Emru Townsend’s Bone Marrow Drive. It’s easy – it’s just a swab.

Help save a life. Who could say no? Anyone who knows me will have heard me rave about my animation super hero, Emru Townsend, editor extraordinaire of Frames Per Second Magazine. which IMHO is one of the net’s best animation zine/blogs. You’ve heard me extol his virtues in running FPS, be entertained by his diverse pod casts, swoon at his dulcet tones and revere his skills at holding down a heavy hitting job, keep a young family happy, and in his spare time chair the SIGGRAPH 2008 Computer Animation Festival. I am unashamedly one of his greatest fans. So, it won’t come as any surprise to you if I make this a very personal appeal to your higher selves.

Emru has Leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant – not sometime in the future – but now. His nearest and dearest are sadly not a match so he is relying on outside donors. We are asking you to help us encourage members of the animation community and others to join a bone marrow registry. You – or someone you know – may be the match Emru is hoping for.
Because tissue types are inherited, patients are more likely to match someone from their own race or ethnicity. As an Afro-Caribbean, Emru Townsend will be most likely to match other donors of African or Caribbean decent. So please urge anyone in your circle with this racial background to participate – send them this info in an email.You will be added to the registry and hopefully you will be a match for someone who needs your donation. On any given day, more than 6,000 men, women and children are searching the National Marrow Donor Program Registry for a life-saving donor like you. These patients have leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases that can be treated by a bone marrow or cord blood transplant. For many of these patients, a transplant may be the best and only hope of a cure.

It’s easy. It’s just a swab. In the US, registering is as easy as filling out a form, signing your name to make a commitment, and swabbing your mouth 4 times. Go to this URL, sign up on-line and receive a swab kit in the mail, or check the dates and addresses of the swab collections in your area: http://www.marrow.org/HELP/Join_the_Donor_Registry/index.html. Follow along in the adventures of Emru at: http://www.healemru.com/

Passion in Paris for LFC’s TODAY a la Festival NEMO

Could anything make your heart race more than Paris in the spring? Try animation + Paris + spring + being on the same bill of fare with director, Peter Greenaway. And while I’m at it, try being part of a festival that invites controversy by taking a stand against the lowest common denominator and openly stating that they will show only the best of the highest quality. Now add a true egalitarian splash by opening the festival up to all for free. Viva La France! Viva Festival NEMO!

Festival NEMO takes place in Paris and Issey-les-Moulineaux, France. Here you can see the best of French and International cinema and animation. For their 10th anniversary year, selections were purposefully chosen to give a lasting memory of what is most precious to cineastes – beautiful work of extraordinary quality, shown in optimal conditions. Festival Directeur, Gilles Alverez, states with passionate sentiments indeed, that:

“This is NEMO’s answer to the crumbling values of our art form by social networking sites like Facebook and the generalization of You Tube.”

NEMO showcases multimedia presentations and animations along with music videos and documentaries on such luminaries as Scott Walker, The Smiths, Sigur Ros, Holy Etienne, Daniel Johnston, John Cage, and Phillip Glass. Catch audio visual performances from Pageantry + Transforma, Ryoichi Kurokawa, Quayola, Adriaan Lokman, Otolab, Mikomikona, Mylicon and Scanner + TeZ as part of the Cinema Vivant!  A feast for the senses – let your passion rule.

TODAY screens as part of the Panorama International playing in Paris on Sun. April 12th at Axes Biarritz Salle de cinema and in Issey-les-Moulineaux, on Wed. April 18th at Le Cube.

Festival NEMO – Le Rendez-Vous Multimedia D’Arcadi. Panorama International des Nouvelles Images Experimentales, Cinema et Animations Innovants. April 10 – April 20.

Little Fluffy Clouds wins a Silver Creativity Award for TODAY

The colorful studio’s short, TODAY, commissioned by Sundance for their Billy Collins Action Poetry series, has won a silver Creativity Award in the Consumer TV category. With more than 2700 entries from 37 countries, judges declared that:

“The winning entries stand out because of their ambition, strong communication, and excellent design.”

The 400-page Creativity Awards Annual, is a veritable bible of excellent design and is published by Harper and Collins.

This Sundance Channel promotional film, commissioned in association with JWT NYC, was directed by Little Fluffy Clouds’ creative team, Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries. The film is an animated poem and is written by US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. The poem is from his Nine Horses collection. Mr. Collins narrates the animation.

FPS MAGAZINE podcasts with Little Fluffy Clouds

There’s no better on-line animation magazine than Frames Per Second. Edited by the inimitable, Emru Townsend, who somehow manages to produce a superb on-line zine, blog and related podcasts, hold down a heavy hitting job at Autodesk, keep a young family happy and amused and in his spare time chair SIGGRAPH’s Computer Animation Festival. … Am I impressed? You bet your sweet life I am. Am I a fan? Hell, yes!

Check out the dulcet tones of Mr. Townsend and hear my partner, Jerry van de Beek and I, rattle on about animation, production and life as lived in a small indie animation studio.  It was a lot of inspirational fun being interviewed by this marvel of modern radio. I may just start podcasting myself :°)


TODAY Screens at Landmark as part of SFIAF

The San Francisco Film Society describes animation as being:

“Currently one of the most fertile, creative and productive forms in cinema and television… animation occupies a unique point between artistic, experimental, commercial and industrial media, ranging from the latest visual FX-based arthouse films to family-friendly cartoons.”

Such is the clarion call to join the San Francisco International Animation Festival, and us, in a lively and surprising animation celebration screening at San Francisco’s Landmark Theater.

TODAY, a Sundance Channel promotional film commissioned in association with JWT NYC as part of their, Billy Collins Animated Poetry series, was directed by Little Fluffy Clouds creative team, Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries. The film is an animated poem written by US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, who narrates the piece.

Little Fluffy Clouds Sundance short, TODAY, screens  as part of the festival’s, Makers Dozen. This lively festival can be seen at the Embarcadero Center Cinema in San Francisco.

www.sffs.org for details.

Little Fluffy Clouds, TODAY, shows at The Art of Digital Show

Little Fluffy Clouds, Sundance studio short, TODAY, is one of the innovative pieces showing at, The Art of Digital Show, a unique international exhibition featuring all forms of digital art. The public is invited to the Opening Reception Gala and Awards Ceremony on October 6th at the Lyceum Theater Gallery, in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. The Art of Digital Show runs through November.

Neal Benezra, director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), fielded 104 pieces to be exhibited from 2796 entries submitted by artists representing 40 countries. Mr. Benezra selected works which embody imagination, original vision, sophistication, message, content, creativity and technical skill. The show includes 83 fine art pieces, 18 video art pieces, a 3D modeled sculpture, a digitally designed textile piece, and an amazing interactive piece – all of which create a distinct exhibition environment.

“Digital artists are pushing the boundaries and more directly expressing what is in their imagination than in any other art medium. Our great love of this art form drives us to create a truly excellent presentation of digital art from around the world. Our goal is to elevate and promote digital art and to provide substantial benefits to the exhibiting artists.”

~ Steven Churchill, curator and founder of the event.

An estimated 1500 people, including most of the exhibiting artists, will attend the opening gala, and 20,000 people are expected to view The Art of Digital Show during the five-week run. A free 72-page show catalog will be available during the exhibit, featuring all of the selected images.

TODAY, is a Sundance Channel promotional film commissioned in association with ad agency, JWT NYC, as part of their, Billy Collins Animated Poetry series. It was directed by Little Fluffy Clouds‘ creative team, Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries. The film is an animated poem. It is taken from the collection, Nine Horses, written by US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. Mr. Collins narrates the film.

See: http://www.artofdigitalshow.com for details.

Win Big at the Barnyard in American Idol Auditions for CO Lottery

In a candid, behind-the-scenes look at the barnyard American Idol auditions for TV, seven barnyard characters try their luck, and win – or lose – in a big way. The nonchalant Goat sweeps past us, the broken hearted Cow sobs at the door, Speak to the hand!, gestures the disappointed Duck, leaving us in no uncertain terms about how he feels.

But four lucky critters – the Bunny, the Rooster, the Prairie Dog and the Pig – make it on to the Colorado Lottery scratch card. And they jump, strut, scoot and fly before their eager friends and family, captured by the exit camera. In, AUDITIONS, it’s ee-i-ee-i-dough indeed!

AUDITIONS was created by Little Fluffy Clouds director, Jerry van de Beek, using the studio’s now signature 2D/3D combination of Autodesk Maya with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. After Effects was used to composite. Audio completed in Adobe Audition.

LFC’s Betsy de Fries presents Adobe Design Achievement Award

On Thursday evening at the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the Adobe Design Achievement Awards were held. I was most honored to be asked to present the award for best animation. When you are face to face with all those young, hopeful things, sitting together in little groups – daring not to dream but not being able to help it – you’re honestly amazed at the raw talent of it all. Every category chock full of imaginative, interesting, smart thinking projects, by students from all over the world. One of the things I stressed to the students was the need to make, and keep, as many contacts in the industry as they possible could. Also to make the most of this unique moment provided by Adobe. You look at their work and can’t help but feel good about the future of our industry as well as being cheered by the prospect of following them through the course of their careers, which I’m sure will be illustrative.

The three finalists in the animation category, Axel Brotje, representing the Braunschweig University of Art, Johnny Kelly, from The Royal College of Art in London, and Sean Monahan, of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, each produced excellent short films. All were diverse in look and theme, yet each one was arresting, unique, stimulating to the senses and of the highest professional quality. All of these young men have bright futures ahead of them.

Fische und Schiffe by Axel Brotje was the winner. Axel is a charming, unassuming young man from a small town in Germany. He was, I think, fairly blindsided by his win which made it all the more poignant. Making the most of this opportunity to be here in California, he got up early the next morning and made his way to SIGGRAPH.

On a side note, I was impressed by the fact that, for services rendered, Adobe donated 10 licenses to each judge for them to choose a worthy recipient organization. The judges worked extremely hard sifting through thousands of entries from more than 30 countries and made the awards the great success they undoubtedly were.

Take some time to look not only at the animations, now on Adobe’s site, but also at the other categories of this exceptionally interesting competition.

See: http://www.adobe.com/education/adaa/winners//

LFC’s TODAY twinkles under the stars at the Coyote Film Festival

The Coyote Film Festival is Lake County, California’s “only voice for independent film”. This small festival-that-could, shows main features, short films, and animations, one weekend a month from June through September.

Enjoy a unique cultural experience under the stars at the beautiful Langtry Estate and Vineyards, once the home of the renowned Guenoc Winery. Lake County is approximately 2 hours north east of San Francisco, home of the Mayacama mountain range, abundant natural hot springs, bountiful wineries and rocking music festivals.

TODAY, a Sundance Channel promotional film commissioned in association with JWT NYC as part of their, Billy Collins Animated Poetry series, was directed by Little Fluffy Clouds‘ creative team, Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries. The film is an animated poem. It is taken from the, Nine Horses, collection written by US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. Mr.Collins narrates his poem. It screens in rotation nightly throughout the festival.

See: www.EcoArtsofLakeCounty.org.

LFC brings Wisdom to IBM for – What Makes You Special?

An interesting multiple campaign of commercials is harder to achieve than you might think. There needs to be a link that ties them all together – yet each one must be distinct enough to stand out as a sparkling individual in its own right.

In, Leveraging, the latest spot in the IBM campaign – What Makes You Special? – the Rorschach takes a less prominent role as we focus on the notion of a mighty oak, firmly rooted in the ground, pulsating with the life-blood of a company and its vast array of data. Data that, through inspired wisdom, will be guided to its full potential.

The soft muted tones of the original Rorschach spot has given way to a richer canvas of plums, browns and yellows. The fish have made way for a wise owl. Yet still the sweep of camera and depth of perception, speak of a company fully involved with its greatest asset – its people and their ideas.

IBM – What Makes You Special? – is a cross media campaign for all devices including web, TV, Cinema and Print. This series of spots are animated using Adobe Illustrator, After Effects and Autodesk Maya, along with hand-drawn illustrations. Each individual spot is given it’s own visual identity that is also reflected in the original score penned by Trivers Myers Music.