Monday, 14 June 2010

Film & Strip: animation, comics, and opinions

Here are some articles that were printed in a booklet accompanying the 1985 Film & Strip exhibition held at Kettle's Yard in Cambridge The exhibition, set up by Sheena Wagstaff and organised in part by the Cambridge Animation Festival, examined the relationship between British animation and comic strips.

Reproduced below are an introduction by curator Hilary Gresty, a potted history of comics and animation by Sheena Wagstaff, and an opinion piece by animation director Derek Hayes.

Hayes' article (titled "Drawing the Line at Flopsy Bunnies") is the most interesting. It's a provocative piece, calling for the animation community to form a bridge between the ghettoised independent animation of the arthouses and the dumbed-down animation of the mainstream, pointing out that the medium of comics have already made headway in that direction. In the process the article takes potshots at contemporary films Heavy Metal and Nicole van Goethem's award-winning A Greek Tragedy while (with some reservations) praising the Canadian feature Rock & Rule; it also touches on subjects such as the place of animated films in the era of special effects, the relevance of early animation to contemporary work, 2000AD comics, the cutting of the Eady Levy, the recent arrival of Channel 4, and Hayes' own work in collaboration with Phil Austin (namely, The Victor).

The article is dated in some ways, but in others still relevant. It also sheds interesting light on the thinking behind Hayes and Austin's films.

(Incidentally, the illustration on the first page is the work of Hunt Emerson.)

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