Monday, 31 October 2011

Flip Festival 2011


I went to Flip Animation Festival in Wolverhampton which was small but fun. The festival organisers were a cracking bunch including Drew Roper who programmed the esteemed guests from US 2d animator Bill Plympton to UK old-timers Cosgrove Hall. My graduation film The Man Who Was Afraid of Falling was screening at the festival and I was reunited with my trusted companion Emma-Rose Dade. It screened in the competition shorts along with Hogan by Peter Millard and John & Betty by Alex Hancocks and Luke George, all Newport Film School grads.

Esteemed animator Barry Purves shows off his Tchaikovsky puppet to a captive audience

Highlights included the Bill Plympton masterclass, Cosgrove Hall talk, the Brothers McLeod's entertaining talk through the making of their new film Isle of Spagg produced by the brilliant Helen Brunsdon. Plus, catching up with Barry Purves and seeing his new film Plume which is amazing. This is Purves' first personal short film after a thirteen year gap due to an unfortunate lack of funding during which Barry has made countless theatre productions, written books, directed children's animation and taught animation at nearly every school imaginable across the world. Plume was the next film in the programme after The Man Who Was Afraid of Falling and to be shown in the same screening as Barry's work was a real honour. Having followed the development of the film through Barry I was excited to finally see it up on the big screen. And it looked simply fantastic.

Plume (2011) Dir. Barry Purves © ARTE France & Dark Prince

This is a short that demonstrates brilliantly Barry's incredible grasp of visual storytelling and the beauty of puppets. It felt fresh, it was striking, the characters pierced through the screen and demanded attention. This is a poetic and lyrical film, a film that invites the audience to not only take pleasure in, but read the imagery on screen and it does things which I strive to do in my own work. The film carries Barry's unique style of animating, a brilliant gestural, stylistic and instinctive quality of movement which is fundamentally theatrical but is placed within a very cinematic and beautifully shot film. Controversially, Barry also used computer animation in the piece and pulled it off wonderfully without breaking the illusion of the film and I was left trembling in my seat. This is one of Purves' most successful films to date. To hear Barry articulating the process of Plume and to see extracts, watch the making of video below (although be warned, it does contain spoiler clips).

Most of the festival was spent catching screenings, drinking the free beer and getting cheesy photos with the guest speakers. See below...

Spot the joker: Peter Millard, Alex Hancocks, Bill Plympton, Joseph Wallace, Luke George

Creators of Danger Mouse, BFG, Wind in the Willows: Cosgrove Hall
Joseph Wallace, Brian Cosgrove, Mark Hall, Emma-Rose Dade