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n2Hello all, and welcome to the September issue of The Spread! This month we’re all about animation, from hand-drawn classics to cutting-edge CGI and idiosyncratic stop-motion.

It’s been an especially busy month for the team, with a change of offices and a new sponsor joining us: Casting Networks, an all-in-one platform that makes casting your next film as easy and painless as possible – and it’s free. The team also attended the MOFILM summer fancy party at Queen of Hoxton. The party was a great success and featured a matching card game as well as a screening of some of the newest films made by filmmakers for big brands.

Last month’s Jam Session, on the 18th, was a special NFTS edition of the programme, where we privately screened films of graduates of the National Film and Television School. Held at the Hackney Attic and sponsored as always by MOFILM, the Jam Session featured Bill Dare, TV producer of Spitting Image, Dead Ringers and The Mary Whitehouse Experience, as guest speaker. We screened 5 films, including Sam Southward’s After the End, a computer animated apocalyptic comedy about the last two men on Earth and their blow-up doll, and Fulfilament, a stop-motion animated short from Rhiannon Evans which follows a lost thought travelling around the brain.

Given the prevalence of animated films at the JS, I thought it was fitting to name animation, one of my favorite kinds of film, as our latest theme. This month’s issue features a variety of reviews, features and interviews covering a plethora of different styles of animation from all around the world.

Marlies Janssens starts off by reviewing two animated shorts that were screened at Cannes this year – Sofie Kampmark’s thought-provoking Tsunami, and Laura Vandewynckel’s exotic Paradise. Thomas Humphrey heaps praise on Le repas dominical, a French animated short he considers one of the greatest ever. I delve into a hidden gem – the Hungarian film Fehérlófia from 1981 – and argue why every fan of animation much watch it immediately.

hertzfeldt_00394031On the feature side, we’ve got a rundown of the Top 5 Anime Films from Sammy Ward, who includes such classics as Spirited Away and Ghost in the Shell as well as one or two less obvious choices. I’ve also got a list of my own, this one a ranking of the films of Don Hertzfeldt, who I believe is the most inventive animator working today.

On the interview side, we’ve got talks with Simon Cartwright, director of the idiosyncratic stop-motion comedy MANOMAN which screened at our last Jam Session, Tom Levinge, a director of “Bad Dates” shorts for Channel 4 who also dabbles in humorous drawings, and Ian Waugh, director of the short As He Lay Falling which is currently being developed into a feature. Thomas Humphrey also interviews Maroš Brojo, Artistic Director of Fest Anča. Our Jammers of the Month are Rich Hardisty and Andy Needle, the comedy duo behind Channel 4’s The Art of Foley.

We’ve also shared some more cracking articles from our friends over at Raindance, including a revelation from Elliot Grove on the film distribution problems that keep him up at night and a feature on cost-effective CGI technologies from Machinima founder Hugh Hancock. Be sure to also check out this insightful editorial from Lift-Off’s James Bradley about short film story structure, and this analysis of the statistics of Hollywood sequels by our friend Stephen Follows.

Coming up this month we have our Jam Session on the 15th, and this time we’ll be back at the Corbet Bar and Lounge. Sponsored by MOFILM and our new sponsor Casting Networks, it’ll be a private screening of short films, with the programme to be announced.

downloadWe’re also teaming up with the Raindance Film Festival this month for a number of exciting events from the 23rd of September to the 4th of October. There’ll be daily “hangover brunches” – complimentary light brunches to catch up with familiar faces and meet some new ones, a “Boozin n’ Schmoozin Matching Game” – a matching game designed to get partygoers mingling in a fun, relaxed way. Our own Jared will also be moderating panels, Stepping Up: Producers on Producing and Sitcom Workshop. Don’t miss it!

Cameron Johnson

Cameron Johnson is a writer and filmmaker born in England, based in Michigan, USA, and currently living in Enniscrone, Ireland. He writes about all things entertainment with a speciality in film criticism. He has been working on films ever since middle school, when his shorts "Moving Stateside" and "The Random News" competed in the West Branch Children's Film Festival. Since then he's written and directed a number of his own films and worked in many different crew jobs. Follow him on Twitter @GambasUK and look at his daily film diary at letterboxd.com/gambasUK.

Posted on Sep 1, 2015

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