Sunday, April 26, 2009

Contact - Контакт

Many years ago I saw an animation that featured a haunting tune and an outdoor setting. The visuals were excellent and it undoubtedly fuelled my desire to get into animation in a later life.

Following my first experiments with animation back in college, I've wanted to track down that film and find out what it was. My first step of success what when I was enthusing about the film to a friend and hummed the tune to them. "Sounds like the Godfather tune" they said. I found references to those films and discovered that the music was composed by Nino Rota. That year I was lucky enough to get a copy of the sound track from my (then to be) wife.

I recently thought to ask the people on the Imagine Animation forum if they knew of a film that fitted the description. A few days later, I got a reply via Twitter that it could be the film "Contact" (Контакт) by Vladimir Tarasov, made in 1978. This was described as featuring music (”Godfather Theme”) by Nino Rota with permission. A further search revealed a clip on YouTube.

Watching this, it fitted the picture perfectly, it was made at the right time, had the tune, the outdoor setting and quality animation. It made the official selection at both the Lillle and Triest festivals in 1979 so it's good to know that it's not just me that thinks it's great.

My next challenge is to get to watch the full version of the film. I've discovered that it's on the Masters of Russian Animation Volume 2 collection of DVDs. The only copy I've seen would be an American format. For me this is one of my big gripes with regional encoding of DVDs. Yes, it allows the distributors to control the release of the DVDs into the market but it also stops me playing rare films only released in the USA on a UK player, 10 or 15 years later. Luckily I've got a region unlocked DVD player on my PC so it could be played there but there have been suggestions that such unlocking should be outlawed.

Spike's comments on the director and film.
"Vladimir Tarasov, who became interested in science fiction as a child, reading western writers H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, and Andrei Norton, as well as Russia's Kir Bulchov."

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Playboy Animation Competition

Playboy Animation Competition

"Playboy promises a tasty $10,000 to someone who blows us away with an animation that out-entertains the competition. Now it's your chance to animate your way into history by proving to us that you have created the next South Park, Family Guy or Robot Chicken. One grand prize winner grabs the cash. The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2009, so get to work and come up with something brilliant!"

Thank to Frank from Animation Magazine for finding this one.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Peter and the Wolf with Live Orchestra - 8th May

Friday 8 May 2009, 7pm at Royal Festival Hall

The evening begins at 7pm with the world premiere of The Lost Town of Switez, a new animated film from the same creators of Peter and the Wolf, set to an original score by Russian composer Irina Bogdanovich.

Peter and the Wolf starts at 7.25pm. There is a relaxed open-door policy throughout the performance, and food and drink are allowed in the auditorium. The evening finishes between 8.30pm and 9pm.