eruption of color, transforming the countryside and dazzling the eye.

12 June 2021

Lunar Leftovers: How the Moon Became a Trash Can

We hear about the amount of waste floating around space all the time. However, the biggest trash can outside of earth’s atmosphere is in fact the moon.

The moon has only been accessible for decades, rather than hundreds of years. However, in the short time available to humanity it is estimated that we have left over one hundred and seventy thousand kilos of debris on the surface of our once pristine satellite. Here are some of the more notable pieces of trash on the moon.

Luna 2 – 1959
If HG Wells and others were correct and there were civilizations on the moon then they would have expelled a communal gasp of horror in 1959 when the first piece of man made technology hit the moon dust. Looking now like some steam punk version of what we regularly send spinning in to space, Luna 2 was launched by the Soviets when the Cold War was at its height. The collision with the moon at least proved one thing – that our nearest neighbor in space has no appreciable magnetic field. To add insult to injury, half an hour after Luna 2 hit the moon, so did the third stage of its rocket.

Get Your Handkerchief Out: You’re Going to Need It


A little girl wants to get a cake for her grandfather’s birthday but the family are poor and not able to afford it.  If you want something that will make you shed a tear and brighten up your day at the same time, you have probably come to the right place. Created for Share and Care, an initiative in Singapore to create ripple effects of kindness I am not ashamed to say this had me reaching for the hankies…

Manhunt


Imagine if all the animals we, as a species, have killed over the millennia came back to exact their revenge, what shape would it take?  This is the question posed in Manhunt by Northern Lights.  It is a dark, surrealistic revenge fantasy of animals on humans for the mess they have made.  There are some early scenes of animals suffering so don’t watch if you are easily upset.


4 June 2021

Houses of the Hobbit Diaspora

If you think that Hobbits are fictional, do not be fooled a second longer.  Middle-earth once existed, as did all of its various species.  Yet the hobbits found themselves obliged to leave their original home of The Shire. Rescued by the ancestors of a mild-mannered English writer, they have spread across the world.  A spell cast by the Gandalf the White means that the sons of men cannot see them but if you look close enough, there is evidence to be found.  A hobbit has to live somewhere, after all.  Here are just some of the houses of the Hobbit diaspora.

The first evidence of hobbits goes back hundreds of years.  Sites in Scotland and Finland, to name but two, have shown that hobbits have been living among us for longer than anyone imagined.  In exchange for our hospitality, the Hobbits have sworn to help us thrive.  While you might argue that, globally, they cannot be doing too good a job of that, there are few hobbits to many millions of humans - so the scale of their assistance is not huge.

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


China from Above is, as you have probably guessed, drone footage. Using a DJI Phantom 4, traveling videographer Stef Hoffer has captured some truly awesome landscapes as he crossed the country. This video takes us from the northern 'rust belt provinces' to the beautiful mountain landscapes of national parks like Zhangjiajie (often named as an inspiration for the Avatar movie) and Jiuzhaigou.  Sit back and take it all in and then, if it not there already, put China on to your list of places to visit!

The Moment


A stranger asks an artist to draw his portrait and the moment becomes pivotal to her life.

This lovely animated short film explores, very simply, the idea that all that we see on the surface is perhaps of little importance to the profundity that lies beneath. It is also beautifully animated. The Moment was Written, Directed, and Animated by Karis Oh.

The Cat that Time Forgot

Have you ever wanted to take a trip through time to see what animals looked like millions of years ago? When it comes to cats there is little or no need.  This beautiful specimen is a Manul, otherwise known as a Pallas Cat and it is featured today over on our sibling site, the Ark in Space.  About twelve million years ago it was one of the first two modern cats to evolve and it hasn’t changed since. The other species, Martelli’s Cat, is extinct so what you are looking at here is a unique window in to the past of modern cats. Click the links or the picture to read the full piece and see many more wonderful photographs of this beautiful cat.

2 June 2021

Moby - 'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? (Reprise Version)' with Video by Steve Cutts

We’ve featured animations by Steve Cutts, we’ve featured music by Moby. So, this video for Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? (Reprise Version)' combines the best of both worlds.  A reprise of one of Moby’s most durable songs with a new animated video by Mr Cutts.  The result is something incredibly moving.  Two visitors from another world visit Earth during the midst of the Covid pandemic and what they find is hard for them to tale in; we bicker while we suffer but continue our rapacious assault on the planet as if no lesson is there to be learned.  The music is wonderful and questioning, the animation more of a direct attack on our irresonsibilities.

Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? (Reprise Version)' by Moby feat. Apollo Jane & Dietrick Haddon is taken from the new album 'Reprise' out now on Deutsche Grammophon.

Steve Cutts has worked with Moby before, on the video for "Are You Lost in The World Like Me?". Compare and contrast by all means – both songs are superlative but for me the reprise has the edge (a word that can be used to describe it in more ways than one). 



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