Paul worked with Richard Purdom in London for eight years and learned a lot about animation by doing that specific kind of work. “I feel I have got to get into another area now, storytelling or movie-making,” said Paul. “Animation in advertising is not really movie-making, it concentrates on getting the message across.”
Fortunately Richard Purdom only does good quality animation so there was a lot of fulfilment in that sense, but Paul wants to do something else. “Also, not to have the client behind me saying what he wants. I know that even with series there is a TV station or some board that does not want this or that but there is more scope than in commercials.”
British animator, Karen Kelly was awarded the prize for best first film, Egoh. It is a colourful, musical tribute to the black South African miners who have lost their lives labouring in the treacherous gold mines of Johannesburg for a pittance.
Karen studied animation at the Royal College of Art from 1987 to 1989 where she made Egoli. Since then she has worked as an animator on various films and commissioned sequences.
Egoli was painted on white paper in bright swirling colours. There are five-thousand paintings, each one representing a complete frame.
Karen began to feel strongly about the plight of miners when she helped with the British miner’s strike in 1984. “I like African music and culture and when I heard about the miners in South Africa that gave me the idea,” explained Karen. “Also, I hate racism, my family is Jewish I have some experience of racist attitudes. I believe I have some sort of right to comment on it. I was experimenting and I did not think I was making a big political statement. It all came from the heart and ended up like that.”
The Royal College of Art has produced some very good animators by allowing the students to make their own decisions. “The college is for self-motivated people,” stated Karen: “The students can be really self indulgent because they do not have the pressure of producing commercial work. This is my first film and I just got on with it to see what happened.”
Nick Park was awarded the Special Jury Prize for his three films Creature Comforts, Heat Electric Frank, and Heat Electric Pablo. Creature Comforts was one of a series of five films made at the Aardman Animations studio in Bristol. War Story, another film in the series, was animated by Peter Lord. It is a tale from the Second World War in which the narrator Bill speaks out frankly about the bombing, the plumbing and the coalman.
“The war story idea was almost accidental,” revealed Peter. “We approached radio journalists and asked if they knew anybody interesting who could talk well. One said he knew an old man who always told great war stories.”
The film seems to break through the monologue and add a level of irony when they start laughing about the interview in the living room. “You have a live sound track and if it is a funny film you are looking for natural humour,” declared Peter. “Sometimes in real life the timing is perfect, the old man is going strong and suddenly this voice cuts in and says ‘Hold on, we are still recording.’ The natural comic timing was so funny.”
It is unusual for a living person to be portrayed and made fun of in an animated film so Peter was worried how the old man would react on seeing it. “We invited him to come to a showing of the film,” recalled Peter. “I liked him a great deal through his voice although I had never met him and I was frightened he would sit in the theatre and think everyone was laughing at him. He didn’t feel that way, I think he felt that they were laughing at his story, which he would want. If he was telling the story to three friends in a bar he would want them to laugh and I think he felt that way. His wife liked it very much and his daughter thought it was very funny, and he didn’t mind.”
Canadian animator Marve Newland was responsible for an erotic film entitled Pink Komkommer. It features an elderly woman who naps and has seven erotic dreams. Each dream has an identical sound track but contrasting styles of animation and content. Dream sequences were animated by Craig Bartlett, Alison Snowden and David Fine, Janet Perlman, Sara Petty, Stoyan Dukov, Paul Driessen and Mary Newland.
“We had some free time booked with a sound studio in Holland and because of this I was forced to come up with the idea for a film,” claimed Marve. “Overnight I decided we would have the same short soundtrack given to different animators.”
Paul Driessen helped with the sound track. “Paul has secret ingredients for the squishing noises. Two people were moaning, we had whips in the studio, and the dogs and chickens were on tape, not real,” disclosed Mary.
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Printed in Animator Issue 29 (Spring 1992)