30 years ago, Rick Rubin was a college student, living in NYU's Weinstein Residence Hall, room #712. It was there that Def Jam Records was formed, shifting the focus of hip-hop from the MCs to promote the DJs, too. Rubin and his label quickly outgrew the dorm, and he hasn't been back since. Recently he returned, and the adventure was captured and put into context by Rolling Stone Film's mini-documentary, Rick Was Here. New footage rolls alongside old, with some animations to bring a few audio-only stories to life. [more inside]
Scissors or Sword? The Symbolism of a Medieval Haircut:
"Simon Coates explores the symbolic meanings attached to hair in the early medieval West, and how it served to denote differences in age, sex, ethnicity and status."
“Aspirational,” by Michael Frost for Vs. Magazine
"Vs. Magazine cover girl Kirsten Dunst stars in what is NOT your typical fashion film. Between late Ubers and selfie-obsessed fangirls, Kiki gives us a tongue-in-cheek look at celebrity culture and social media... Next time you take a selfie with your favorite star, think twice - unlike the girls in this film.vsmagazinelive.com
"If I had been born 10 years earlier, I don’t think I would be an animator," wrote Makoto Shinkai. Despite the fact that even his earliest animations were completed with a Mac and a tablet, his style is influenced by the works of prior Japanese animators, even earning him the title "the next Miyazaki," which he says is an honor, but overstating his skills. From his earliest short, Other Worlds, he set some of the tone and pacing featured in his subsequent works, which are discussed in the lead up to an interview Shinkai did with Tested. [more inside]
Who really controls Hollywood? Now it can be told! (SLFOD)
Butter Ya'Self (Vimeo; YouTube) is "basically ... the story of Drake and Lil’ Wayne [as told with an anthropomorphic banana, hot dog bun, and stick of butter]. ButterKrust is 100% based on Wayne – Nana Splits isn’t based on anyone real but his relationship to ButterKrust is based on Drake’s relationship to Lil’ Wayne. The most important thing I wanted to express in this video is the relationship between them, how tight they are and how much Nana Splits looks up to ButterKrust." That's the story from Julian Petschek, who is studying at The California Institute of the Arts. [more inside]
Take a bit of nonsense rhyming about Moses' toeses as set to a lively tap dancing number by Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor turns into something else in this short animation of a ghost girl joining a dancing pair of shoes (YouTube; Vimeo).
Junk Head 1 - Start with the stop motion animation look of an old Tool video, add in a bit of that Jeunet/Caro style humanity and humor, weave in some Cronenberg-like WTF creatures, and wrap the whole thing in an interesting story, and you have yourself a very cool short from Yamiken Hori.
The collaborative wiki-as-fiction site, Secure Contain Protect (previously), held a contest to determine which entry will get the coveted SCP - 2000 spot. The theme? Science Fiction. Read the winning entry here, and the rest of the alien-spaceship-crashing-memetic-virus-watching-living-TV-show-spreading contestants here.
Our Drone Future — A short film by Alex Cornell. "Created with DJI Phantom Drones, After Effects, Premier, Logic, GoPro, and a liberal interpretation of FAA regulations". If not actually the future of domestically deployed drones, it's probably the future of sub-$2K filmmaking hardware (if you don't include the software licenses and, um, FAA fines).
WIND is an animated short about the daily life of people living in a windy area who seem helplessly exposed to the weather. However, the inhabitants have learned to deal with their difficult living conditions. The wind creates a natural system for living.
"The Most Quoted Man in News" (vimeo) is a short about Greg Packer, a man who, since 1995, has been quoted at news events across the country at least 100 times, according to an Associated Press memo. [more inside]
Aningaaq is a short companion piece to Gravity, written and directed by Gravity co-writer Jonas Cuaron.
Terry Gilliam fans are patiently waiting for the release of "The Zero Theorem", his first film in four years. In the meantime, let's go back thirty years ago to the moment that Gilliam really found his footing as a director in between the filming of "Time Bandits" and "Brazil". It all concerns a bunch of elderly accountants... [more inside]
Banjo Gyro, one of the weirder videos on YouTube, is a short film about three restaurant employees—Sammy, Bill, and Finger—who hunt demons. Sort of like Invader Zim meets David Lynch's "sitcom" Rabbits.
In a not too distant future, societies of all countries come to rely on an intricate network of artificial intelligence devices designed to bring efficacy to man's life. Yet, man continues to devour himself in useless wars. A strong political hierarchy now divides all powers into three factions, and A.I. devices rapidly gain ground as efficiency becomes a priority. As social revolts grow worse everyday, authorities seek ways to control their citizens. They decide to carry out a series of tests that will determine not only whether some crucial powers can be transferred to non human entities, but also whether man is ready to yield those powers. The world has become a cell for all man and women, who withstand and endure their lives, rather than living them. Machines might have found a solution. From now on, you are set free. [more inside]
"To launch a science-fiction anthology series is to dare comparisons with The Twilight Zone. Happily, Welcome to Paradox is not unworthy to be mentioned in the same sentence as Rod Serling's classic show. The weekly dramas, all based on short stories, are set in Betaville [a nod to Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 dystopian sci-fi/noir film, Alphaville], a future city filled with ultrahigh technology and perennial human unhappiness.... Bottom Line: Makes the future look intriguing." The Sci-Fi channel only produced 13 episodes (archived view of their site; ep list on Wikipedia), letting the series end with one season. The show was only released on DVD in Australia, which now seems to be out of print. But fear not! You can watch the episodes on YouTube in a convenient playlist, or with separate episodes linked below the fold. [more inside]
Let's think back to the 1960s, when more people were writing surreal, paranoid themes. Now place Jim Henson in that context, and you get Time Piece (YouTube, excerpt; behind the scenes clip, YT). Add in collaboration with writer (and puppeteer) Jerry Juhl and you have The Cube (YT, full film), as well as the setting for the hypnagogic story of a man pursued in the desert, called Tale of Sand. This was first written up as a screenplay and pitched as a movie in the late 1960s, then revised and re-pitched in 1974. But no one bit, so the screenplay was shelved, and then Jim gained fame for Sesame Street and The Muppets. Elements of Tale of Sand appeared in The Muppet Movie (YT, full movie) and other places since then, but the work was largely unseen and forgotten. Jump ahead three decades, and the Henson Company teams up with Archaia, first releasing Fraggle Rock and Dark Crystal comics, then digging in the Henson Company vault to bring Tale of Sand to light with cartoonist Ramón Pérez. You can see a preview of the graphic novel on Graphicly (including a nice dynamic display) and Amazon (static images, but more pages in the preview). [more inside]
Alice Munro Puts Down Her Pen to Let the World In: Accepting a literary prize in Toronto last month, Alice Munro, the acclaimed short-story writer — “our Chekhov,” as Cynthia Ozick has called her — winner of the Man Booker International Prize and just about every important North American literary award for which she is eligible, told a newspaper interviewer, “I’m probably not going to write anymore.”
Dr. Easy is a beautifully produced dark sci-fi short based on the story The Red Men. It follows a medical robot trying to help an armed and wounded man before the police are sent in. [via | SFW but may have triggers]
Toute la mémoire du monde (1956: 21 minutes) is a remarkably lovely documentary short by Alain Resnais about the Bibliothèque nationale de France in the age of print. Via The Funambulist. [more inside]
Three young filmmakers from Melbourne, Australia were set to make a short film on the serenity of fly fishing, focusing on a man named Phipps who lived on a lake in central Tasmania. Once they met Phipps, however, that all changed. Here is a glimpse into Phipps' beautiful, quiet world. [more inside]
Partysaurus Rex, a new animated short from Pixar, in which we join the characters from Toy Story for an ecstatic bathtime rave (poster). The short débuted ahead of ("opened for") Finding Nemo 3D in September 2012, and features an original soundtrack by electronic musician BT. [more inside]
Strange Oaks is the latest teaser trailer from the Barcelona-based Headless Productions (and friends), this time about a retirement community for witches. The Headless Productions Vimeo account has 13 more teasers and trailers, mostly featuring hand-drawn animation, some of which has since made its way into full movies. [more inside]
Sometimes you want to be somber, or serious, or just enjoy some peace and quiet. And in some of those instances, you get jazz that nobody asked for. Jazz that just won't die. [more inside]
Paths of Hate is a highly stylized Polish CGI animated short movie which to an extent mimics traditional cel animation, but goes far beyond what's practically possible with traditional techniques. It also has some excellent, high-intensity aerial combat. Possibly NSFW for some light blood and gore.
IDEM PARIS is a new short documentary film by David Lynch on the art of lithography. Read Lynch's intro to the piece.
New York Biotopes deals with abstract plants and creatures, which change their forms because of insufficient living space and adapt themselves to the surroundings of the metropolis New York City. Set to the music of Man Mantis. More videos from Lena Steinkühler on her Vimeo channel.
"You may find my actions extreme, but for a crew of sufficient numbers, if a suitable destination could be found, no return destination would be needed. Therefore, I have had to improvise, with our ship, with our crew." The goal was to make a short sci-fi film, but without CGI, greenscreens, or other digital trickery, instead relying on camera tricks, miniature photography, and stop-animation. And now it is done: C 299,792 km/s [more inside]
Seven For A Secret - an anonymous fanfic author creates seven unhappy ( or at least, unconventional ) endings for Disney Princesses by placing them in proper historical, mythological, or thematic context.
"...the first decade of the 21st century can be viewed as a singularly male-dominated era in American cinema."
New York Times Magazine "Hollywood Issue": Hollywood’s Year of Heroine Worship. Accompanied by an online web series of 13 original, short films: Wide Awake, each starring an actress whose performance helped 'define the year in film.' [more inside]
The Maker. A gorgeous short stop-motion animation about a creature who has only one important mission (SLYT) [more inside]
Short film by Khalil Joseph Song by Flying Lotus, Film by Khalil Joseph. Very violent images, but beautiful all at the same time.
Director and/or star of many of the greatest films ever made including The Great Dictator (2:05:16) [Globe scene and the eternally goosebump providing Final speech], The Immigrant (20:01), The Gold Rush (1:11:49), City Lights (1:22:40), Modern Times (1:27:01), and Monsieur Verdoux (1:59:03), Charlie Chaplin's movies have entered the public domain in most countries. Below the fold is an annotated list of all 82 of his official short and feature films in chronological order, as well as several more, with links to where you can watch them; it's not like you had work to do right? [more inside]
The short documentary Always A Fire (vimeo) "details Chad's incredible rehabilitation and recovery from the horrific accident that nearly cost him his life. Comprised of intimate interviews with Chad and his trainers, as well as never-before-seen footage of his long road to recovery, the film provides an unflinching view of an elite athlete facing unimaginable tragedy and refusing to submit." [via mefi projects]
Le Miroir is the story of a life as reflected in the bathroom mirror. It's a lovely contemplation on staying in place while traveling through the experience of growing older. [via] [direct video link]
A robotic disagreement turns serious when they drop the bass.
Goodbye, Thursday productivity. Hello, 10 wonderful short films based on famous short stories.
A chance of a lifetime for aspiring filmmakers: Kevin Spacey stars in three scripts from the Jameson-sponsored First Shot contest. In the phenomenal The Ventriloquist a ventriloquist and his dummy are having a hard time relating to each other and humanity; in The Envelope, a Russian man's hobby fulfills his purpose; and in Spirit of a Denture a mild-mannered dentist faces off with a difficult patient.
Sci-Fi-London put on another 48 hour film challenge this year, challenging film teams to make a short based around a given title, a snippet of dialogue, a short list of props, and an optional "scientific" theme. After two days in April, over 380 shorts had been made, and the winners have now been announced and and their short films posted on Sci-Fi-London's Vimeo account. 17 more shorts below the break. [more inside]
Animation veteran Steve Moore recently posted a short from the archives of Disney TV Animation, written by Dan O’Shannon, narrated by Garrison Keillor, and voiced by Mia Farrow, Michael Richards, June Foray, and Adam West, all set to a jazz soundtrack. Take 15 minutes and watch Redux Riding Hood. Steve tells the story of the short on his blog. (Via Cartoon Brew)
The Eagleman Stag is the 2011 BAFTA award winning Royal College of Art thesis film of director/writer Mikey Please. It's mostly made out of some strange white stuff, found in the back of a stress cushion.