BAF hangover

Got back from the wonderful Bradford Animation Festival yesterday. Met a lot of lovely people and saw a lot of amazing films. Thanks to everyone who came to our talk on Tuesday, it was good fun and I hope it was interesting and useful. I think we could easily have gone on all day if we’d had time! You can hear the audio of the talk here and there are a few photos here . The audio is slightly confusing without the videos and images but it might be helpful for jogging your memory.

I met a lot of people at the festival, so if you’re one of them then hello! It was good to meet you! It was also great to catch up with some old faces. Keep in touch! I’m training myself to use Twitter (@Matthewstep) properly now that I’m freelance but email (matthew[at]mattstep[dot]co[dot]uk) is still the best way of contacting me.

Here are some of my highlights of the rest of the festival:

The films of Atsushi Wada. Brilliantly unusual Japanese animation (not Anime!). My favourite was a film called In a Pig’s Eye

The interview with comic artist, filmaker and bass player Richard McGuire was a surprise highlight. His film for Fears of the Dark was built on very clever use of lighting and composition in stark black and white, with no midtones. Check his bass here and his fear here.

Carlton Reeve taught me to use Corel Draw in 1999 but now he’s doing something much more useful! He’s the director of Play with Learning and he gave a very interesting talk about educational games and why games, on their own, only teach you how to play that game. “There is no evidence whatsoever that by playing a game you become better at anything”. Good, engaging games can be used as a starting point from which to teach but educational games have, so far, been a massive waste of time and money. Despite this he believes games in education have the potential to be “world changing” Listen to his talk here.

Somehow I had missed Studio Ghibli’s take on the Borrowers novels Arrietty when it was released so I’m really glad I got the chance to catch up in the Pictureville cinema on Thursday. Brilliant films though they are, I sometimes find Ghibli films drag on a little but this one swept me along all the way through. It’s a gentle unassuming sort of a film but a total pleasure to watch (as long as you can get past the over-literal song lyrics – perhaps they worked better before translation). It looks incredibly beautiful throughout of course.

The BAF award winners are listed here with useful links, they’re all excellent and you should try and see them if you get the chance. I’ll just mention a few films I liked which didn’t win BAF awards:

The Girl and the Hunter was a funny and charming film about infectious sadness

The Backwater Gospel was one of the best student films. Overlapping thematically with The Girl and The Hunter and visually reminiscent of the Gorillaz videos.

A Life Well Seasoned directed by Daniel Rieley at Bournemouth Arts University College made a great job of a well-trodden idea.

Barry Purves’ new film Plume was very impressive, here is a good making-of I found where he says some interesting things and you can see him at work. 10 seconds a day is pretty impressive on such a detailed stop motion characters!

There is so much more to say but this post is long enough already I think. It’s a great festival and I encourage anyone who hasn’t been before to give it a go next year.


Sharks Took The Rest animation

Never Alone by Shira Sela

I did some animation for the Sharks Took The Rest record launch tomorrow night (Friday 11th Nov) in Newcastle. It’s based on this illustration by Shira Sela. I’ll be taking an evening off from Bradford Animation Festival to go to the gig which sounds like it will be amazing. If you want to see said animation, you should go too.

Bradford Animation Festival

Bradford Animation Festival 2011

On Tuesday 8th November Nick Rodgers and I will be speaking at BAF Game about the process of creating animation for Kinectimals and Kinect Disneyland Adventures for Frontier Developments. The talk is entitled Cat & Mouse: Animating the animal kingdom and the Magic Kingdom.
We’ll try to maintain the right balance between interesting and silly whilst avoiding libel and/or humiliation where possible. Afterwards we’ll have a curry and drink some beer whereupon the aforementioned checks and balances will be discarded.