Back in the saddle (sort of)…

Those of you who check in with my blog will have noticed it’s been a bit quiet recently. The main reason is pretty adorable (and she turns one in a few weeks), but it’s also because now that my book is out there and doing its thing, I’m beginning to move on to new research and writing projects (well, as much as that nearly-1-year-old will allow). However, animated documentaries are never too far from my thoughts – I’ll be talking about them, in part, in a keynote I’m giving at the St. Andrews postgraduate Film Studies symposium next week: Approaching Animation and they’ll feature in a presentation I’m giving on animated dance at the Society for Animation studies conference in Toronto in June. I’ll also be updating the Animated docs info on this blog soon with information on recent publications in the field.

Meanwhile, I did manage to escape the nappies briefly during my maternity leave when I snuck out to watch the animated documentary screenings that were part of the London International Animation Festival. One film really caught my attention – Carla MacKinnon’s Devil in the Room, made as part of her MA at the Royal College of Art. The film is about sleep paralysis and I think it makes the most of the specificity of different textures, techniques and materialities of animation to evoke this sleep disorder. We’re increasingly being reminded how animation is now everywhere – from the devices we carry in our pockets to the ‘invisible’ special effects in mainstream Hollywood movies. In the face of that ubiquity, films like MacKinnon’s remind us of the importance of considering what is unique about specific styles of animation. MacKinnon used a combination of live action, compositing, stop-motion and CGI to create her film. I found the puppet animation particularly, creepily, evocative. You can watch the film below and read more about the project of which it forms part here

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