The intention behind London Animation Club has always been to provide a place for people to meet, exchange ideas and generally enthuse each other in informal surroundings and to have no separation between speaker and audience member. Through London Animation Club I am lucky to be able to invite people I admire to come and present their work and it’s great to see a lot of the same faces coming month after month to watch them.
I try to celebrate animation in a multitude of styles, techniques and intentions, so I am delighted with the variety of our 2014 events. We had independent films, artists’ films, a children’s TV series, corporate videos, comedy sketches and even a transatlantic software demonstration. Some of the speakers were LAC regulars, others outside guests; and I notice that we featured the work of a lot of women in animation.
We had eleven events (we never do one in December), always on the first Tuesday of each month, all unfunded and all made possible by the generosity of our speakers and by the continued interest, help and enthusiasm of our growing audience.
Our guest speakers were, in order:
Sarah & Duck
Richard Hallam and Thalma Goldman-Cohen
Aaron Wood and Slurpy Studios
Lindsay Watson and Toon Boom
RUTH LINGFORD, 7th JANUARY 2014
Ruth showed a selection of her hand-drawn, mostly independent films. They are by turns witty, lyrical and transcendent and often deal with issues of female identity and sexuality in a beautiful and arresting way. They are heavily influenced by European folk tales and mythology, but, paradoxically, whilst her animation style calls to mind wood cuts and ink on paper, her films are actually all executed on a computer.
You can see a video of her talk, filmed by Stuart Pound, here:
I first met Ruth at Animafest Zagreb in 2004 and this experience (along with meeting Bob Godfrey) led directly to my applying to the animation course at the RCA where she taught. On my first day at the RCA, however, I discovered that she had just taken up a post at Harvard where she remains to this day! The RCA’s loss is Harvard’s gain and I had been hoping to get Ruth to come and give a talk at London Animation Club for many years.
Afterwards we welcomed back longtime LAC members John Fryer and Sheila Jackson who showed their new animation It’s Not So Bad, a political satire and film poem hand-drawn in Flash: http://youtu.be/QGWvKVuKEp0?list=UUqA5rRuEe9PjIKM-MBYPijQ.
EMMA CALDER, 4th FEBRUARY 2014
Emma Calder with Ged Haney behind
London Animation Club regular Emma Calder gave us a special presentation – and the London premiere – of her new film Boudica. The film was a commission for Norwich Castle Museum and is now a resident video installation for their Boudica display. To give a sense of history literally coming to life, Emma carefully animated coins and other artefacts from the museum collection and made her own figures from wire and ceramic pieces.
Emma brought along reference material and even some of the figures she had made for Boudica and discussed the contribution of mud-larking both to archaeology and animation. You can watch her talk, filmed by Captain Zip, here:
Emma first showed her work at our October 2012 event, so it was a great opportunity to catch up with her most recent work.
For more information, see http://www.pearlyoyster.com/
Jamie Badminton interviews Sarah Gomes Harris, the real Sarah of Sarah & Duck
SARAH & DUCK, 4th MARCH 2014
This time we were able to feature an animated children’s television series. Our special guests were Jamie Badminton (Producer), Sarah Gomes Harris (creator and writer), Benjamin Thomas Cook (co-writer) and Tanera Dawkins (composer). Jamie and Tanera are London Animation Club regulars and actually met at one of our events back when we were based at the Coach & Horses.
Jamie hosted the event and after a solo introduction and did a Q&As with Sarah Harris and Tanera, with screenings of episodes in between. You can see the video (filmed by Captain Zip) here:
The last section was a more informal talk, in which Jamie spoke to Tanera, Sarah and co-writer Benjamin Thomas Cook.
It was particularly nice then that they went on to win a BAFTA award for best Children’s Preschool Animation!
For more information, see http://www.karrotanimation.com/.
GARY THOMAS, 1st APRIL 2014
This time our guest spoke as a commissioner of animation, rather than as a filmmaker (although he does make films too). Gary, who is Associate Director of Animate Projects, showed work funded by the old Animate! scheme and by Animate Projects, including LAC regular Katerina Athanasopoulou’s film Engine Angelic: http://www.animateprojects.org/films/by_date/2010/engine_angelic.
An informative and very witty speaker, he also talked about a number of things we should all know, including:
The Animate Projects’ Digitalis Scheme:http://www.animateprojects.org/films/by_project/digitalis/animate_open
The Random Acts strand on Channel 4: http://randomacts.channel4.com/
The Accelerate Animation report he commissioned: http://accelerateanimation.com/category/accelerate-report/
You can see his talk (filmed by Stuart Pound) here:
For more information, see http://www.animateprojects.org/.
JOY BATCHELOR CENTENARY, 6th MAY 2014
Regular London Animation Club guest Vivien Halas came to present a selection of short films by her mother, Joy Batchelor, who was born almost exactly a hundred years before (12th May 2014). Joy is best remembered today for co-directing the 1954 film of Animal farm with her husband John Halas, but this hardly does her justice.
Our event was just one of many Joy Batchelor events in her centenary year and was preceded on 13th April by a screening at the Barbican, followed by the launch of the book A Moving Image – Joy Batchelor 1914-91: Artist, Writer and Animator (see photo below).
Our London Animation Club event was a rather more intimate do than the Barbican one. Vivien made the point that even when working almost entirely on works for clients, it is still possible to produce works of genuine artistic merit.
You can see a video of Vivien’s talk here:
For more information, see http://www.halasandbatchelor.co.uk/.
RICHARD HALLAM AND THALMA GOLDMAN-COHEN, 3rd JULY 2014
Richard Hallam had contacted me out of the blue to ask whether I could include a post on our Facebook page about the book he was writing with Sylvie Venet-Tupy about their old friend animator Thalma Goldman-Cohen: Thalma – An Artist’s Life.
I was more than happy to oblige and asked if he would like to come and do an evening of her films at London Animation Club. Richard delivered the talk whilst Thalma sat nearby, lobbing in occasional comments and correcting Richard on some of his facts. She was, to say the least, formidable – but very amusing too, perhaps in equal measure.
Thalma said that if her films move, they have power, they are magical, they have power over her. Her films deal mainly with the experience of sex, sexual fantasy and sexual objectification from a female perspective. Their style has the buxom humour of Beryl Cooke, on the one hand and the sharp observational satire of George Grosz, on the other.
When the talk began it was thought that Thalma’s films exist only as off-air recordings made by her friend Neil Hornick, but during the course of the evening it became clear that inside a cupboard somewhere in the centre of Thalma’s North London flat lay all of her original 16mm film cans (“Come to my cupboard!” she declared). I can happily announce that thanks to our friend Jez Stewart, her films have been moved to the BFI archive and telecine-ed, and in the process another of Thalma’s films was discovered.
You can see Richard’s excellent talk (filmed by Captain Zip) here:
For more information, see http://www.saatchiart.com/thalmagoldmancohen.
Afterwards LAC regular Alice de Barrau showed a selection of graduation films by her animation class at Westminster University, most of which were created in TV Paint.
CHRIS SHEPHERD, 1st JULY 2014
Chris spoke hilariously about his life and work and showed a selection of his animations, sketches and live-action films. He is a brilliant speaker with the uncanny ability to laugh at the darkest things in life. He also illustrated that if you have something to say, it doesn’t matter whether you make animations, live-action films or TV sketches. He also treated us to a rare London screening of his latest short, the semi-autobiographical film The Ringer (2013).
I simply can’t do justice to Chris’ talk in this write-up, so please just watch the video (filmed by Ben Fox):
Afterwards LAC regular Ged Haney and the latter did a short presentation of his students’ work at Leeds Beckett University. He also very kindly gave me a piece of artwork from his film 1992 film The Kings Of Siam. Thanks, Ged.
For more information on Chris, see http://www.chrisshepherdfilms.com/.
For more information on Ged, see https://vimeo.com/gedhaney
DENNIS SISTERSON: STEAM STREK, THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY RESTORATION, 5TH AUGUST 2014
LAC regular Dennis Sisterson came along to show his 20th anniversary digital restoration of his 8mm masterpiece Steam Trek, an hilarious reimagining of Star Trek as though made in 1905. Dennis also brought along the set, which made us feel we were on the bridge of a George Melies spacecraft, rather than in the function room of a London pub.
The film was originally made by the Ad Hoc Film Society and is enjoying a new lease of life at Steam Punk festivals and events. Dennis had all the original 8mm rushes telecine-ed at HD quality and reedited it in keeping with the original VHS tapes. You can see the restored film here:
For information, see http://www.sisterson.co.uk/
AARON WOOD OF SLURPY STUDIOS, 2nd SEPTEMBER 2014
Our special guest at London Animation Club on Tuesday 2nd September, was Aaron Wood, MD and Producer of the London-based animation studio Slurpy, the company he founded with Creative Director Katie Steed. Aaron has also been coming to London Animation Club for as long as I can remember.
Slurpy specialises in explainers, corporates and online promos, which might suggest the evening might be a slightly serious affair – but the absolute opposite was true. This was one of the most fun events we have ever had. It was absolutely hilarious. For a start, there was an audience of 45+ people and team Slurpy had brought along loads of young fans and many new people were in attendance.
The event gave insights into how to found a production company, how to acquire clients and how to establish a house style. Coming so soon after our Joy Batchelor event in May, it was interesting to be able to compare the commercial and corporate work of a contemporary studio with that of an director-animator-designer working in the 1940s to 1970s and find they have a lot in common.
A video of the evening will be available online soon.
For more information, see http://www.slurpystudios.com/
MAX HATTLER, 7th OCTOBER 2014
I was delighted to welcome Max Hattler as our guest speaker at London Animation Club on Tuesday 7th October 2014. Whilst very much a contemporary digital and audio-visual artist, his practice links to the tradition of Cubist and Abstract Cinema which goes right back to Hans Richter through Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Leger, Oskar Fischinger, the Whitney brothers and even William Latham, and this is immediately apparent in his work. What is also very clear is that although Max’s work is by and large abstract, usually experimental, and sometimes deeply political, watching it is always a genuinely pleasurable experience. This was one of Max’s last events in London before his move to Hong Kong to take up a faculty position at the School of Creative Media.
The video of Max’s talk, filmed by Captain Zip, will be online soon.
For more information, see http://www.maxhattler.com/
LINDSAY WATSON AND TOON BOOM, 7th NOVEMBER 2014
LAC regular Lindsay Watson had recently become UK representative of the Canadian software company Toon Boom and provided us with our very first corporate presentation. She was joined from the Montreal office by Lilly Vogelensang who gave us an in-depth tutorial on using Toon Boom Harmony and Storyboard Pro, making this also the first London Animation Club transatlantic event. You can see Lilly’s tutorial (recorded by Lilly herself) here:
We were then joined by erstwhile regular Philip Green, a prolific and entirely self-taught animator, comedian, actor and voice artist. As Toon Boom is generally used by animation studios for producing ongoing series, I was keen to have Philip show us what he has achieved as a solo filmmaker.
For more information on Lindsay, see https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindsaysprofile
For more information on Toon Boom, see https://www.toonboom.com/
For more information on Philip, see http://www.cartoonwarp.com/.
Thanks to these excellent speakers, 2014 has set the bar quite high for London Animation Club. Looking forwards, I can tell you that Lindsay Watson will be offering a special discount on Toon Boom products exclusively for London Animation Club members in the new year. Our first guest speaker will be Lizzy Hobbs (https://lizzyhobbs.wordpress.com/) on 6th January and I hope to have Aaron Wood (and friends) coming back to talk about Skigly and stop-motion genius Tim Allen showing his work later in the year.
I have three London Animation Club new year’s resolutions for the year ahead:
1. Relaunch the http://www.londonanimationclub.com website
2. Raise sponsorship so we can continue our regular events without needing to charge on the door
3. Have a one-off ticketed event with films and live music in a larger venue
What do you think? Your comments would be very useful.
Thank you again to all the marvellous people who presented their work and all the wonderful people who came along to see them.
See you in 2015.
Love from Martin