Category Archives: Film Festivals

One year later, TIFF

My facebook page today is reminding me of something I posted one year ago, to this day:

let the record show, at 2:04 pm on Friday, August 13th, 2010, I SHOT THE LAST FRAME!!!

So I am dropping in here today, one year after shooting the last frame, to make the exciting announcement that was hinted at in the last post… Little Theatres:  Homage to the Mineral of Cabbage has been accepted into TIFF!  In my very own hometown, the film will be screening at an international festival.  So this past week has been a whirlwind of excitement, including a press conference, the TIFF BootCamp (an entire day of seminars and chats with organizers of TIFF, as well as filmworld professionals:  seasoned TIFF director Ingrid Veninger, a publicist, a journalist from The Toronto Star, distributors, etc.), and meeting other directors who are also screening at the festival.

The screenings will be on Wednesday September 14th at 5:30pm, and Thursday September 15th at 1:00pm.  There are 43 short films in the festival, that are part of the Short Cuts Canada Programme, curated (is this the word?) by TIFF Programmers Alex Rogalski and Magali Simard.  The films will be divided into 6 screenings, with Little Theatres appearing as part of Programme 6.

I’m so proud and honoured to be part of this festival!  It’s like waiting for school to start, only my whole school year will be condensed into the first two weeks of September.  Can’t wait.

Montreal Stop Motion Film Fest, News that Can’t be Spoken Of Yet, and KROK

I’ve had a draft of my Annecy Report here half-written for ages… I’m very sorry for being so slow!  It’s just been a beautiful summer here, and have been spending time away from the computer.

But I wanted to write quickly, for anyone who would like to apply, that there is a fairly new stop motion festival in Montreal that sounds great.  I am applying for it, and hope to see / meet some of you there as well!

Montreal is a fantastic city… I can’t wait to go back.  Assuming the film gets in… you never know.  Well, either way, I will visit soon.

I have other exciting news, but can’t announce it yet, so that’s all I can say for now!  Which is not much.

Oh, and the film has been accepted into KROK, the Ukrainian Animation festival that takes place on a boat, while travelling the Black Sea.  I’m looking forward to that!  Edit:  The list of films is quite different from those screened at Annecy… which is EXCITING!!!  I wonder what the film “Modern Spleen” will be like?…  What an intriguing title!

That’s all for now… maybe we will have a rainy day here soon so that I can finish my Annecy post.

Hope you are enjoying your summer!


Little Theatres: Homage to the Mineral of Cabbage /
Teatriños: Homenaxe ao mineral do repolo — TRAILER

Poem: Erín Moure
Music: Ensemble QAT
Cinematography: Marcus Elliott, Stephanie Dudley
Sound Design: VO2Mix

Premieres: Annecy Animation Festival, June 2011.

The trailer is ready for Little Theatres — enjoy!

Also, in 5 days I will be in Annecy, at the Animation Festival… I’ll keep this blog updates with everything that goes on, as best as I can.

AND! At 10pm ET, 7pm PT next week, June 8th, there will be clips of the film shown on Bravo!, on a new show called In Short. Check it out!

Lots of good news…

So, the festival applications have been coming along well.  I’ve sent off the final film on HDCams, in both English and French, to Annecy.  And have just sent off an application to a festival in Ukraine!  To apply, I sent a version of the film with Ukrainian text, translated by a friend of Erín Moure’s, Albina, who lives in Ukraine.  She had already translated Erín’s poems (the entire Homages to Water series from Little Theatres), and was kind enough to translate the credits of the film into Ukrainian, too.  It’s so exciting to see the film in cyrillic letters!  I guess cabbages seem well suited to this language.  And the festival sounds so exciting… it takes place on a boat, travelling the Black Sea from Kyiv to Odessa.

I’ve also just heard that the film has been accepted to SICAF in Seoul, South Korea!

The language dilemma appears again… I guess I have to get used to sending the film out just in Galician with English subtitles, and letting go of the whole translation idea…  As tough as that is.  Not sure what else to do.  Unless, anyone knows of any Korean- and English-speaking poets?…  🙂

Some Stop Mo Resources… in Toronto

Hi there!

First a quick update.  I’ve been sending out screening DVDs and filling out forms for the film festivals, focusing for now on either Animation festivals or Short Film Fests.  So far I’ve applied to Annecy, SICAF, and Anima Mundi.  More applications to come… I have a spreadsheet of about 50 of them, sorted by application due-dates, and I’m just sending out packages one at a time.  My absolute hope is to have the film premiere at Annecy…  For now it is just a dream.  In a few weeks I’ll find out whether or not the film has been accepted.

The other day I met up with someone I used to work with at the very beginning of my freelance motion design career… the very talented Yoho Hang Yue, who now works at Crush here in the city.  He would like to start working on a stop motion experiment, and has some really beautiful characters designed, which he would like to turn into animatable puppets.  I was going to email him this info, but maybe it will be useful to other people too?  So here it is.

Materials and resources I used for my puppets:

Rare earth magnets.  Handy for animating, these magnets are the strongest I could find, and they come in many puppet-scale sizes.  I got them in a set of various sizes at Lee Valley Tools.  You can also find them at Active Surplus.  They can be used instead of tie-downs in the puppets’ feet, or they can be stacked in order to animate an object fall, removing one magnet at a time under the supported object.  The stack would then be painted out in post.  (I used this technique in the cabbage film, when the cabbage fell from the ceiling…  But did not have much success using magnets in the puppets’ feet and under the floor to keep them standing.  I think my puppets had feet that were too small, and heads that were too big.)

Plumbers’ Epoxy Putty.  This stuff is available at pretty much any hardware store, and some art supply stores, including Aboveground (my favourite place for general sculpture supplies, but I will get to that later.)  It’s a horribly stinky and toxic stuff that I try to use sparingly, but it is also handy for quick fixes, for making solid joints or ‘bones’ in a puppet’s armature, or holding together anything that glue won’t hold.  It’s a putty, so it will hold things in place while the epoxy sets (unlike glue or liquid epoxy), and cures fairly quickly… like in about 15 minutes.  Like all epoxies it comes in 2 parts — it is a compound of two materials that need to be kneaded together before the hardening chemicals are activated.

Plumbers’ epoxy is the sort of inelegant version of sculptor’s epoxy putty, in that there is no time for refining, and it is quite globby to work with.  So it won’t be able to be placed in any sort of specific shape.  It’s a quick way to fasten objects, but not meant to be sculpted or refined too much.  However, there’s a slower-setting, less stinky, and more sculptable epoxy putty that is also quite handy for different modeling needs.  (And is also meant to be used to hold hard-to-glue objects together…)   One make is Apoxie Sculpt, available at Sculpture Supply Canada.   The other is a Welsh product called Milliput, which I found at Wheels and Wings hobby shop in the East end.  I have more experience using Milliput than Apoxie… it was really easy to work with, though it does take a while (12 hrs?) to cure.  The advantage is, along with the slow curing time, you can use water to refine and smooth the shape, like with clay.  It hardens to a sandable, paintable, hard finish.

For my puppets’ armatures, I used an aluminum armature wire, available at Aboveground or (in larger quantities) at Sculpture Supply Canada.  There is lots of info out there on wire armatures, but general rule of thumb is that it’s better to have thinner (1/8 inch or less) wires wound together in layers of 2 or 3, rather than one heavy (1/4 inch) wire.

Yoho is designing a puppet with lots of flat angles, so I suggested he check out the thin basswood plywood in the model making section at Aboveground.  The image above links to that area of their website.  Foamcore might be good, too, or even some of the plastics, though I have no experience working with those.  The advantage to the basswood ply is that it’s thin, light, easy to work with (you can cut it with an Xacto knife), and can be put together with woodglue (as opposed to the plastics, which require some sort of weird chemical to melt them together…)

While the glue dries (I only use Weldbond, by the way) he can keep the pieces held in place with masking tape.

Alternatively, there are liquid epoxies that he can use to create a base for the puppet… Though again these are very stinky and toxic…  But I have used the quicker-drying LePage epoxies, available at any hardware store, or, again, at Aboveground.  I usually used the 15-minute one.  They come in a tube containing the two substances, that are sort of a gel-consistency… with a plunger, that when you press it, it dispenses the two gels in (supposedly) equal quantity.  Then you mix them to activate the epoxy hardeners.

Here is some more info on epoxies.  That site, This to That, is also a fun way to figure out how to stick things together.

Fun-tak — used to stick things together temporarily, like when a puppet is holding something in its hand that needs to move or be removed.  It only comes in blue, from what I’ve found, so sometimes there can be gobs of blue stuff that you need to paint out, if you’re not careful.  But when used in small, discreet pieces, it can be extremely useful.  It’s available at hardware and art supply stores.

I used many other materials for my puppets, which won’t really be helpful to Yoho, but perhaps if anyone else needs to make a more traditional-looking puppet, the materials and techniques are talked about over their various stages here.  I used things like liquid latex, liquid 2-part foams, plaster for moldmaking, and sculpting clay for modeling the puppets, mostly from Sculpture Supply Canada.

For LED lights and other specialty miniature-type things I went to The Little Dollhouse Store and George’s Trains.  Both stores are in the same neighbourhood.  All my LED light strips came from the Dollhouse place.  Other tiny incandescent bulbs that were used for the practical lights came from George’s.

Oh, one last note…  no matter what the project, anyone who’s in Toronto that hasn’t yet been, must go check out Active Surplus, just for the sheer thrill of it… Or at least, I find it to be a fun place 🙂

I’ll also make a links bar at the side with these stores, for reference.

Good luck, and enjoy!