Coq au Vin on the menu

Here we all are in Cinema 2 at the Barbican last night.  From right to left Chris Shepherd, Tim Webb, Stuart Hilton, me and Adam Pugh, skillfully guiding the discussion.  Gary Thomas had asked us to chose an influential film to accompany the screening of our Animate films, it was a peachy opportunity.  I chose Al Sens’s The See Hear Talk Think Dream and Act Film (1965), which I’ve never had the chance to see, but reading about the special ‘spit’ technique that he employed certainly made me think that animation could be for me too back in 1996.  In answer to my request Gary said “What!?” (which meant the film was too long).  In the end I chose Jeff Keen’s thrilling trilogy of films Cineblatz, White Lite and Marvo Movie from 1967/8.


Here is the full list of films shown:
Dad’s Dead by Chris Shepherd, 2002
15th February by Tim Webb, 1995
The Emperor by Elizabeth Hobbs, 2001
Save me by Stuart Hilton, 1994
Home Road Movies by Robert Bradbrook, 2002 (Chris’s choice)
A Man and His Dog Out for Air by Robert Breer, 1958 (Stuart’s choice)
Particles in Space by Len Lye, 1979 (Stuart’s choice)
Cineblatz, White Lite, Marvo Movie by Jeff Keen, 1967/8 (Mine)


We were missing Swankmajer’s The Last Trick, which was chosen by Tim, but not available on the night.


Adam asked us to reflect on our Animate commissions and to assess it’s impact on our careers.  For me it was fascinating to hear  how the others felt about and tackled their films.  The reflections became melancholy in the light of the present lack of funding for animated shorts, especially funding like Animate! which allowed so much freedom.  However we were forgetting that Jeff Keen, Len Lye and Robert Breer are all independent artists with 40 years of productivity each.  That’s one of the reasons that Jeff Keen is an inspiration to me, as well as the fact that he makes work with what he has to hand, and that his works are gleefully anarchic and quite mysterious.  One of my favourite moments was when Chris Shepherd was talking about the appreciation of independent animated short films.  Imagine you have Burger and chips every day, then one day you find Coq au Vin on the menu.  Try it, you might even like it! 

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