New sources of funding and graduates from innovative animation courses put the British animation industry on top of the world. This selection of some of the key highlights packs a sizable punch. It takes the audience out for a night on the tiles, on a journey into the soul, and a visit to the funfair. It features animated battles big and small, military experiments, Billy Bunter, and the domestication of a sizeable British bulldog. And if that seems a lot to deal with, don’t worry there are a couple of lively dance breaks along the way.
UK 1983-1998 Various 62m
Night Club (Jonathan Hodgson, 1983) A vicarious night out lived through an animated sketchbook, laid down to a hypnotic post-punk beat performed by the filmmaker himself. A boiling, colourful study of human behaviour in the most social of situations revealing a surprising loneliness in many of the crowd.
Black Dog (Alison De Vere, 1987) A true masterpiece from a female animator, designer and artist with over three decades in the industry. It’s a journey into the soul of a life well lived and a work of profound depth and beauty.
Feet of Song (Erica Russell, 1988) African dance and rhythms are abstracted, animated and elevated into a colourful carnival of geometry. A musical poster of graphical pleasure.
Clothes (Osbert Parker, 1988) Take your partner by the hand, or perhaps the glove or the sleeve, as clothes pick themselves up and strut their stuff in this lively short. Originally edited on analogue video this new version goes back to the original film giving an already vibrant work a new lease of life.
Manipulation (Daniel Greaves, 1991) Oscar-winning excellence as the hand of the artist puts his unfortunate creation through his paces in this tour de force of animated interplay.
Kings of Siam (Ged Haney, 1992) All the fun of the fair, as a pair of conjoined twins wrestle with their sideshow reality, their dreams of fame, and their relationship with each other. Using the bold colours and thick lines of fairground art it’s a brash, physical, edgy delight that took seven years to make.
Britannia (Joanna Quinn, 1993) A concise history of the British Empire sees the British bulldog let off the leash before being brought to heel. Few artists wield a pencil with as much skill as Joanna Quinn, but to her remarkable skills as an animator she adds pitch perfect political satire in a short that earned her the Leonardo da Vinci International Art Award.
Queen's Monastery (Emma Calder, 1998) An acrobat returns from the military to the woman who loves him, but comes back a changed man. Her fantasies about the man he used to be puts the solider in conflict with his former self. Love and war played out to the music of Leoš Janáček in a strikingly unique watercolour style.