Also, take the time to visit www.elliotelliotelliot.com

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Song Of The Sea

So last night I finally got to see Song of the Sea, the latest animated feature from the clever folks at Cartoon Saloon (Kilkenny, Ireland).


I'll admit that I'm pals with the director, Tomm Moore, and that I was asked to give some notes on an early pass of the animatic.
So I'm a little biased.

But regardless, it's really good.  Really, REALLY good.

It's touching and sweet and moving.

Animators will find a mountain of lovely design and straight forward storytelling and civilians will appreciate the honest tale of a family suffering from grief and loss.

This is not to say that the film is inappropriate for young children, the deeper issues are approached with sensitivity.

This is all mixed with the supernatural/folkloric elements native to Ireland which gives the whole thing a time and place. 

It's exactly the kind of small film that we don't see enough of (especially in the US) and if enough folks give it some love then we'll see some more.
Not just from Tomm, but from folks all over the world who have small, personal tales to tell through the medium of animation.

As I say, I'm biased.
I love the film and I love that it's a smaller film.
Anything else you need to know about it you'll sure to find on the Facebook page.
Please go and see it whenever you can.


Friday, December 05, 2014

Strangebeard

Terry Gilliam made a film I love called "Time Bandits".
He described it as a film that children would enjoy and adults wouldn't be embarrassed to see, which it is, but it's more than that.
Which is the best introduction I can think of to encourage you all to seek out Strangebeard by the excellent Canadian, Kelly Tindall.

Strangebeard details the adventures of Jenny Brigham who on her 12th birthday discovers that she's the reincarnation of the legendary pirate, Augustus Strangebeard.
This supernatural inheritance imbibes her with a number of powers that are more fun to read about in the comic than to have me tell you.
She's joined on her adventures by Sluggo Sealock, a kind of Tintinish Captain Haddock, and her Boston Terrier, Lemmy.
The villain of the piece of Memoria Morder, one of the Pirate Masters.

Kelly has drawn the whole business in a very accessible hand that is appealing to young readers but is sophisticated enough in it's storytelling to engage all ages (like Time Bandits, children will enjoy it and adults won't be embarrassed to read it).

My four year old leapt onto it and pored over it for a good 40 minutes but it's intended for older children, really.
It is easy to imagine parents reading the book with the kids and in that it serves as a great introduction to the comic form.

It's noteworthy that the lead character is a young girl as we don't see enough interesting woman characters in popular books and film.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to everyone but I think parents with girls should have it on the bedtime roster as soon as possible.

A good chunk of the book is available online but you can buy a paperback copy here and then there's a good chance you could infect your child with the spirit of the book and then maybe one day they'll make their own Strangebeard and the world will be a jollier place because of it.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review From Will Finn

So I was lucky enough to get The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead & Roundhead in front of the eyes of bone fide hotshot animator and director Will Finn.
Will really did "get" what I was trying to do with the film which is a real thrill.
He wrote a few smaller reviews on the Facebooky and we corresponded at length about it via email.
With his permission I've edited his thoughts together into something longer and more cohesive.
Thanks again Will, it means a lot!

The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead & Roundhead

Yesterday I was lucky enough to contrive a viewing of Elliot Cowan’s feature film THE STRESSFUL ADVENTURES OF BOXHEAD & ROUNDHEAD, based on his sparse, darkly slapstick YouTube series. I flat out loved it. In a peak season of highly competitive and remarkably different animated movies, this one sets itself apart through it’s stunning graphic simplicity and organic, individually expressed story and characterization. I’m torn between wishing there were more films like it and wanting it to remain in its own special category. The movie is currently in theaters in Romania and the sooner it can reach screens here the better for everybody.

It’s coherent and entertaining but it doesn’t depend on formula. 

I love that it takes place in a world that feels absolutely real and beautifully designed but not in the typically groomed and regurgitated manner even the best stuff is done in now. 

I also loved that the dialog in the film felt like conversation. It’s rare in any kind of movie when I hear dialog that sounds like real speech. This movie has that.

It’s also rare in movies when something doesn’t feel overworked and massaged to a fare-thee-well, even in movies that are tolerably good. Again, simplicity and minimalism has an appeal I can’t resist. I always say the less you are doing, the more you can make everything count. I think my favorite standup comedians exemplify this; Louis CK, Doug Stanhope, Larry David etc. 

However he achieved it, there is very individualized energy in all the character animation and even the camera moves. The emotional reality of the guys is palpable without feeling cloying. 

The unexpected and absurd twists in the story are also a welcome change from the usual “beat board” approach.  

That he did this on a shoestring, without a set schedule and when it was done it was done. That takes courage, stamina, focus, and imagination.  Four things we all need more of. 


Elliot does the feature medium proud with his intensely engaging minimalism and dark comedy. The graphics are stark and stunning, the characters are indelibly etched and the storyline blends wild action with scenes of absurdity, mystery and even terror. If there isn't a clamor yet to get this movie into the film-fest and art-house circuit, I am going to start one!

Friday, October 24, 2014

ReAnimania, Yerevan International Animation Film Festival

For those of you in Armenia, B&R will be playing at ReAnimania on October 27 at 11am and 7pm.
Enjoy!















Screenings continue in Romania where the run seems to have been extended.




Saturday, October 04, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chicken

Recently I did some work for the superstars at Nathan Love.

I was responsible (with some other top folks) for the family shots at the end of each commercial.

Perdue "Never Imported" from Nathan Love on Vimeo.

Perdue "Getting Fresh" from Nathan Love on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Review time!

Another review of the Boxhead & Roundhead feature, from international animation supertar, Nancy Beiman.

Thanks Nancy B!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

5 Life Hacks That You Probably Didn't Think Of Until Now.

1) See that roll of white paper next to the toilet? Try wiping your bum with it after you take a shit.
Stop wiping when there's no brown on the paper. No more bleeding rash!

2) Hungry? Put food in your mouth and chew it. Then swallow. Yum!

3) Need to get someplace? Try walking or driving or taking public transport. You'll get there eventually.

4) Tired? Yawning? Close your eyes for a while and see what happens. Crazy!

5) Full bladder? Make wee-wees! Do it wherever you like, just don't let anyone see your willy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Review From Brian Sibley

Writer, broadcaster, middle earth reporter and all round super chap Brian Sibley wrote about The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead & Roundhead.




Be sure to visit Brian at his blogs here and here!

Or if you want to avoid Faceybook.

I have now caught up with Elliot Cowan's fantastic new animated feature: 'The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead and Roundhead'
Tirelessly inventive, it is sly, sharp, wildly funny and weirdly touching. The exceptional animation, in a style uniquely its own, is, by turn, dark and dazzling and always immersive.
What is it about? Living in cities, bureaucracy, art, industry, friendship, big monsters and pink and purple foxy animal-things! This is an outstanding achievement by a highly gifted animator...
If BH and RH come to a screen even remotely near you: go and see them! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Interview

I was interviewed about my Boxhead and Roundhead feature for The Iris, an online arts and entertainment publication.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Another Boxhead & Roundhead review! Wheeee!

Another lovely review of the Stressful Adventures of Boxhead & Roundhead from our pals at Zippyframes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review

A lovely review from Matthias Sundberg, director/editor at the Fred Rogers Company.




Friday, March 28, 2014

Melbourne International Animation Festival 2014

The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead & Roundhead will be playing at the Melbourne International Animation Festival and I'll be there!

We had a lovely review from the festival:
"...For his feature, Cowan has held onto the simple, graphic design of his two leads, but has rolled out a much more lush and intriguing range of backgrounds and environments. The writing is snappy, the voiceover work is pitch perfect and the look of the entire piece is graphically clever. This isn't a slick CG blockbuster. It instead musters the creative resources on hand to embody what an animated feature is supposed to be like".

Saturday, March 22, 2014

 
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