Update on “Wunderkammer”

Hello! Welcome to the cold, dark days surrounding the Winter Solstice. It’s been a while since I last blogged, so I thought I’d post an update on the progress of my paper cutout animation Wunderkammer. I’m about two-thirds of the way complete, so I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the animation tunnel. It’s a very, very long tunnel. Thus far, the footage amounts to only two-and-a-half minutes which, on the one hand, doesn’t seem like much. On the other hand, it truly is. Twenty-four frames a second, gentle readers.

Now that the Fall term in my teaching job is winding down for the Winter break, my production should pick up somewhat.

 

 

Wunderkammer work-in-progress

Hello, my darklings. Thought I’d create a work-in-progress blog post for my ongoing Wunderkammer animation project. All of the images in this film are drawn by hand, scanned and output as large-format greyscale prints. These prints are then coloured with coloured pencils and, in some cases, cut out. Once the backgrounds and cutouts are complete, I shoot them under-camera using stop-motion techniques. Below are a couple of quick cellphone photos of this work process.

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Wunderkammer update

Work-in-progress shots of my latest paper cutout animation project, entitled Wunderkammer.* Coming in 2018.

SYNOPSIS: Madelaine’s cabinet of curiosities contains wonders strange, frightening, and erotic.

*A wunderkammer, also known as a “cabinet of curiosities”, is a place in which a collection of curiosities and rarities is exhibited.

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Storyboard image from “Wunderkammer”

New Horizon International Film Festival, Wrocław, Poland.

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I’m delighted to announce that Toronto Alice will screen on July 31st in the Children’s Films program at New Horizon International Film Festival in Wrocław, Poland. Considering that my use of paper cutouts is largely inspired by the work of Polish animators Jan Lenica and Walerian Borowyck, the inclusion of my film in this Polish film festival feels like a sort of stylistic homecoming.

Wunderkammer: Cabinets of Curiosity.

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A wunderkammer, otherwise known as a cabinet of curiosity. This is an animated GIF testing out the opening motion of the doors to the cabinet in my film.

 

Hello, my darklings. Sorry for the prolonged absence from this blog, as I’ve begun working on my new animation project entitled Wunderkammer. This project sees the return of Madelaine, the mysterious Victorian lady from my previous short films La Petite Mort (2013) and An Unfortunate Incident Involving Her Hat (2012). As always, curious happenings befall Madelaine. In the latter film, Madelaine became the victim of a very bizarre wardrobe malfunction, and in the former, she engaged in a romantic — but ultimately tragic — tryst with an octopus. Similarly, in Wunderkammer her uncanny adventures continue.

For those not familiar with the term, a wunderkammer was a Renaissance-era predecessor of the modern museum collection. Below is a definition copied from the Tate Modern web site:

Wunderkammer or curiosity cabinets were collections of rare, valuable, historically important or unusual objects, which generally were compiled by a single person, normally a scholar or nobleman, for study and/or entertainment. […]Exotic natural objects, art, treasures and diverse items of clothing or tools from distant lands and cultures were all sought for the wunderkammer. Particularly highly prized were unusual and rare items which crossed or blurred the lines between animal, vegetable and mineral. Examples of these were corals and fossils and above all else objects such as narwhal tusks which were thought to be the horns of unicorns and were considered to be magical.

— excerpt from “History of the wunderkammern (cabinet of curiosities).”

I include here some pencil sketches of the various items and curios found inside the wunderkammer of my film (subject to change as the project evolves, of course).

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Three wet specimen jars containing (left to right) a jellyfish, octopus, and a snake. The octopus is a small nod to my previous film La Petite Mort. 

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Conjoined twins preserved within a glass specimen container (container not drawn yet).

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Pair of tsantsa, or shrunken human heads. Sure, this might be culturally insensitive, but tsantsa were wildly popular in the 19th century as items of “curiosity” in European cabinets.

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Taxidermy monkey with martini glass. Taxidermy of all kind was popular inside wunderkammer. Not entirely happy with this sketch, and I may revisit at a later date.

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What it looks like: a cloud with a single eye. This never existed inside any wunderkammer, but it does inside mine.

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The mysterious box. Believe it or not, the contents of this box will prove to be the most strange and curious item inside my wunderkammer. Stay tuned. 

Toronto Alice

After much thought, I’ve decided to post the entire short film of Toronto Alice online for all to see. Even though I’ve submitted to a bunch of festivals, I decided that wider exposure online was worth the risk of disqualifying the film from a handful of festivals.

If you enjoy, then please share widely. Thanks.

Trailer for “Toronto Alice”.

The entire film of “Toronto Alice” will not be available online to the general public for a little while longer — it’s an eligibility for film festivals and/or “premiere status” sorta thing. In the meantime, please enjoy this sneak peek in the form of a short trailer. Incidentally, the music that plays in the trailer is not featured in the film.

SYNOPSIS

The character of Alice from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Through the Looking-Glass’ is transported to contemporary Toronto. Whilst riding a streetcar, Alice encounters a pair of strange characters who engage her in an equally strange debate over whether or not they, in fact, exist. The dialogue is borrowed directly from Carroll, but given a fresh and funny new twist in this short stop-motion animation.

CAST

Voice of Alice by Nicole Bauman
Voices of Tweedledee & Tweedledum by Matt Speirs
Sound recording and design by Karl Mohr
Paper puppets, stop-motion animation, post-production, editing, and direction by Jennifer Linton
Adapted from “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There”, by Lewis Carroll (published in 1871).

This animation was made possible by the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council, and by the generosity of my Indiegogo contributors. Thank you!

Copyright ©2015 Papercut Pictures. All rights reserved.

The Dangerous Mind of Lady Lazarus

Hello, gentle readers. Many apologies for the fact that I haven’t been keeping up with my blog posting lately. As you can read in the previous two posts, I’m currently involved in a new animation project which is commandeering all of my “spare” time. Below is a screen capture from a lovely little write-up I received a couple of months back on the Dangerous Minds blog. I submit this for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.

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“Toronto Alice” is a popular girl, indeed.

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Toronto Alice has become a very popular girl, indeed. She’s received some love from the Toronto Film Scene blog, from the Canadian Animation Resources blog, and from the fun-loving culture-geeks at Boing Boing!

Many, many heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to my Toronto Alice campaign! In just twelve days, we’ve not only met my goal of $3,000, but surpassed it! If you’d like to get in on the “perks”, there’s still time to do so. You can get a private Vimeo link or Blu-Ray DVD of the completed film, Toronto Alice paper dolls and/or original artwork. This film won’t be released to the general public until after its run in the festival circuit, so this will be your only opportunity to see it till then.

Toronto Alice Indiegogo campaign.