28 December 2022

Gedi – Kenya’s Hidden History Revealed

The thirteenth century was one of turmoil. The crusades were in full swing, the Mongol empire under Ghengis Khan swept forever westwards while Marco Polo turned his own eyes towards the east.

Meanwhile in Kenya, East Africa, a group of enterprising people began to build a settlement which would endure for over three hundred years. Gedi, a sophisticated coral-brick built town belies the perception many have about this part of Africa - and its architecture - before the arrival of Europeans. Take a look at Kenya's hidden history revealed.


A terrible industrial accident changes little Dinki’s life forever.  Now Dinki’s fate may ride on the wings of her eccentric friend, Birdboy, a misfit who hides in the dead forest lost in his own fantasies.

This is very grown up, allegorical animation and was written and directed by Pedro Rivero and Alberto Vázquez. Birdboy is strange, more than a little morose but quite compulsive - I am sure you will feel the need to see what happens to Dinki and Birdboy. It is a film basically about decisions.  Can you identify with a character who dreams about learning how to fly rather than actually doing it? Perhaps, and so can many film festival goers who have given this film numerous awards.  In fact after winning the Foyle Film Festival in Ireland last year it made the Academy Award short list.

Birdboy is based on a comic entitled Psiconautas written by Alberto Vázquez and published by Bilbao publishing house Astiberri.

27 December 2022

Six New Online Casinos You Can Join Today

Online casinos provide the ideal blend of premium casino games, huge bonuses, and high-level user security and encryption. 

However, with so many options, you are bound to find slow payout times and unreliable customer support bundled behind a flashy-looking website made to entice you.  But an online casino guide can help you through the process.

So, we've analyzed the market using our tried-and-true methods to identify the top casino sites that provide various casino games, large bonuses, and reasonable playthrough requirements in this guide. They also have a quick customer care service to assist you in avoiding such online casinos.


Mirax is one of the best game and crypto casinos offering players outstanding gaming experiences with cryptocurrencies. Their website is easy to navigate with a beautiful user interface. 

Mirax is much more than the standard casino. They provide players with a futuristic circus carnival of magic in France, where they experience the thrill of an exciting show with different entertaining elements.

Here are the perks you get from playing at Mirax:

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Slots Ninja

Start your casino games adventures with Slots Ninja and boost your casino repertoire with their daily, weekly, and monthly coupons. If you are new to their website, you get a welcome bonus redeemable four times, with 30 extra spins on Zhanshi every time you use it.

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Slots Ninja Casino also has a collection of Slots and Table Games for gamers to explore. Every game comes with unique features to give players an exhilarating experience. 

Ducky Luck

Ducky Luck is an online casino game site launched in 2020. The platform has over 400 games from top software providers worldwide and is available in over 40 countries, including the United States. Players can play with four crypto deposit options with the opportunity to select live dealers. Ducky luck is mobile-friendly and can be played on the go. 

DuckyLuck has some fascinating casino promotions and bonuses. But be careful, as some restrictions may not match your gambling style. Make sure to read and understand the terms and conditions of the platform before playing. 

Slot Madness

Slot madness is your go-to online casino games platform for the best Vegas online casino action. The website is secure and fast-paced, and reliable payouts and deposits. Explore a variety of their online casino games and catch all the inside scoop of the world of casino games news on their website. 

Slot Madness Casino gives you the best experience with its free casino games. Ensure you read and understand the website's terms and conditions and abode by them to avoid being kicked out of the game. Also, you should ask questions whenever you need clarification about a policy or if something seems out of the ordinary. 

Lucky Tiger

Players at Lucky Tiger Casino enjoy a diverse collection of games through its smooth, flash-play website, supported by a wilderness-like storyline and attention to massive prizes taken into consideration.

Launched in 2020, Lucky Tiger is still fresh, but the owners understand the strategy to manage a top-notch casino website. Lucky Tiger operates on no accreditation services, which is a red flag. 

However, players are made to feel safe through various security rules of conduct on the platform, which includes modernized high-tech standards. Lucky Tiger's flexible user interface makes the gaming site easily accessible to players. The jungle-like setting gives it an even more thrilling feel and experience. 

Rich Palms

Rich palms casino is one of the best online casinos in terms of functionality, stunning user interface, and design. As a fresh player on the platform, you get a 280% welcome deposit to your bonus account. You can use that to try some exciting casino games available in the lobby. 

They also support cryptocurrency banking, making paying and cash-out rewards much more accessible. The customer support system is available 24/7 with solutions to any issue encountered while using the website. Rich Palms casino offers newbies a free trial period to play and practice before they can start playing with cash. It is compatible with mobile devices. 

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Cities and Stadiums You Should Visit in Europe as a Soccer Fan

Football is not just a sport for fans. It is a lot of experience with thrilling joy and love for the players. They will go to the end of the world for footballers they love and adore. And part of the experience is visiting and seeing where the action takes place in real-time. You can even make Super Bowl picks during your visit. 

There are many stadiums in Europe to explore and get a thrilling feel of the world of your favorite players that offer much more than watching them live on TV. Being able to experience this at least once in a lifetime can enrich a voyage immeasurably.

The joy of being present at these stadiums can sometimes be found in the fantastic atmosphere that the football stadium provides before, during, and after a game. Other times, it's all about the extra activities available in addition to watching your favorite sport. 

Suppose you remove football rivalries from the discussion. In that case, you'll probably discover that even some of the clubs you've grown to despise have stadiums that contribute to the sport experience as a whole.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London

The stadium is relatively new, as it was opened in 2019. With incredible architecture and top-of-the-world modern design, ensure that fans and viewers have the most breathtaking view of the pitch no matter where they are seated. 

The bowl design gives room for a brilliant atmosphere, while the South Stand rivals Dortmund's Yellow Wall, housing 17,500 fans in a single tier. The stadium is built with the idea of being able to house American Football matches as well as Spurs games in mind, meaning that there are separate facilities for teams from the two sporting disciplines. 

The Goal Line Bar in the South Stand is 65 meters, making it the longest in Europe and, therefore, well worth a visit for those who enjoy a pint at half-time. The Tottenham Hotspur stadium is an imposing and magnificent one true to the club's spirit, which is why it is a place for all lovers of football should explore at least once in their lifetime.

Parc des Princes, Paris

The first sound you'll hear from this place on game day is "Allez Paris," which can be heard around the Parc des Princes. The stadium was launched in 1972 and is home to Paris Saint-Germain of Ligue 1. The "Princes' Park" was once the hunting land for the royal family, but today, it is best known for its extraordinary and iconic exterior design and boisterous football supporters.

Allianz Arena, Munich

The home stadium for Bayern Munich is called Allianz Arena. It is intriguing to note that the stadium, constructed in 2005 to host the needs of the World Cup, failed to do so but is used for Champions League matches due to various UEFA regulations. 

The Allianz corporation paid for the 30-year license to use its name on the stadium. Every game features extraordinary lighting and laser effects released from the stadium, making for a sensational show.

Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid

Although it was first constructed to host the 1997 World Athletics Championships, Wanda Metropolitano is now the home field of Atletico Madrid. Given that the household belonged to Athens, the 20,000-seat stadium was left without a use. 

The stadium was initially known as the Madrid Community Stadium. It later changed its name to the Madrid Olympic Stadium when Spain's bid to host the Summer Olympics was turned down. 

As a result, the stadium was shut down in 2004. It was acquired by Atletico in 2013, though, after the club's new owner, the Chinese company Wanda, took over. Wanda made a significant financial investment in the stadium, which now seats 68,000 people and has a contemporary appearance. In September 2017, it was formally inaugurated.

Camp Nou, Barcelona

The Nou Camp is undoubtedly one of those places that football lovers must visit to get a feel of the pitch. 

The 99,354-seat stadium in Barcelona made it to this list for its cultural importance. Popularly referred to as the "temple of football," this stadium attracts visitors from all over the world yearly due to its historic architecture and flair for cultural preservation. 

There are chances that you know someone who has visited this place even if you have yet to explore it; yep, it's that famous and a favorite tourist place in Barcelona.  

Anfield, Liverpool

Everton played there when Anfield first opened in 1884, but over time Liverpool, Everton's local rival, began to dominate its reputation. Due to Anfield's illustrious past, the Reds' current owners decided against constructing a new home for their footballers. The club's colorful background sets it apart from other structures despite lacking beauty or a smoldering mood.

26 December 2022

School Portrait

A somewhat jaded school photographer is on his latest assignment.  The brown stuff has really hit the fan in his life and his current cynicism is reflected in the way he asks the children to pose for their photographs.

That is, until one little girl comes along...

Comedy is difficult and comedy with children even more, so hats off to director Nick Scott for attempting this and succeeding so wonderfully.  I paticularly like the little boy who says he hasn't filled out his tax form because I don't want to. Ah - if only life were that simple!

It isn’t often that a short film of less than three minutes in length can show a turning point in someone’s life so effortlessly. Despite its less than happy subject matter, School Portrait is a funny and affecting short film.

The Chocolate Hills of Bohol

Bohol in the Philippines is home to a dramatically unusual geographic feature – the Chocolate Hills. A shame, but a certain Mr Wonka has not been visiting (and neither is this the entrance to the fabled land of the Oompa Loompas). In the summer the lush green grass that covers the hills turns brown and it is this, rather than any fictional intercession which gives the place its name.


What happens when two very different characters from two very different movies get caught up with each other as their celluloid world slips and slides (and skips!) around them? This is the question posed by Skip, a very cool animated short by Sarah Jolley who made this short when she was a student at the Vancouver Film School where the standards are always of an incredible quality.

I love the look of this animation, the character design and the clever use of colors, not to mention the (ever so slightly) knowing take on the various genres of movies you see here.  I suspect we have not heard the last of Ms Jolley!

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore - Academy Award Winner

I have to say, I was not expecting this, but The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore made me shed a little tear, such is its gentle loveliness.  A natural but somewhat introverted bookworm, Morris is swept away by a tornado to a land where books can fly and he can help heal people through the curative power of storytelling.

Little wonder then that out of five animated short films that were considered for the 2012 Academy Award for Short Film (animated), this won! Congratulations to all involved.

This gorgeous Oscar winning piece of animation was created by award winning author and illustrator William Joyce together with Co-director Brandon Oldenburg via Moonbot Studios.

20 December 2022

Nicholas Was... by Neil Gaiman - Animated Version

If you haven't been looking forward to Christmas and you think you are going to have a terrible time then spare a thought for Saint Nicholas.  Father Christmas, Santa Claus - whatever name you use for him, consider this.  Howe many centuries has this poor man endured his yearly task to take presents to the (sometimes ungrateful) children of the world?

Not only that, he disappears before the children wake up and have a chance to thank him.  Well, by way of thanks - or at least commiseration - here is a wonderful animated version of the Neil Gaiman poem Nicholas Was...

It is actually the creation of 39 Degrees North, a Beijing based animation studio and there way of doing the same thing.  Don't have nightmares for poor old Santa...

Waiting for Santa

Did you ever have a sleepless night on Christmas Eve waiting for you-know-who to arrive with your presents?  This young man is certainly finding the land of nod a difficult place to reach but will his dreams of a new red bike be realised?

This charming silent short by J Palmroos answers that question but it left me with another! Who really enjoys Christmas the more – the child or the parent?

A Dandelion Going To Seed - Carl Sagan on Space Travel

In 1977 Carl Sagan gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures Lectures on space travel. In his final lecture, he spoke about the human race venturing out into space; his words are as relevant now as they were then.  

A wonderful simile that Sagan used when imagining the human race venturing out in to space was ‘a dandelion going to seed’.  Once can only wonder if, as we look to send people to Mars and then beyond, are we finally realising Sagan’s vision?

This clip was animated by the Ri animator-in-residence Andrew Khosravani. Although I love the pale blue dot animations I have seen it's great to see another set of Sagan's memorable words brought to life again through the medium of animation.

Sign of Christmas

The Titty Fruit – A Crop like No Udder

Sometimes you really do give the name of a plant a quick double take just to see if you had read it correctly.  Solanum mammosum, to give the Latin name to this strange fruit, is one of those.  It has a variety of names in the English language – but the best by a long chalk is the Titty Fruit.  We will have a look at some of the alternatives (which are almost as Carry On in their capacity to raise a dirty snigger) a little later. 

The Caterpillar with Penguins on its Back

Over at our sibling site, the Ark in Space, there is a feature on one of nature’s oddities. If you look at the caterpillar of the forest tent caterpillar moth (Malacosoma disstria) with a little imagination you can see something remarkable. Found throughout North America, along the top of this caterpillar is ranged a set of what looks like dancing penguins. It looks as if his grandma knitted him a sweater for Christmas but decided that one motif simply wasn’t enough.

Click on the links or the picture to read the full feature and see a host of other photographs of this remarkable creature.

Image Credit

12 December 2022

I Spent $50 on TikTok SHOP & Here's What I Got!

Some of you are aware that Kuriositas is not my “day job”. That would be teaching Information and Creative Technology to 16-18 year olds at Lewisham College in South East London. I always enjoy seeing what my students come up with in their spare time – after all, I hope that one of them will become a content creating multi-millionaire and buy me that little flat in Barcelona I have coveted for so long…

One of this year’s crop of students is Omar, who has created his own YouTube channel called Omro. It is a young channel with less than two hundred subscribers (as of today) but Omar has set himself a target of getting 400,000 subscribers by June 2023. How he came up with that specific target I don’t know. I suppose I should have asked but I didn’t. It probably seemed like a nice round number and there you are.

Omro’s videos are eclectic but come down to a young questioning mind asking those questions that the rest of us wish we had, like how dumb is WikiHow? Combine this with trying new things like making a pineapple pizza or cutting your own hair and you have the essence of the channel, at least as it is at the moment - daft! No doubt it will develop further over time but what is great is seeing a developing talent take the plunge online. Nice one, Omar – I mean Omro!

28 November 2022

How Do Footballers Spend Their Spare Time?

People can spend their childhood and some of their adulthood dreaming of playing professional football for one of the world’s top clubs. Scoring the winner in a big game sounds like a fantastic job, but what else do players get to do?

Footballers are not that different from anyone else and do many of the same things everyone does but a lot more extravagantly. Here is a look at how footballers spend their spare time.

Travel Time is Spent Scrolling and Tapping

Whatever level a player is playing at, they will be spending some time on the road. For the big boys of European football, time is spent in the air instead. The situation they find themselves in is the same; players are stuck in a chair for a few hours.

Footballers will do the same things that many people do on their commutes to work, scroll through social media, and play on their phones, all while listening to music. If you see the footage of players arriving at a stadium on the TV you will see nearly all of them wearing expensive headphones, listening to tunes.

Many players enjoy playing on gaming sites on long trips. They look for the best gambling sites just like the rest of us do. You can look here for impartial information regarding gaming sites if you have a long journey or even on your daily trip to work and back.

The players with a large social media following will use their travel time to keep fans updated on the journey. Their accounts are usually closely monitored by their clubs though. Many players will have social media managers, as well as publicists, that check tweets and Instagram posts before sharing.

Football is Not Their Only Sport

Athletes cannot help themselves. They spend all week playing and practising a sport, and then they will devote a large part of their spare time to another. The biggest second sport amongst footballers is golf, and players can quite just as competitive with each other on the golf course as they do on the football pitch.

Players golf together a lot, and players from different teams will golf competitively sometimes. Golf is a game you can play on your own too. Some footballers spend a little too much time playing 18-holes. A recent example was Gareth Bale at Real Madrid, who asked to be left out of a Champions League game only to be spotted hours later on a golf course while his teammates travelled.

Footballers play a lot of other sports too but must be careful. There is a clause in most football contracts that stipulates players must avoid dangerous activities that can cause an injury.

This keeps them away from extreme sports like snowboarding, but also physically intensive sports like rugby. Golf is so popular with players because it is easy going and they are much less likely to injure themselves. It also honours their expensive contracts, and they are less likely to spend time injured on the bench.

Playing on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC

Videogames are a popular pass time, especially amongst the younger players. They may play the latest FIFA game against each other online, and maybe some fans have beaten their idols in some matches too.

They play many of the same titles everyone else does, like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, and can play online anonymously, hiding behind a username. This can be a terrific way for players to unwind and relieve the pressure that comes from playing football at the highest level and being a professional sports star.

Fortnite is a smash-hit online game that has caused problems in the Premier League. Some players have had to be treated for addiction to the game, and it was interfering with their focus and training schedule. This problem has reared its head in the game before, with Liverpool goalkeeper David James attributing poor performances in the league to playing Tomb Raider on the original PlayStation.

Younger footballers coming through the ranks have been playing video games all their life now and continue playing when they turn professional. Now videogame addiction is replacing the drug and alcohol addiction problems that plagued Premier League teams in the 1990s.

Working for Charities

Every top club has associations with important charities. Player's contracts will often ensure they have to contribute some of their time and fame to support local children’s hospitals for example. Some players will only satisfy their contractual obligations and then move on, but many continue to support the charities as well as others that they have chosen themselves.

Regular financial donations are just the start for some footballers, with many using their social media clout and their contacts in the press to publicise charities. This can be a massive boost to many worthy causes, as the big-name players always attract a lot of attention and help bring both financial support and volunteers to their doors.

Keeping Fit and Eating Healthily

Footballers will spend a lot of their time at work training, exercising, and monitoring their nutrition. The top clubs keep a close eye on their player’s eating and workout regimes to maintain peak levels of fitness and help them to recover after an injury.

Many players take these habits back home with them, especially as they get a little older. The career of a football player is a short one. From turning professional at 18 most players only have around 20 years to earn enough money to last the rest of their lives. Playing at the highest level does not last forever either, many players will drop down to lower leagues in their thirties and will earn less as a result.

The footballers who spend time at home maintaining their nutritional plan, staying fit with cardio, and doing some yoga, will usually have a longer career and keep playing in the top leagues. Players still having a place in a top-level squad while in their late thirties is becoming common.

There you have it. Being a professional footballer seems like it is all fun and games, and it pretty much is. Players need to make the most of it when they can though. Their careers do not last long.

Image Credit

27 November 2022

The Tridge – Michigan's Three Way Bridge

A bridge normally has two sides, that much is taken for granted. Yet what do you call a bridge which crosses a river three-ways? The citizens of Midland in Michigan, US, were faced with this conundrum but solved it with aplomb. They took the words bridge and tri and combined them. The tridge was born.

Falling (in love) Rocks

A Good Wife

This is a rather sombre and quiet meditation on the nature of infidelity, juxtaposed with some of the most beautifully colored animation I have seen in some time. It also has a wonderful retro film and reminds one of the 1950s melodramas of Douglas Sirk.

We see the eponymous wife heading home after a meeting with her lover. There are no words, just reflection and music which enhances the mood of the piece.

This is a wonderful piece of animation by W Scott Forbes. Music is provided by Cyrille Marchesseau and sound by Julien Begault.

End of a Scarer

Sometimes you just have to accept that your time has passed. Or do you? The good old fashioned Hollywood monster featured in End of a Scarer will simply not admit that he is past his scream-by date and is determined to prove (at least to one little boy) that he still has the capacity to make him yell out in terror!  After all, how can the star of such classics as King Kongo simply step out of the limelight?

Whether he succeeds is up to you to find out!

This very funny animated short was created by Chris O’Hara and served as his animated graduate film from D.L.I.A.D.T (Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art design and Technology in Dublin). 

Toi Toi

They say a boy’s best friend is his dog but the lad in this animation might just disagree! He stumbles in to the workshop of an evil old man and rescues an octopus. Yes, you read that correctly, an octopus! However, that is just the start of their adventures together as the old man is certainly not going to give him his catch without a fight – or a chase for that matter!

Toi Toi (for that is the name of the octopus) is a joint venture by seven recent graduates from The One Academy in Malaysia. Collectively they call themselves the Old Boyz Studio which is a pretty cool name when all is said and done! We look forward to seeing their first feature!

20 November 2022


What do you automatically think of when someone says a film set in a South African township? Grinding poverty and misery all round, something worthy but perhaps a little painful to watch? Then perhaps e-lectricity might change your perspective a little. Yes, it is set in a township but is an unambiguous comedy. The township has no electricity so when the sun goes down the place is left in the dark.

However, there is some hope. Walter (played with considerable charm by Thokozani Ngoma) is an inventor – a little eccentric as you might expect but a shy and disingenuous young man, often the subject of ridicule when his attempts at generating electricity go badly wrong.

At the other end of the township is the indomitable Thimble (played by the talented Rethabile Mokhele), serial knitter and supplier of balaclavas to the settlement’s rather meek criminal underclass.

Somehow their fates are, well, intertwined.

This warm and funny short film was produced and written by Jade Galbraith and directed and written by Miklas Manneke.

Lençóis Maranhenses - Brazil's Lagoons Among The Dunes

When you first see it, Lençóis Maranhenses in northeastern Brazil appears much like a typical desert: sand – and lots of it. 

Yet closer inspection quickly reveals pools of water among the ridged hills of sand, lining the landscape with their rich hues of green and blue. One of the most visually contradictory sights on our planet, there are lagoons among the dunes.

Land Art

Germany based artist Walter Mason has an affinity for pulling things apart and then putting them back in to place – but in a subtly changed way.  Chunks of ice can become upended, forming a chilly henge, elm leaves are stitched together then allowed to float away on the stream.  Beech leaves, torn asunder, find a new home on a lily leaf.  Yet the result is something quite extraordinary – intriguing but temporary, organic art which is recorded for posterity only on camera.  Following very much in the land art tradition, you can see more examples of Mason’s ingenious art at his Flickr photostream and on his tumblr page.

Ninja vs Pirate

Surely the only thing better than a film featuring a ninja, is when it has pirates in it too.  Of course if you have a film with ninjas and pirates the logical thing to do is to set it in outer space. Pure nerd bliss.

So, Ninjas vs Pirates does exactly that – with a lone ninja on a mission to relieve the robot pirate captain of his most treasured item.

Ninja vs Pirate, a 3-minute animated comedy short by 7 graduates from The One Academy, Malaysia who collectively call themselves Fruit Punch Studios.

Slug Invasion

Morning breaks on a sleepy suburb but the quiet is soon to be disturbed by an army of slugs with only one thing on their mind – to find and eat the flowers in the garden.  Yet they have an enemy, the little old lady who tends the lawns and shrubs each day.  Total war is about to break out – one of savage attrition and in which there can only be one winner, but who will it be?

This is a great animated short by a group of students at The Animation Workshop in Denmark.  The Animation Workshop is an international centre of knowledge and development for animation (and related) professions and businesses.

6 November 2022

Dance Slow Motion

See if you agree, but I thought there was something compulsive about this. Once the dance had started I just could not take my eyes off it.  I guess it may be because when you normally see street dance then things happen so quickly you simply don’t get a chance to take in what is going on.  Add a little Tai Chi style movement in to the dance and it can be even more perplexing - plus the fact the dancer is not as stick thin as the guys who normally do this (is there a little Blues Brothers going on here?) adds to the overall entrancement.

So, stand up Thai TV editor Sawang Treetippitak who created this with his trusty Canon T3i / 600D. The rest is just open-mouthed, drop-jawed history. Go Sawang!

Reading Kills

Can you imagine a world in which no one can read because if they do their death will be imminent? This is something the denizens of this particular world discover - and you can imagine the effects it has on their society...

It would certainly be a deterrent, perhaps even more so than in that most famous of dystopic illiterate societies featured in Farenheit 451.

Beto Gomez developed this idea for his thesis work at Vancouver Film School.  No one is safe, it seems – so you may well ask yourself why you are reading this!  Watch out! Behind you!

The Big One

Two aliens are in search of precious spheres which are normally about the size of an apple.  When they come across an enormous example – the eponymous big one – then the more dominant of the two decides that it is something he must have.  Yet that might not be as straightforward as it first seems.

This amusing animated short comes courtesy of a team of students at Stuttgart Media University (Hochschule der Medien).  They are Sören Hatje, Christian Höhn and Steffen Kuderer.  The Big One just goes to show that human weaknesses are not, it seems, restricted to humans!


I am a little surprised that Brisbane based filmmaker and digital artist Benjamin Zaugg didn’t simply call this Franken-Noodle but perhaps his own title has a little more class - and when you see the end of this animated short you will realize why he called it Take-Me-Away. From my own attempt at naming a piece of work which already has one, you may have already guessed what this is about.

A discarded half-eaten box of take-away noodles is brought to life and, as life does, immediately seeks to reproduce itself. Whether our noodly friend succeeds I will leave to you to discover. I was charmed by this piece which combines stop motion and puppetry. It also has a very catchy original score, Take-Me-Away, written and Composed by Ben Miles with vocals by Sam Jarousek. Two minutes of fun!

The Happy Rizzi House

You can only imagine the coughs and splutters from certain more traditional quarters when the idea for the Happy Rizzi House was first mooted to the council of a historical German city.

SpongeBob SquarePants might be happy taking up residence inside its day-glo walls but some of the elders of the ancient German city of Brunswick (Braunschweig in German) were most certainly not amused. Worse still, the planners wanted it to be placed in the city’s most historic area, the Magni quarter. Many were agog that this outrageous idea could even be proposed, let alone accepted.

Micro Empire

Clemens Wirth likes small things. So someone passed him a microscope and a drop of water and he got on with it. What we get is a fascinating look in to the micro world – and it’s not something that you get to see every day (or would probably care to see if you are even remotely squeamish!).

Yet however much you may want to look away it is really difficult to do so because you might miss something with that extra wow factor.

There is plenty of wow in Wirth’s collaboration with Radium Audio. In his own words: “The real challenge was definitely the small depth of field in microscopy. It’s really fascinating how detailed this tiny world is, and unbelievable how much is going on in only one little water drop.”

29 October 2022

Cwyfan – The Little Church in the Sea

Ynys Môn is an island perched at the top of Wales. Known in English as Anglesey, the island is connected to the mainland by only two bridges. In the seventeenth century, erosion of the coastline meant that an islet formed off the island – Cribinau. Yet there was only one problem – the cherished thirteenth century church of Saint Cwyfan was isolated on the newly formed tidal island.

City of Samba

You may not believe your eyes when you watch this. Created by Keith Loutit and Jarbas Agnelli, this is a tilt shift capture of the Rio de Janeiro Carnaval Party. You may have seen tilt shift movies before, but this will really make you sit up! It begins with a panoramic view of the city (including a helicopter rescue from the sea) and then, as night draws in, Carnaval begins.

It may not be quite the same as being there but this film captures the intense excitements as the floats pass by the immense crowds. Yet because of the tilt shift method employed everything looks tiny – you get to be Gulliver for a short time! You also get to see much more of it in five minutes than you normally would, thanks to the stop-motion technique also employed. This is simply dazzling!

The Old Man and the Sea - Animated

Perhaps Ernest Hemingway's greatest novel, The Old Man and the Sea tells of the epic struggle between Santiago, an old Cuban fisherman and a giant marlin he is determined to catch.  Yet Santiago has gone without catching a single fish for over eighty days, something which the superstitious fishermen believe makes him unlucky.  His young apprentice Manolin is forbidden to join him at sea lest he be drowned and so the old man sets out alone.

The rest of the novel deals with the day’s long struggle between Santiago and the marlin.  This stop motion short by Marcel Schindler beautifully documents this epic clash between the fisherman and his quarry.  The design is by Hagen Reiling - fantastic and evocative artwork - and the music provided by Awolnation and their song Sail.  Altogether a wonderful twenty first century version of a classic of the 1950s.

The Sublime Swallowtail

You may be familiar with the Common Yellow and the Western Tiger, but the Swallowtail family of butterflies is much larger and diverse than you may imagine. The Ark in Space is featuring some of the less familiar species, such as the Pipevine and the Chinese Peacock, along with some stunning photographs, and revisit one or two you have perhaps seen before - such as the Giant Swallowtail above.

Image Credit Flickr User TexasEagle

My Way

There is only one way to live life – and that is your way!  So is the message of this marvelous animation by Bold Studio Zagreb. It takes us through the entire life of a single individual who lived his life My Way – with the help of the invisible pebble in his shoe (you will see what this means when you watch the animation!).

This is an unusual and quirky animation which is really something rather special.  What makes it as much as the wonderfully drawn animation is the idiosyncratic narration which goes along with it – and the way that the mantle is passed from one generation to the next.  My Way is based on the original book written and illustrated by Svjetlan Junaković who also created the animation!

24 October 2022

Alaska’s Abandoned Igloo City Hotel

Even in the chilly Alaskan heartland, this isn’t quite what you expect. A giant igloo. Situated on the George Parks Highway, 180 miles out of Anchorage on the route towards Fairbanks, Igloo City as it is known stands out like the proverbial sore thumb. It has become something of a tourist attraction in its own right.

You may not have to guess when the Igloo Hotel was but as the 1970s are generally regarded as the decade that style forgot there aren’t any prizes if that was your first conjecture. Someone, apparently, thought that aping the Inuit tradition of igloo building would be a great idea for a hotel. Whether they simultaneously had the idea to build a giant tepee hotel in a Lakota community is lost to history.