film

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Animation

Clay Faces Twist and Warp on Human Bodies in Mixed-Media Film by Sam Gainsborough

December 18, 2019

Grace Ebert

Animation director Sam Gainsborough’s new mixed-media film contorts and melts characters’ faces, altering and shaping both how they see and how they’re viewed. Facing It depicts a man struggling with relationships to his family and friends, his social anxiety, and his fear of being isolated from those around him. Throughout the film, dripping, swirling, and rippling clay faces mask those of the human bodies.

Gainsborough tells Directors Notes that he shot the characters’ claymation faces against a green screen before transferring them frame-by-frame to fit separate footage with actors, combining stop-motion and live-action techniques. Each face is roughly double life-size, and in total, the film’s creators used more than 1,100 pounds of plasticine. Adding human bodies to the work creates a “visible layer of reality” that stands in contrast to the feelings shown on the animated faces.

He feels that his parents are these emotionless rock-like characters so they’re animated to look like gargoyles. Whereas he sees everyone else in the world as being effortlessly happy so they’re animated fluidly with lots of colour. But at the end of the day the feelings he has are false, what lies underneath that is reality, real people (with painted hands for some reason!).

The goal of the work, the director says, is to push viewers to question whether they’re living how they want to. He and writer Louisa Wood wanted “a main character who would be seen to bottle up their emotions rather than living true to themselves. We wanted to make a film that celebrates everyone’s flaws and internal struggle, no one’s perfect after all.”

Facing It was produced in the same space that Nick Park first created Wallace and Gromit – A Grand Day Out, the director says. “It was really cool for me to be working in the same room that saw the creation of a film I found so inspiring as a child.”

Gainsborough is based in London and graduated from the National Film and Television School. His future plans, which you can follow on Instagram, include employing a similar technique but with stop-motion puppets.

 

 



Documentary Science

Fantastic Fungi: A New Film Explores Earth’s Vast Network of Mycelium and Mushrooms

December 17, 2019

Grace Ebert

A new film considers how mycelium and mushrooms have created an often-unseen network, similar to an underground internet, that has connected all living beings for the last 3.5 billion years. Featuring conversations with food journalist Eugenia Bone, mycologist Paul Stamets, and writer Michael Pollan, Fantastic Fungi: The Magic Beneath Us dives into how the diverse underground web creates the soil necessary for plants and trees to root. “It’s amazing what we don’t know about mushrooms. They really are a frontier of knowledge,” Pollan says in the film.

Fantastic Fungi explores seven benefits of the organisms, including those dealing with biodiversity, innovation, food, arts, and mental, physical, and spiritual health. Screenings are scheduled worldwide through February 2020. Follow updates on the film directed by Louie Schwartzberg and the broader fungi movement on Instagram. (Thnx, Laura!)

 

 



Amazing Art Documentary

Brooklyn’s Famous Green Lady Explains the Obsession Behind Her Life Devoted to the Color Green

June 29, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Brooklyn-based artist Elizabeth Sweetheart really loves the color green. In fact she loves the color so much, there are not many objects in her life that aren’t marked by its vibrancy. From her braided hair to her rounded spectacles, Sweetheart’s life is dyed green. For this simple reason she has been nicknamed “The Green Lady,” and embraces the name and the joy it brings to others by continuing her passionate collection of all things green.

“I think people really, really like to believe that you like something enough to really carry it through,” says Sweetheart in a film created by Great Big Story about her obsession. “When you are young you tend to think you look good in black, but as you get older you realize that color is so fun. I will continue to be green because it is so positive. I think when it is not, then I’ll change to my next favorite thing.”

You can learn more about the artist’s life, and the 20-year span of her collecting, in the short film created by Great Big Story above. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Art

Portraits Painted on Film Negatives by Nick Gentry

October 29, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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British artist Nick Gentry (previously) created a new series of portraits by painting on cut film negatives, part of an ongoing effort to repurpose obsolete media—he’s widely known for his paintings on floppy disks—which he uses as a backdrop for his portraiture. The new pieces are part of an upcoming show titled Synthetic Dreams at Robert Fontaine Gallery in Miami in November. You can see some of Gentry’s most recent work in his online gallery.

 

 



Documentary Photography

One Day on Earth: A film shot in every country in the world on a single day

July 15, 2011

Christopher Jobson

This trailer is the first glimpse of One Day on Earth, an ambitious motion picture shot by thousands of filmmakers in every country in the world on a single day: October 10, 2010. The trailer alone includes footage from 90 individuals and organizations. The producer/director Kyle Ruddick is currently editing down 3,000 hours of film and is asking for help via Kickstarter to complete the project. I don’t know about you but it gave me chills.

 

 



Documentary History

The Accidental Sea: A post-apocalyptic hell-hole

May 17, 2011

Christopher Jobson

This is a surprisingly lovely short film by Ransom Riggs that documents the rise and fall of a small community around an accidentally formed lake called the Salton Sea in the California Imperial Valley. Sit down, give it five minutes of your time, I promise it won’t disappoint. (via coudal)

 

 



Design

The Inception Chair

May 16, 2011

Christopher Jobson

The Inception Chair by RISD student Vivian Chiu is a series of ten interlocking chairs made of ash, meant to mimic the dream-within-a-dream concept from the 2010 film Inception.

Taking the chair archetype and placing within it chairs that are progressively smaller. Each chair has hand cut grooves on the inside edges of its seat frame as well as notches in the seat back. These grooves range from 1/2” wide to 1/8” wide. The mechanism works so that the pegs fit into the grooves of the chair one size bigger and slides into place so that the horizontal edge between the chair seat and back line up. The simple mechanism allows the chairs to be taken apart and put together with ease.

What a fantastic project. I’ll take ten. Or one. Whatever. See more photos here. (via notcot)