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Barbara Benas

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Four second-year students from the Netherlands Utrecht School of Arts, aka HKU, recently produced this haunting and heartfelt short film entitled Silence. It was completed in four months using Maya, Cinema 4d, After Effects, Photoshop and Final Cut Pro.

Credits:
Director: Olivier Ballast
Animation: Joost de Jong
Art Direction: Erik van Helvoirt
Technical: Michael Koning
Music: Gijs van Amelsvoort

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Canadian artist Eric Bates made Sayonara while studying animation in Japan at the Kyoto University of Art and Design. “This story was inspired by my life in Japan and having to say goodbye myself,” he wrote on his site. “Every part of this animation abstractly relates to my experiences, friends, foods, things I saw, and things I felt over this time.”

I love the mix of minimally rendered CG, detailed puppet modelmaking, and hand-drawn animation It’s fun to watch how he put it all together in this video:

(Thanks, Tim McCourt)

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Very cool, very violent, must-see music video for London based indie band, Is Tropical. Not for kids.

Credits:
Directed by MEGAFORCE
Animation by “Seven” at Machine Molle
Produced by Jules Dieng at El Nino

(Thanks, Peter Avanzino)

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Reuben Sutherland, whose zoetrope music LP appeared on the Brew a few months back, recently directed this music video for Seasick Steve’s “You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks.” Sutherland has packed the video with weird and funny imagery, and his rhythmic repetition of visual elements and handheld camera effects nicely match the energy of the song.

(Thanks, Noel Barrot)

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Short, silent, but priceless color footage of Jim Henson working at his animation stand in Bethesda, MD around 1961.

(Thanks, Floyd Bishop for the tip and the Henson Company for posting the film)

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Tim Burton, move over. Stephane Berla is co-directing a Burton-esque animated feature based on Mathias Malzieu’s novel The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart (aka The Mechanics of the Heart), co-produced by Luc Besson. Writer Malzieu is the lead singer of French rock group Dionysos, and will provide the soundtrack for the film. A work-in-progress screening will be held on Friday at the Annecy Animation Festival (which opens today). Here’s an intriguing viral trailer created a few years ago by Berla and Malzieu to promote the original book:

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Wolf Smoke is a small animation studio from the Peoples Republic of China. A kick-ass sample film, Kung Fu Cooking Girls, has just been posted on You Tube with this message:

“We did key frames on paper first then used vector software to do the between frames and color painting. This is the first time that we use this way to do stuff. Over 4000 key frames hand drawing and over 10,000 inbetweens in this movie.”

The studio posted three other shorts – and all are worth a look:

Mountain Shu: The Warriors From The Magic Mountain

“We did this three years ago. It’s an original short sample for a TV movie. But for some reason, it’s did not become a movie in the end. So we post it out just as our work sample.”

Little Big War:

And an attempt at humor – Full of Cats by Jin Roh

(Thanks, Rajesh Bhavnani)

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La Détente, a new short by Bertrand Bey and Pierre Ducos of London’s Not To Scale, has been selected to compete at Annecy 2011.

La Détente is an animated short movie set in a trench during the first World War, where a French soldier becomes paralyzed with fear. His mind disconnects from reality and he escapes into a dream world where wars are fought by toys.

Sounds good, looks great. It was recently screened at the Cannes film festival and is currently making the rounds at European film festivals. Here’s the trailer:

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Bob Godfrey

Here’s a toast to British animation legend Bob Godfrey who turns ninety years old today. Read a tribute to Bob on the VanArts school website. Better yet, watch this BBC TV episode about Bob from the 1970s:

(Bob Godfrey photo via Michael Sporn’s Splog, thanks Ken Priebe for sending the story)

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With style to spare, Slimtime, a 2010 graduation film by four students at Supinfocom Arles, the CG animation school based in the south of France, is charming treat. Directors Bertrand Avril, Pierre Chomarat, David Dangin and Thea Matland were influenced by the films 2001 A Space Odyssey, Playtime by Jacques Tati, and Space Age fashion designer Andre Courrège.

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