Salamandra.uk partnered with Director Oliver Blower and Resource Productions to produce a short live-action/ animation combo for Channel 4’s Random Acts series; a short film strand dedicated to the arts, the escape of the conventions of arts broadcasting and a showcase of the world's boldest & most innovative creative short-form work.
The outstanding creative production, animated by Salamandra.uk’s Marcus Bowler, has been nominated for the ‘Animated Family Shorts’ category in the Cardiff Animation Festival and was nominated at the British Urban Film Festival. Having been approached about the project by Resource Productions, Salamandra.uk was delighted to be able to contribute pro bono to such a unique and powerful piece that kids will be able to relate to.
The short, titled ‘Their, They’re and There’, is a media mashup between animation and live-action which conveys Oliver’s playful yet painfully honest poem about the familiar frustrations of exams and feeds into themes such as children’s mental health, learning disorders and the stigma that surround both. It shows a boy who’s sitting an exam he desperately doesn’t want to be in. His stream of consciousness runs wild as his frustration grows at being forced into taking the exam. His arch-rival Jess is sitting opposite him as she whips through the paper. Joe eventually gives up on the paper, turning to draw his illustrated (animated) thoughts.
On discussing the project, Marcus said:
“The process involved having to think about the drawing abilities and age group of the student. I had the initial challenge where the drawings would look too simple so the art style would be perceived as too young. I had to really think about the mediums used as well, which affected the line-art and transitions. A student sitting in an exam room wouldn't have access to paintbrushes so the tools available had to be marker pens, highlighters, biros and coloured pencils. My favourite parts were the whiteboard segments. The smudges had to be exact during the wiping transitions. Oh, also the dog was modelled after my own dog, Holly the collie.”
Cardiff Animation Festival (CAF) is back for its second year… or it will be once social restrictions have been lifted. Despite the interruption, CAF has announced its official selection of animated short films in competition. The festival has selected 118 short films from around the world to screen in competition for the Cardiff Animation Festival Awards. The selection features unique voices and a diverse range of stories told by animated filmmakers from different backgrounds around the world. Over a quarter of the films selected were made by animators of colour, and over half were directed by women. Unfortunately, due to the current climate, the event has been postponed but new dates will be announced soon.
Lockdown might have put a stop to Cardiff Animation Festival’s physical 2020 edition, but it hasn’t stopped the CAF team. Despite having to postpone the festival, scheduled for 2-5 April 2020, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Cardiff Animation Festival team and their partners have been working hard behind the scenes to bring people together remotely through animation. As well as curating online shorts programmes, resources and activities for adults, families and filmmakers to get involved in at home, the team are working to organise online events such as industry talks and watch parties.