Senior Lecturer in Art, James Frost, has published an article on the Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer. It is available to read through open access.
Senior lecturer Dr Andrew M. Butler has been invited to contribute a chapter to a book on transmedial Star Wars and is presenting the work in progress.
Canterbury Christ Church University
School of Media Art and Design
Research Seminars 2016-2017
18 January 2017
Invoking the Holy Trilogy: Star Wars in the Askewniverse
Speaker: Dr Andrew M. Butler, Canterbury Christ Church University
Jaws (1975) and Star Wars (1977) were among the first of many blockbusters that (in Stephen Paul Miller’s words) attempted to eat their audiences and created the tentpole film phenomenon that dominates mainstream cinema to this day. They were a huge influence upon the taste and habits of Generation X and the directors who emerged in the 1990s.
Star Wars-fan Kevin Smith was one such director and he both inserts references to such films in the dialogue of characters in his films and makes allusions to the tropes of the films. The eponymous Clerks and Mallrats of his early features are clearly fans of the original trilogy, Episodes IV-VI, and argue about the minutiae of the films. By the time of Clerks: The Animated Series (2000-1) and Clerks II (2006), the prequel trilogy of Episodes I-III was being released and the characters have a more ambivalent reaction to the franchise. In addition, by the time of Clerks II, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings (2001-3) challenged the centrality of the trilogy to the geek psyche. In this paper I want to examine the impact of Lucas’s studio auteurist franchise on Smith’s quasi-independent auteurship and the developing critique of film viewer as worker in relation to the commercial property of Star Wars.
Andrew M. Butler is author of Solar Flares: Science Fiction in the 1970s (2011), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2014), as well as books on Philip K. Dick, Cyberpunk, Terry Pratchett, Postmodernism and Film Studies. He is coeditor of Extrapolation. He is the non-voting chair of judges for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. In his spare time, he investigates real ale and collects shiny trousers.
Powell Building – Pf06
North Holmes Road Campus
Email Dr Andrew Butler – Andrew.Butler@canterbury.ac.uk – for further details
— All welcome —
Dr Chris Pallant delivered a sold-out talk on the history of the storyboard at the British Film Institute in London, 3 October 2016
Having recently published the monograph Storyboarding: A Critical History (Palgrave, 2015), on the 3rd October 2016 Dr Chris Pallant was invited to share his research findings as part of the British Film Institute’s guest lecture series. The event, which was open to the public and took place at the BFI’s Southbank site, proved extremely popular with tickets quickly selling out.
Dr Pallant’s book, which he co-authored with Dr Steve Price (Bangor University), represents the first scholarly attempt to establish a comprehensive history of a pre-production art form that has been largely overlooked within Film Studies. While impossible to include all of the insights of the book in the BFI talk, audiences were treated to discussions of: how print cartoons served as rough-and-ready proto-storyboards, Walt Disney’s contributions to the development of the storyboard form, and several revelations based on the authors’ original archival research, including the origin story of Ray Harryhausen’s stop frame animation for the film The Valley of Gwangi; unrealised practical effects ideas for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; the importance of the storyboard to the success of Jurassic Park; and how storyboarding has changed at studios such as Pixar and DreamWorks.
To complement his talk, Dr Pallant also produced a web article “From Star Wars to George Orwell: Why Storyboarding Matters“, for those wishing to delve a little deeper into his research.
Now in its 9th year, Canterbury Anifest was delivered for the first time by School of Media, Art and Design staff members Chris Pallant (Festival Director), Jo Samuel (Co-Organiser) and Craig Smith (Co-Organiser). The festival ran over three days and provided attendees with multiple ways to engage with the subject of animation: hands on workshops, awards screenings, guest talks, and a full day symposium.
The programme over the three days looked like this:
Friday 30th September 2016
The day was mostly given over to a symposium showcasing comic book and animation research, at which Professor Paul Wells provided the Keynote Lecture. In the evening we hosted the Anifest Awards Gala.
An incredible 177 films were submitted to the 2016 short film competition. Of these, a quarter were from the UK, and the rest were international entrants. Multiple entrants from France, Poland, Spain, America, China, Canada, and Singapore. Plus, entrants across the world from Israel, Philippines, Argentina, Serbia, Romania, Brazil, Iran, Tukey, Timor-Leste and Cyprus.
The films had to be less than ten minutes in length and had to be completed between 8th August 2015 and the deadline of 8th August 2016.
A combination of students, studios and individuals submitted films, the standard of which was incredibly high. There was a good selection of stop motion, 3D and 2D forms of animation, as well as a couple of films which used paint on glass techniques.
A shortlist of 22 films were chosen by the Anifest team, which were then sent to four judges to help select the winners of the awards. This year’s judges were: Voice over actress, Teresa Gallagher; Animation Director at Blue Zoo, Simon Taylor; Creative Director of Pixel Circus, Jonathan Yallop and Voice Director of Peacock Sound, Dave Peacock.
The shortlist films were screened at an awards gala during the Canterbury Anifest weekend, where the winners were announced.
The winning films were:
Best British Film Winner: Naughty Princess, Runner Up: Rum
Best International Film: Winner: Au Revoir Balthazar, Runner Up: Light Sight
Best Student Film Winner: Charlie et Ses Grandes Dents, Runner Up: Light Sight
Best Animation Winner: Light Sight, Runner Up: Bloom
Best Art Design Winner: Nino and Felix, Runner Up: Les Courgettes de la Resistance
Best Sound Winner: Light Sight, Runner Up: Au Revoir Balthazar
Audience Choice Winner: Little Thing
Saturday 1st October 2016
We featured four talks over the day:
Peter Firmin and Dan Postgate in conversation about the history of Smallfilms studio, which included plenty of discussion of shows such as Bagpuss, The Clangers, Noggin the Nog, and Ivor the Engine. . . and just a few never-before-seen clips too. Then Festival Director Chris Pallant presented a free illustrated talk about his recent research on storyboard history, covering some of the more interesting and unusual developments in the form throughout the history of US/UK animation. Eamonn Butler from the Visual Effects Studio, Cinesite, discussed his recent work on the films: Independence Day: Resurgence, Captain America: Civil War, Ant-Man, Spectre, and Jurassic World. Then we concluded with a talk from Steve Segal, who worked as an animator on Toy Story at Pixar, and who has since worked on Sesame Street and Disney World attractions, amongst other exciting projects.
Sunday 2nd October 2016
We featured three talks over the day:
Voice actor Teresa Gallagher, in conversation with Voice Director Dave Peacock, discused their work on shows such as Thunderbirds Are Go, Octonauts, Jungle Book, Mr Men, and many more. Ray Harryhausen Foundation Head Trustee, John Walsh, presented some never before seen images from the late Ray Harryhausen’s personal archive. John knew Ray for many years, and shared his stories about the great animator. Finally, LAIKA’s Lead CG Modeller, Ty Johnson, discussed the revolutionary digital processes used at LAIKA over the past seven years to produce their well-loved feature films (such as Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, and most recently Kubo and the Two Strings).
The 2016 festival could not have been possible without the generous support of David Bradshaw, Head of the School of Media, Art and Design, Keith McLay, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and Marco Keir, Director of Marketing and Communications.
A press review of Canterbury Anifest 2016 can be found here.
We look forward to seeing you at the festival in 2017!
Canterbury Anifest returns to Canterbury Christ Church University again for another weekend of screenings, talks and workshops.
30 September-2 October 2016
Augustine House, Canterbury, Rhodaus Town, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 2YA
The highlight of the weekend is undoubtedly Peter Firmin, cocreator with Oliver Postgate of Bagpuss, The Clangers, Ivor the Engine and many more Smallfilms animations. Firmin with be talking with Postgate’s son, Dan Postgate, producer and writer of the new episodes of The Clangers on 1 October 2016.
Other speakers across the weekend will include voice actress Teresa Gallagher of Cars 2 and The Amazing World of Gumball, sound engineer Dave Peacock, Lead CG Modeller Ty Johnson of LAIKA, animator Steve Segal and writer and director John Walsh of the Ray Harryhausen Foundation.
The weekend will also include a symposium on comics and animation and the annual Anifest Awards Evening on Friday 30 September 2016.
Anifest has been organised by Chris Pallant, Jo Samuel, and Craig Smith from the School of Media, Art and Design. For further details and tickets see http://www.canterburyanifest.com/. For the symposium, go to http://www.canterburyanifest.com/cfp.
A one-day research symposium hosted by Canterbury Christ Church University that will take place as part of Canterbury Anifest.
Friday 30th September 2016, Augustine House, Canterbury Christ Church University
Keynote Speaker confirmed: Professor Paul Wells
The animated film and comic book have a long-established relationship that features myriad forms of adaptation, remediation, and cross media synergy. This phenomena is global in nature, as we consider the work of Manga/Anime pioneer Osamu Tezuka, the adaptations of Herge’s Tintin, and the ongoing popularity of the U.S. Superhero ‘Saturday morning’ cartoon or feature-length adaptation. Furthermore, digital media has enabled different forms of hybridity between animation and the comic book to flourish in recent years in the guise of the ‘motion comic’ and ‘motion book’.
For this one-day symposium, we are inviting proposals for twenty-minute papers and practice-based research presentations that reflect upon the ongoing and evolving relationship between animation and the comic book. We also actively encourage proposals from interested postgraduate researchers.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
- The shared history of animation and comics
- Comic book adaptation
- Animation adaptation
- Augmentation and hybridity
- Repurposing and remediation
- Saturday morning superhero cartoons
- Digital remediation and new forms of animated comics
- Professional and amateur remediation of animation and comic book characters
- Cross-media and Transmedia
- Joint animation and comic book business models
- Collaborative interactions
To submit a proposal, send an abstract (~250 words) and a short biographical note (~100 words) to email@example.com, indicating in the email Subject Line: “Submission – Animation and the Comic Book Symposium”.
Deadline for abstract submission is 3 August 2016.
Dr Chris Pallant, a member of the School of Media, Art and Design since 2010, has been busy working on two book publications. To ensure the scholarly rigour of these works, Dr Pallant undertook an extended period of primary research, visiting archives in the United States (the Margaret Herrick Library in Los Angeles and the Bobst Library in New York), France (the Cinémathèque Française), Germany (the Deutsche Kinemathek), and in the UK (the British Film Institute, The Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation, and the London Film Museum), to name but a few. Extensive interviews were also conducted with practitioners from a range of media backgrounds. Much of this activity was made possible by funding received from the British Academy.