December 21, 2013

toby's christmas miracle!

by sven at 7:23 pm

click on image to play film (3:35min - 12.4 MB)

A Scarlet Star Studios Christmas tradition…

The classic musical comedy which has delighted and enraptured children around the world...

Featuring the most beloved five-armed sock creature of all time: Toby!

...It's TOBY'S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!


(Also available on YouTube.)

posted by sven | permalink | comments (0) | categories: toby

October 31, 2013

happy halloween from scarlet star studios!

by sven at 10:30 am

posted by sven | permalink | comments (0) | categories: miscellany

October 25, 2013

event review: best of the 2013 nw animation fest

by sven at 4:43 pm

Our Best of the 2013 NW Animation Fest event took place on Saturday Sept 7 at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon. It repeated one week later on Sept 14 at the Bijou Metro in Eugene. Here's a short review-in-photos that I created for the NWAF Facebook page.

1. We're proud to have been up on the Hollywood Theatre's beautiful new marquee just two days after the grand unveiling ceremony.


2. Our wonderful volunteer team: (front) Hannah Viera, Naomi Fish, Sven Bonnichsen, Samantha McKinney; (rear) Danie West, Brad Bolchunos, Gretchin Lair, Nick Nall. Not pictured: Patrick Neary.


3. Fest director Sven Bonnichsen orients event staff before the evening show.


4. The audience begins to arrive.


5. Naomi Fish helps direct people as they arrive for the show.


6. The Hollywood Theatre begins to fill up.


7. Assistant director & lobby leader Gretchin Lair answers questions at the info table alongside Danie West.


8. Welcome! I'm so glad you could make it!


9. The Hollywood Theatre's popcorn has been voted the best movie popcorn in the city. (Seriously.) The line for concessions stretches down the hall.


10. The auditorium doors open, and folks begin finding their seats.


11. Hannah Viera and Brad Bolchunos hand out programs at the first door.


12. Volunteers Hannah Viera and Brad Bolchunos.


13. Nick Nall and Samantha McKinney hand out programs at the auditorium's second door.


14. Thank you to our sponsors and supporters, the Hollywood Theatre, Oregon Film, Morel Ink, ADi, Oregon Media Production Association, Wild Portland, Jupiter Hotel, the Portland Mercury & Voodoo Doughnuts.


15. There were over 200 people in the audience this night.


16. Reading through the program.


17. Welcome to the Best of the 2014 Northwest Animation Festival!


18. Someday we're going to host an event that's so crowded, people will even sit in the front row!


19. The background image is from the film "A Knock on My Door," by San Jose professor and all-around animation mensch, David Chai.


20. The show you are about to see was boiled down from the program of 155 international films that we screened this past May.


21. "Now, let's watch some films!"


22. Our audience as the lights are just about to go down for the show...


23. Lobby life: hanging out talking about your favorite films after the show has ended.


24. Hanging out in the lobby post-show.


25. It's time to head over to the Moon & Sixpence for drinks and staying up much too late.


26. Exiting the auditorium.


27. The Hollywood Theatre's new marquee, lit up at night.


28. Glittering palace of film.


29. Thanks to our wonderful hosts at the Hollywood Theatre!


30. The next full-scale Northwest Animation Festival is scheduled for
May 15-18, 2014... See you then!

posted by sven | permalink | comments (0) | categories: nw animation festival

July 14, 2013

women in animation 2013

by sven at 1:56 pm

While putting films in sequence for this year's NW Animation Fest, I was struck by the scarcity of female characters. Because gender interests me, I decided to throw together some quick statistics to study what's going on.

My data set consists of the 154 films that were selected for screening at our 2013 festival. Here's what I found:

BYLINE
(In the program, who did we list on the film's "created by" line?)
66% Male
19% Female
15% both / name of studio only

GENDER OF FILM'S PROTAGONIST
66% Male
20% Female
14% none (abstract or unidentifiable)

If we stopped there, you might guess that men exclusively make films about men, and women make films about women. But there's actually a stronger bias at work.

MALE BYLINES
72% Male protagonist
12% Female protagonist
17% abstract, or gender of protagonist is unidentifiable

FEMALE BYLINES
41% Male protagonist
48% Female protagonist
10% abstract, or gender of protagonist is unidentifiable

GROUP BYLINES
(creators of more than one gender listed, or name of studio only)
83% Male protagonist
13% Female protagonist
4% abstract, or gender of protagonist is unidentifiable

What I see here is that when women make a film, they create female protagonists about 1/2 the time. But when men make films, they create male protagonists about 3/4 the time. Group projects feature male protagonists about 4/5 the time.

It seems intuitive that artists would have a bias toward creating protagonists that look like themselves. But this is not really the case. Women seem to have a fairly egalitarian interest in both men and women. Men, in contrast, tend to take a male-identified point of view.

posted by sven | permalink | comments (0) | categories: nw animation festival, writing

June 19, 2013

scenes from the 2013 nw animation fest: eugene

by sven at 11:57 pm

This post is the final installment in a 4 part photo series covering this year's Northwest Animation Festival. Gretchin and I drove down to Eugene to give all 154 films a second screening at the Bijou Art Cinemas on May 31 - June 2. Here's some of what we saw there.

1. Arriving at the Bijou Art Cinemas... Our first time doing the full three-day festival in another city!


2. Opening night at the Bijou Art Cinemas. That's us listed at the bottom of the marquee.


3. Before becoming a home for indie films, the Bijou Art Cinemas building was formerly a church — then a mortuary. Can you tell?


4. our audience begins to arrive


5. Gretchin staffs the info table


6. happy to see folks getting snacks before heading into the auditorium


7. lobby life: audience members page through the program while waiting for the auditorium doors to open


8. lobby life: "Welcome to the Northwest Animation Festival! Would you like a program?"


9. the Animation Hotline Hotspot came with us down to Euguene


10. folks trying out the Animation Hotspot


11. opening address on Saturday Afternoon: "Welcome to the Northwest Animation Festival!"


12. Thanks to everyone who came out to see animation on a gorgeous sunny day!


13. the glow of the screen puts a nimbus of light around every head


14. view of our Sunday Night audience from the balcony


15. The Bijou Art Cinemas just installed a new digital projector, funded with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Light shone from the lens for the first time barely an hour before our opening screening! We're proud that NW Animation Fest got to be the first event to use the new equipment... Congrats to the Bijou!


16. exiting the auditorium for an intermission


17. lobby life: sipping a beer, going out into the sunny courtyard, watching the Animation Hotline video loop, waiting to buy concessions


18. lobby life: popcorn gets spilled... that fellow coming down the hall was kind-spirited and stooped to help pick it up before staff could even get there


19. Cinema Studies student Peri Moritz shares a video


20. "Which film was that?" — "It was the one where..."


21. transfixed by the magic Oreo


22. beer and the Animation Hotline


23. Those two? They're deciding what films were their favorites. They're about to come over and fill out a survey.


24. Filling out surveys at the info table. "Help us decide what goes in the Best of the Fest show. Mark as many films as you like!"


25. heading back into the auditorium, popcorn in hand


26. So many conversations! This gentleman is a novelist, so we compared the unique challenges of two art forms: writing and animation.


27. a very animated conversation


28. a happy crowd excitedly discussing the films on Sunday night


29. Thanks so much to the wonderful Bijou staff: Laurie, Nick, Julie and Michelle. (Also Kegan, Steve, Ashley and Joshua!)


30. We'll definitely be back in Eugene next year... And perhaps even sooner, at the Eugene Celebration!

posted by sven | permalink | comments (0) | categories: nw animation festival

scenes from the 2013 nw animation fest: portland - sunday

by sven at 10:35 pm

This year I'm letting photos tell the story of what happened at the NW Animation Fest. Here's part 3 of a 4 part series, which revisits the final day of our Portland show (Sunday, May 19).

1. "Meet the Animators," Sunday Afternoon at the Hollywood Theatre


2. interviewing some of the attending filmmakers


3. Magdalena Osinska, who flew in from the UK, discusses her film "Spirits of the Piano"


4. David Chai — from San Jose, California — discusses his film "A Knock on my Door"


5. Justin Connolly, who drove up from Los Angeles, discusses his film "Dance for Your Life, Puny Human"


6. native Portlandian Rob Shaw discusses the making of "Zero Rats"


7. Dave and Justin


8. Justin discusses the technical challenges involved in making a stop-motion robot dance-off


9. a small but engaged audience for this event


10. benefits of getting up early to meet the animators: free Voodoo Doughnuts for all!


11. me and filmmaker Magdalena Osinska ("Spirits of the Piano")


12. our volunteer team for Sunday's "Strange & Sexy" film block: (front) Temris Ridge, Becky Steele, Serin Hale, Cecilia Nguyen; (back) Stephen Couchman, Danie West, Thom May, Sven Bonnichsen, Gretchin Lair


13. step right up, getchyer tickets...


14. lobby life: answering questions at the festival info table


15. two of our marvelous ushers: Becky Steele and Danie West


16. walk down the aisle and find yourself a seat


17. getting settled in for a full afternoon of films


18. welcoming the Sunday Afternoon audience


19. Interviewing a being from another galaxy, made of pure energy. We warned everyone not to sit in the front row, to avoid the risk of being vaporized.


20. Ready to watch some films?


21. the glow of the screen fills the Hollywood Theatre's main auditorium


22. intermission: time to grab some popcorn


23. a sunny day shines in through the lobby doors


24. theatre manager Connor Kirkwood serves up the best popcorn in Portland


25. Serin Hale thanks you for turning in your survey


26. freebie buttons for survey respondents — featuring an image from the film "Butterflies" by Isabel Peppard & Warwick Burton


27. enjoying the Animation Hotline Hotspot


28. this year we worked with New York animator Dustin Grella to bring the Animation Hotline Hotspot out to Oregon


29. staffing the festival info table, Temris and Gretchin are silhouted by the waning afternoon light


30. super-volunteer Temris Ridge has helped out with every NW Animation Fest event since our inception


31. our loyal photographer, Carly J. Cais, takes advantage of the dinnertime break to check out the Animation Hotline video loop


32. lobby life: a lively crowd chatting about films during the festival's final intermission


33. I take a moment to introduce super-volunteer Stephen Couchman, organizer of the Rose City Steampunk Film Festival and GearCon


34. Thank you for coming!


35. Thanks to everyone who came together for the 2013 Northwest Animation Festival!

posted by sven | permalink | comments (0) | categories: nw animation festival

June 18, 2013

scenes from the 2013 nw animation fest: portland - saturday

by sven at 1:25 am

Usually I write a long article for each NW Animation Festival, reviewing what happened moment-by-moment. This year I've decided to let photos tell the story. Here's part 2 of a 4 part series, which revisits the events of Saturday, May 18.

1. the Hollywood Theatre marquee on day 2


2. introducing our volunteer team to one another and giving instructions for the afternoon


3. the line forms for our afternoon All Ages show


4. that moment of anticipation as the door first opens...


5. the lobby begins to fill


6. Ingrid Carlson's son gets a butterfly girl button


7. Super-volunteer Serin Hale staffs the guest list table. She and Stephen Couchman took care of the lobby the entire weekend!


8. find yourself a seat


9. the auditorium starts to fill up for the All Ages show


10. there's still time to get some popcorn


11. welcoming the audience


12. the trick to avoiding stage fright is to imagine that everyone in the audience is wearing pants


13. sit back and enjoy the show


14. recent graduates from the Art Institute of Portland talk about their work on the film "Bubbles"


15. lobby life: grab a size of pizza from the "Pie Hole," chat about the films, fill out a survey


16. Serin and Gretchin take completed surveys and hand out free butterfly girl buttons as thanks


17. The boy in the orange shirt? His mother says that he's made animated films and wants to work in animation when he's older. (Awesome!)


18. watching Animation Hotline videos in the Hollywood Theatre lobby


19. The break between our afternoon and evening shows... Hanging out, waiting for the pizza to arrive.


20. Kurtis Hough sets up his camera to do some time-lapse photography in the lobby as the evening show gets underway


21. folks purchasing tickets for the Saturday Night show


22. lobby life: buying tickets and popcorn and chatting with filmmakers


23. welcome to the second night of the 2013 Northwest Animation Festival


24. introducing the first film of the night: the charming 2013 Oscar nominee, "Head Over Heels"


25. interviewing Rob Shaw, director of the Portlandia skit, "Zero Rats"


26. animator Justin Connolly discusses his film, "Dance for Your Life, Puny Human"


27. animator David Chai discusses his film, "A Knock on My Door"


28. while he was on stage, David pulled out his pocket camera and got a shot of me and the Saturday Night audience


29. exiting the auditorium


30. turning in surveys, walking a few blocks down the street to Tony Starlight's


31. Patrick Coan performs "New Key of the Ancient Light" at Tony Starlight's Supperclub & Lounge


32. using custom-built software, Patrick improvises music on his piano, which then creates animation in real time on the projection screen


33. the feedback loop of improvisation: from the screen to Patrick's fingers and back again


34. an image from "New Key of the Ancient Light"


35. our Saturday Afternoon team: (front) Serin Hale, Cecilia Nguyen, Thom May; (back) Christina Beard, Becky Steele, Sven Bonnichsen, Gretchin Lair, Stephen Couchman


36. our Saturday Night team: (front) Serin Hale, Becky Steele, Becky Hawkins; (back) Naomi Fish, Christina Beard, Sven Bonnichsen, Gretchin Lair, Thom May, Stephen Couchman

posted by sven | permalink | comments (0) | categories: nw animation festival