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Should Animated Films Be Widely Available Online

July 20, 2011 2 comments

Yes, that’s a good question. Is that the question? Will an answer to it change the Earth’s shape from spherical to, let’s say, the one of banana? Well, not necessarily. And sometimes I even think this question has risen so many times that asking it again feels like a broken record…

However, two weeks ago I attended an amazing meeting / lecture / workshop (all included, I would say) with Caroline Leaf. It was within Barbican animation season. I went there with a friend who I hadn’t seen for quite a while, so we both thought it would be great to meet up on, let me put it this way, the occasion of Caroline Leaf. The funny bit was in the very beginning when we tried to enter the gallery 7 minutes before the event and were told it would be open exactly at 7:30pm. So we came back exactly at 7:30pm just to realise the gallery was already full with no free seats whatsoever (my poor back, I’m tellin’ ya!…).

Anyway, the whole event with Leaf-animator-artist was an amazing thing to experience. She went through her biography, explaining tricks of her animation techniques, presenting a number of her films but also she, literally, showed the way she worked with sand in order to animate it. It was all fascinating but for me the best part was to be able to watch this very fine lady and the way she considered herself as an artist. There was no buffoonery nor arrogance. Instead, we could see a very modest and wise lady who patiently answered all questions that she must have heard thousands of times. Somehow I like meeting such women – it builds respect and maybe even gives a good example to follow in forming the right shape of one’s femininity if you know what I mean…

Oh yes, there was one question in particular that has become the title for this post. Interestingly enough… when you ask them, all artists usually say they want to protect their copyrights, their right to gain profit from their work which they, obviously, worked on really hard. Nevertheless, the films are available on Youtube or some other Vimeo channels. Sometimes the artists claim profit from clicks on ads appearing along with the films. Very often, however, complete strangers upload the films and, without any permission, make them available to the world. And here comes what Caroline Leaf said – she doesn’t mind her films to be available as it means a wide audience is able to find them and get to know her, the artist. And she doesn’t get any royalties from showing the films anyway as they were produced while at NFB of Canada, so it’s not a matter of profit for her.

Well, perhaps this is just an individual case and an individual point of view that should not be considered as a general rule. Still, I think it’s good to know the variety of opinions on this matter. If you want to think of other views (or have your own! please share!), I recommend that you follow Animated Shorts: Sell or Give Away for Free? link where Amid and his readers discuss the subject through the prism of Bob Godfrey’s films. At some point in time the films were available on a VOD site but somehow I cannot find the website now nor any info on what might have happened to it. Perhaps the rights owners have tried a number of ways to make the films widely available but none of them actually worked they way they had expected?… So instead I am giving you a link to… wikipedia 😉

And below, is wonderful The Street by Caroline Leaf from 1976. Enjoy!

Watch Me Move: The Animation Show at Barbican (15th June – 11th September 2011)

June 28, 2011 2 comments

I am quite excited about an event that started last week at Barbican. I mentioned it in May, when tickets had just gone on sale and since it has already begun I decided to write a few words on it again – let’s say it’s a reminder (well, sort of, so better bear with me 😉 ). 

To be honest I was hoping to get to Polish School of Animation programme but have already realised what a bad timing is Thursday 14th July! Sure, you can say it’s going to last for the whole day and there are 4 sets of films to be seen, so better go and choose something for yourself! Well, sometimes one simply cannot do more than their diary and daily schedule allow. So, I’m saying it with regret but I won’t be there. However, if anyone is around, go and enjoy! And it’s a must for all of you (around!).

Anyway, yesterday I showed my 19 months old boy an animated film that is actually a part of Barbican event. To my surprise, I dare to say, it occurred to be a great fun for both of us to watch it – so great that we watched it 3 times laughing each time even louder. The film is going to be presented by Caroline Leaf at Live Animation on Thursday 7th July (7:30pm) along with other works of hers.

It’s called The Owl Who Married a Goose: An Eskimo Legend (1976)  and, to be honest, till that moment I had never thought it’s that funny 😀 So, in case, you’re not sure which parts of the film can make your children laugh, I am pointing you to the following moments with approximate timing: 1. the Goose feeds her little ones with fish at 3’25” and 2. the flock of birds takes off and flies at 4’55”.

Hope it gave you a good laugh too. And if you are slightly more mature and do not wish to be distracted from your noble maturity with silly laugh (other reasons will be appreciated as well), go to my post on Polish Frogs & Squash about Caroline Leaf (perhaps one day I will even translate it or just write something new here 😉 ) OR, for English speaking readers, I recommend an interview with the artist that was published at AWN last December: Caroline Leaf: Serious Game.

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