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Posts Tagged ‘OFAFA’

Hairdresser by Robert Sowa (1996) and Why Hair Stylists Are Important in a Woman’s Life

June 30, 2011 1 comment

Generally speaking, I hate going to a hair stylist / hair dresser or just anyone who is supposed to do anything with my hair. I would say: they just DON’T understand my nor my hair’s needs! And that’s the main reason for me crying nights after another such experiment in hope that maybe this time everything is gonna be different. Actually, I did have a great hair stylist. Finding him was just a shot and it was a damn good shot, may I say. One day he just took off in an unknown direction and, as you can imagine, I was devastated (in the way only a woman can be!).

HOWEVER, let me share with you my joy as HE’S BACK and I have finally found a peace of mind 🙂 Yeay! 🙂

But let us talk animation now – I can imagine you wondering: what the hell your feminine story has to do with animation?? Well, I will say, assuming you are an intelligent reader (of course, you are!), you can find links everywhere. So, today a Polish animator has crossed my mind. Not only for the hair subject in one of his works but for a few other reasons too. Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s put our hands together for Robert Sowa!

He’s actually one of those Polish artists that you cannot really find much info about when you look online. His film from 1996, Hairdresser (Fryzjer) within 5 minutes shows the lonely main character who escapes into a fantasy world while we, the viewers, watch him and his actions from outside. It’s a stop-motion, plasticine animation and it got the main award at Polish OFAFA festival in 1997.

The hairdresser created by Robert is not the kind you’d like to meet and have a hair cut from, me thinks. In his films Robert explores the feelings and loneliness of his characters and the Hairdresser fits in perfectly. I am not sure if such an emotional outsider can create a good hair-do to satisfy his client’s needs. I suppose he would rather look for satisfying his own needs and desires in the first place – that’s how we, humans, are constructed and that’s what goes to the centre of our own attention when you keep repeating me, me, me… all day long. And, finally, that’s why we need to fulfill the sociable element of our nature, don’t we? Isn’t that what our mental health is all about?

This particular production can be found, however, on DVD’s included in Polish Cinema Now! package (reviewed here in May) and to be bought e.g. from Amazon. You can also have a look here for more detailed info on the book.

Robert Sowa graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow, Poland where he currently works in Jerzy Kucia‘s studio. His film Hairdresser is said to be a part of a permanent exhibition at National Museum in Cracow (source: 24 Frames per Second. Talks on Animation by Mariusz Frukacz, 2009). His other films got awards and mentions at festivals in Poland and abroad.

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Witness 1919 – 2004 by Krzysztof Kiwerski (2008) vs. Animated History of Poland by Tomasz Baginski (2010)

June 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Shorts for today… With a bit of twist as even though it’s Monday and in our society of workaholics and lustful consumers it’s not the best time for patriotic feelings, I decided to post here a bit of history. The films are similar but very different in the same time.

Can you learn anything about Poland from any of them? You know, not every local piece of art must be clear and understandable for outsiders and I try to keep that in mind 🙂 Hope you’ll enjoy.

Mouse by Wojtek Wawszczyk (2001) plus a few words on being an animator in Poland

June 2, 2011 3 comments

I think Wojtek Wawszczyk is one of those animators on Polish scene who has proved both: his artistry and professionalism and in my eyes, as a viewer of his films, he doesn’t really have to prove it anymore. Hm.. that doesn’t sound good, does it? Well, I basically mean that he’s NOT as good as his last film as for some reason Wawszczyk’s name carries for me the whole package and even if any of his projects occurs to be weaker, it doesn’t make much difference to the way I see him as an artist.

There is a good book giving an insight in current situation in Polish animation, however it was published (as far as I am aware) only in Poland. It’s called 24 Frames per Second. Talks on Animation (24 klatki na sekunde. Rozmowy o animacji, 2009) and contains interviews carried out by Mariusz Frukacz with 21 fairly young Polish animators. For each interview the starting point seems to be each artist’s art plus the way he / she sees his / her artistic situation and circumstances in Poland. Conclusions are interesting but, here, I want to focus only on one aspect.

The aspect: If you want to be an animator in Poland, you can choose from the following options: 1. do commercial animation and perhaps loose your dignity as a former artist; 2. do artistic animation and do not make a penny out of it; or 3. do a bit of both and make descent money from / to fulfill your artistic ambitions. I can imagine that in many countries the situation looks somewhat similar. And I’m not even sure if, generally speaking, there are any other scenarios possible for a career as an animator. If you think of any other, feel free to let me know…

Anyway, getting back to Wawszczyk – he seems to be very much number 3. He has decent education from both Lodz Film School and the one in Ludwigsburg, Germany (for those who don’t know and also to simplify the subject as much as possible, it means he learnt classical  animation in Poland and 3D in Germany). He has good professional experience gained e.g. in Germany, USA, India, and now Poland. He makes good (technique-wise but also subject-wise) animated films that are watched by audiences with pleasure. And I think the latter places him in the same league as Tomasz Baginski.

For more information on Wojtek Wawszczyk, visit his website: http://www.wojwaw.com/. It is bilingual to make the access easier to other nations. You can also view quite a number of his films there.

And here comes the Mouse which is his last student film from 2001 (so we are pretty much getting back to the roots now). Enjoy! 🙂

Children’s Film Factory (Entropia Gallery)

May 24, 2011 1 comment

What I look for in animated films summarises well in a balanced combination of technique and subject. It’s not really rocket science that poor execution of the best subject will not win audience’s hearts, will not… win anything… actually. Innovative technique can possibly safe even the weakest subject, but how about something really simple for today?

Let’s have a look at the Children’s Film Factory (Entropia Gallery) and what they do. They are based in Wroclaw, Poland and since 1985 have been organising animated film workshops for children aged up to 14. The films are created in stop-motion technique and are based on original ideas as well as literature and other artefacts. Children work individually or in groups and their films win awards and distinctions at festivals and are often screened abroad too. What I like about them is that they seem fresh as much as a child’s mind can be. As simple as that.

Below is Scrap Raiders (Wojna zlomiarzy, 2010) by Mikolaj Golema and Lunchtime (Przerwa obiadowa, 2011) by Jan Popinski, of which the latter won the Jury’s Award at this year’s OFAFA Festival in Cracow.

For more information on Entropia Gallery, check out their web site where you can find more films too 🙂

Summertime by Cyprian Piwowarski (2009)

May 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I want summer and I need summer. Badly. I want 30C all day long. I want a shadow in a shadow of a tree, not necessarily of clouds. Just my personal whim for today… 

And to some degree I think the today’s animation refers to the season in question – not only because of its title. Do you know that straw type of summer day when the sun is left alone in the sky and everything is about to catch fire just from blind warm sunny light? Piwowarski’s Summertime is, first of all… straw, I would say, in its atmosphere as well as in the way the characters are drawn. Not much sun in it though, however to me, despite its sentimental story, it feels the holiday laziness which lets you free from everyday life you might get bored with (accidentally!).

The film got the Jury’s Award in student category at this year’s OFAFA Festival in Cracow, Poland.

Shivering Trunks by Natalia Brozynska (2010)

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Some say Shivering Trunks was the best film of the whole 16th Polish National Festival of Author’s Animated Films OFAFA. The very last edition of this renowned event was, as usual, held in Cracow, Poland.

Even though main awards in the student category were received by others, it was Shivering Trunks that got the longest ovation at the closing ceremony, when the Jury’s verdict had been announced. The film won a special distinction.

It contains English subtitles. Enjoy!

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