Bernie Speaks on MLK – 1985

To truly honor Dr. Martin Luther King we must fight to carry out his radical and bold vision for America.
“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'”
We Shall Overcome

A Love Story

Anushka Naanayakkara (2019)

Two characters, cocooned in their love, who go on a heartbreaking journey of self-discovery in this experimental, BAFTA-winning short film, animated via yarn puppets.

A BAFTA-winning animation created after director Anushka Naanayakkara set herself the challenge to tell a personal story through a surreal world, A Love Story transports you to a strange land of fabric and fluff, as we witness the lives of two entities literally becoming entwined. The tale of a relationship, told through wool, we share the initial warmth of connection as this ethereal pair become joined together, but we’re quickly reminded how messy things can get when something poisonous enters into such a personal bond.

Narratively, A Love Story feels like it is somewhat open to interpretation. What is this destructive force that has entered the relationship? An illness? Negative thought? Another person? However you read it, Naanayakkara wasn’t making a film to make you doubt love or to dissuade you to enter relationships, in fact she was just looking to bring comfort to audiences who have been through a similar experience.

Like many of the films we feature on S/W, when you unravel the story of A Love Story it isn’t tackling new ideas or themes, these are age-old issues explored since the early beginnings of storytelling. The true innovation here lies in bringing this universal yarn to the screen and making it feel fresh.

The use of wool feels ideal in illustrating the bonds that connect us through love and by choosing to set this story in this dreamlike world featuring floating beings, we are reminded of the universal nature of this emotion. At around seven minutes in length, A Love Story manages to perfectly portray a relationship in entirety and inspire us with its craft. Proof once again that a short film can achieve all that a feature can, in a fraction of the time.

Since finishing A Love Story and winning that BAFTA, Anushka has gone on to create a series of animated promos and is going into production (in 2020) on a music video for composer and pianist Dustin O’Halloran. With the impact and success of this film, let’s hope she returns to the world of shorts sometime soon.

Our Cartoon President

Stephen Colbert & Chris Licht (2020)

From the Iowa caucuses and the Democratic campaigns to the impeachment inquiry, dive into a momentous election year to explore the critical question of who could be the next Cartoon President.

Executive produced by multiple Emmy winner Stephen Colbert and his Late Show executive producer, Chris Licht. Starring two-dimensional avatars of Donald Trump and his merry band of insiders and family members, this cutting-edge comedy presents the truish adventures of Trump, his confidants and bon vivants. It’s a workplace comedy where the office is oval, a character study in search of character, and a timely political send-up of our always-colorful forty-fifth president and his family. Trust us, it’s yuge, and you’re going to laugh bigly. R.J. Fried will serve as executive producer and showrunner. Tim Luecke will serve as lead animator and co-executive producer. Matt Lappin will serve as consulting producer.

UGO

Dead Pirates & McBess (2016)

Animated and directed by McBess.

Illustrator McBess has released his first 2D animation, a dark 1920s-style cartoon to accompany the release of Ugo, the new single by his band Dead Pirates. The video brings to life the delightful yet ghoulish world of McBess’ illustrations, clashing cutesy characters with sinister themes. A drum forces a perma-smile while hitting himself in the face, and hula dancers wiggle hypnotically alongside others cloaked in sacks, while a Mickey Mouse hand gives the middle finger. The happy imagery mixed with more sadistic happenings makes it all the more eerie.

“The idea behind the video was to finally make a proper 2D animated version of my illustration, animated more or less like they would have in the 20s or 30s with a lot of simple loops,” the artist told It’s Nice That. “Simple was key, since I’ve never animated in 2D before, so there was a good amount of learning during the process.”

McBess made the five-minute video on his own in less than a month, from composition to final edit. The deadline was set in stone due to the delivery to the vinyl press, hence the tight time constraints, but it sounds like he quite enjoyed the process.

“Working by myself made it easy, a bit like when I work on my illustration — nobody to tell me what to do or not, so every idea is a good idea. Smooth sailing.”

McBess also released artwork for the single, which will be on the forthcoming Dead Pirates album, Highmare.

  • by Jenny Brewer

PostHuman

Cole Drumb & Jennifer Wai-Yin Luk (2019)

A genius hacker and his dog help an enigmatic young woman to free the remaining test subjects of a black ops ESP test lab.

PostHuman follows Terrence and his dog Nine in an adrenalized future of espionage, super science, and assassins. Terrence agrees to help Kali, an escaped test subject from a black ops ESP test lab, in her effort to free the last surviving imprisoned test subject. The assault on the lab is fast paced and intense as Terrence uses every hacker trick he knows to destroy the lab’s defenses and give Kali the opportunity to free her tortured lab mate, Benjamin. Gritty, hyperstylized, and dripping with intense images, PostHuman is NSFW, for children, or adults with no sense of adventure.

“I am a geek. There is more to be sure, but that identification may well be enough. I cannot say I am smart enough to be a nerd but I can say I am passionate enough to be a geek. The world of PostHuman came in an explosion of thought more than fifteen years ago, influenced by a wide variety of artists in many mediums. The work of realizing that world took another five years to construct, starting with script and sketches followed by storyboards (many, many glorious boards), and later, the hunt and hire for a staggeringly talented crew. A film professor once told me that film production equaled the long degeneration of a great idea, and with PostHuman, I want to believe I have put a burning match to that parasitic statement and killed it in a jar of alcohol.”

Cole Drumb

The Turning Point

A film by Steve Cutts — January 1st, 2020

Music by Wantaways

The Turning Point explores the destruction of the environment, climate change, and species extinction from a different perspective.

After tackling screen zombies and consumerism, London artist/animator Steve Cutts turns his talents for rendering modern dilemmas in hyper-detail toward human-induced apocalypse in this devastating music video for Melbourne musician Wantaways.

Steve Cutts is an illustrator and animator based in London, England. His artwork satirises the excesses of modern society. His style is inspired by 1930s and 40s cartoons, as well as modern comic books and graphic novels.