Best of the Fest!

December 4, 2009 by  
Filed under News

“Nagasaki Circus”

The short Bravo!FACT, NFB, BookShorts film directed by Rachel Peters, written by Martin Ewen, puppetted by Lee Zimmerman and composed by Becky Booker

recently made the “Best of the Fest” by audience choice, at the Hamilton Film Festival, in Hamilton Ontario.

Congratulations to all involved!

Bravo!FACT Presents “Nagasaki Circus”

October 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Film Festivaling

Nagasaki Circus can now be seen (minus the beautiful, dancing credits) on Bravo!Fact’s website:

http://watch.bravo.ca/bravofact-presents/season-5/bravofact-presents-ep-505-the-words-the-thing/#clip221015

It was great to see it aired!

Festival Updates

October 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Film Festivaling

First and foremost, I’d like to announce that “Nagasaki Circus” aired on BRAVO last night, Oct. 4th, 2009.  I didn’t, myself, see it, but I’ve been told.   Happy day for “Nagasaki Circus”!  Sad day for the cast and I missing it.

For those wishing to watch “Nagasaki Circus” on the big screen, it’ll be showing up in a couple new venues this fall.

First, check out the Pleasure Dome screening in Toronto.

Robert’s Creek

Performance by Pierre Hébert and Stefan Smulovitz; a sudden change in the consistency of snow (2008) by Peter V. Swendson & Locavore; a survey of recent short animation work from Toronto
Friday, October 23 & Saturday, October 24, 8pm $15/$10 members & students
Loop Studio, Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St. (2 blocks south of St. Clair Ave. W.)
See the link for more details and the other short films to be screened on those nights.
“Nagasaki Circus” has also been accepted to screen at the HAMILTON FILM FESTIVAL, which came as a little surprise, since we forgot to even apply to it this year! The Artistic Director of the festival bought a copy of “Nagasaki Circus” during a busker festival, where I was performing chalk art, and decided to submit it to the festival himself! It was great news to hear.
DETAILS:
HAMILTON FILM FESTIVAL 2009

NOVEMBER 3rd – 8th
THE STAIRCASE THEATRE
27 DUNDURN ST. N, HAMILTON ON
In the mean time, I’ll be back in St. John’s Newfoundland from Oct. 16th to Oct. 25th, moderating a kids’ animation workshop and attending the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival again. Once again I’ve had the privilege of animating the festival’s signature film which leads each screening and I can’t wait to see it in action, as animation doesn’t really exist without an audience to watch it (It’s sort of like a tree falling in a forest).
I’ll be posting that short piece as soon as the 2009 festival campaign is up revealed!

Honey, Honey ~ Feist

March 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Rachel's Thoughts

In my last film, “Nagasaki Circus” I was desiring to push some boundaries.  The film itself isn’t entirely innovative or experimental, but to have called it “animation” might have been.
I like arguing about animation.
Currently, the question, “what is animation?” has become very subjective.
I wanted “Nagasaki Circus” to simply be honest about it.  Although it doesn’t follow the traditional “succession of photographs” or “frame-by-frame” definition, it is indeed, very animated.  “Nagasaki Circus” is animation in real-time.  All the AE compositing involved in the piece might be able to cheat it into the realm of “animation”, thanks to the volume of commercial animation work these days that consists of more compositing than actual “animation”.
Considering the direction of computer generated, interpolated graphics that are widely accepted as “animation” (motion capture being one example), I don’t think we have been able to use such clear-cut and strict definitions for a long time.  On the opposite end of the scale, I’ve enjoyed “animated” films which consist of one frame for the entire scene — illustration, edited, with no motion at all — essentially an entertaining slide show.
“More power to ’em!!” I shout to the heavens!  If it works, so be it!
The term “animation” is subjective, and the fine artists of animation need to be open to redefining if we’re going to continue to evolve and experiment and find new twists and turns and ways to entertain each other.
It has quickly become an argument parallel to “what is art”?  I’ve long since walked away from trying to define it, and decided to simply enjoy it.  That is, after all, what art is meant for.
In fact, I might feel a bit of a failure if someone was able to look at my artwork and easily categorize and label it as a type.
Feist’s music video, “Honey, Honey” sets a great example, and it makes me proud.  It’s a beautifully animated piece, regardless of filming technique.
Where does the line of “animated” end, exactly?  This short film feels like stop-motion and is far better than many.  The average person enjoying it might not even notice that it’s puppeteering, under a live-action camera.  There’s no compositing that I’ve noticed, no trying to pretend it’s any more complicated than it is (apart from the frame chopping, to give it a nice stop-mo feel).  But it’s puppets moving in real time, with hands even playing a roll in the story.
But, you know, I’d love to see it in an animation festival.  And it will probably get into some.  Why?  Because festival directors will like it and option to turn a blind eye to categories.
I’m trying to tear my world wide open here, in my career as a animation filmmaker.  But I’m afraid that too much experimenting will leave me somewhere in-between both worlds, without acceptance into either one.  I feel as if there are still things I’m not allowed to do as an animator.  I became an animator so that anything could be possible.
I’m beginning development on my next short film and I believe it’s going to be mostly classical, partially because I miss drawing, but also because people understand what to make of it.
I hope to never water down my art for the sake of acceptance, but I also need acceptance in order for my art to be seen, and essentially exist.  What is visual art if it isn’t seen? (If a tree falls in the woods…)
I love the animation festival world more than anything and my eyes are always opened to new and wonderful things when I go, but in some ways I think the commercial world is more accepting of experimentation, because they don’t care what category if falls under.  If they like it, they like it.  If it sells, it sells.  But festivals have rules.
Perhaps filmmakers older than me have been through these sorts of questions already and maybe it’s not an issue once one has found themselves and their style and have become comfortable defending it.  But I’m finding there are still a lot of animation purists around who have a hard time opening up to step outside the rules and official categories, when it comes to animated film.
I originally tried to send this note as an email to OIAF’s Artistic Director, Chris Robinson (who once jokingly referred to “Nagasaki Circus” as “cheating”.  I jokingly agreed.  But then I believe the entire art of animation is cheating — Cheating real life.  So should there be such strict rules to cheating??)
Anyway, I found that every email address I tried was a fake.  Hopefully he’ll find his way here through Google alerts when I tag him.  Then maybe some one will start a nice, good fight!

Now, WHO Gave Rachel the Lighter?!

January 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Events, Performing

On Friday, February 13th, (That’s right, Friday the Thirteenth!) Rachel will be joining Zero Gravity Circus in freeze-your-bum-off Toronto to not only perform her comical fire eating, but also to screen her newest short, animated film, “Nagasaki Circus“.  It’s sure to be an eventful night.
As well as extinguishing fire with her FACE, Rachel will also be seen lighting her tongue on fire, her fingers, her lips, and if all goes well… nothing else.

photo courtesy of Irene Duma

photo courtesy of Irene Duma

Side note:  Somewhere within the immeasurable moment that falls between February, Friday 13th and February 14th (Valentine’s day) lies a celebration Rachel created called, “Valenween’s”.  Valenween’s is a celebration for the unlucky in love.  It occurs only every few years, and the next one won’t be upon us until the year 2015 (followed by 2026), so treasure Valentine’s Eve, known this year as “Valenween’s“.

Behind the Scenes of “Nagasaki Circus”

January 5, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Fresh and hot off the youtube!

Watch the story of how the film “Nagasaki Circus” came to be.
Get glimpses of the marionette filming process and hear Martin Ewen’s take on life as a cynical, stilt-walking mime.

Photo Gallery

December 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Photos

Click on the photo once for it to fill the screen, and again in the bottom right-hand corner for its full, high-resolution size.

 

 

  

 

Light Monkey Photography –
lightmonkey.ca

Faunus - digileg faun

Faunus – digileg faun project. Costume by Rachel Peters

Faunus in the City

Faunus in the City

faunus

faunus – unique stilt-walking performance piece

Photo by Evan Young

Photo by Evan Young

Photo by Evan Young

Photo by Evan Young

Photo by Quade Hermann

Photo by Quade Hermann

Rachel and Lurk at the TO Busker Fest

Rachel and Lurk at the TO Busker Fest

Rachel on the set of "Nagasaki Circus"

Rachel on the set of “Nagasaki Circus”

Rachel and Lee, Filming

Rachel and Lee, Filming

The Cuppa Coffee Broadcast Crew during our shoot with Lewis Black, 2007

The Cuppa Coffee Broadcast Crew during our shoot with Lewis Black, 2007 – Photo courtesy of Cuppa Coffee

fire eating show – stage and street (with audience volunteer)

On the street with Sharon "From Canada" Mahoney

Chalking cartoons of Sharon “From Canada” Mahoney

Busking at Toronto Busker Fest

I thought it was one of those "put your face in this place" novelty things... you know... BE the hockey player's crotch.

I thought it was one of those “put your face in this place” novelty cut-outs… you know… BE the hockey player’s crotch.

Angry Baby

Happy Baby

It’s a Moving Stories Holiday

December 2, 2008 by  
Filed under Film Festivaling

I recently attended the lovely holiday party (since we, in the professional PC world no longer say “Chr-r-r-ristmas”) of BookShorts, Moving Stories Film Festival, and Pages Books TINARS (This is Not a Reading Series).  It was the last stop of the nationally touring Moving Stories Film Festival, in which my film screened with a consistently pleasant reaction.
The Hollywood theme gave me an excuse to wear my nice jewelery and pose in a photo with a gun, and the season gave me an excuse to create a new batch of Frankin Toys, to give to producer Judith Keenan.

See the Moving Stories page for more party photos.

Read my instructional post on “How to build a Frankin Toy”.

“Loves it!” Newfoundland and Beyond

October 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Film Festivaling

My [now annual] excursion to St. John’s NFLD was, as usual, a lovely time.  I’ve found that in every trip to The Rock I seem to get tricked into being educated, in some way or another.  This year at the St. John’s Int. Women’s Film Festival was no exception.  From Irish sailors stopping in to port, to films about Holy Heart High School, to dark comedies about Newfoundland life — everything seems to be crammed full of culture.  Everything also seems to be uphill and against the rain.

I ate cod tongue.

I have yet to be screeched in.

I spent Oct. 11th and 12th with seven junior high students, creating animation flipbooks and claymation shorts for the festival-sponsored workshop, “2D in 2Days”.  I was truly impressed by the quality and understanding of animation these guys achieved in only two days and it excited me to try the workshop again.  I had planned it all out two years ago, but this was my first time seeing it through to fruition.

The morning of Sunday, Oct 12th was spent in the CBC radio studio, with Angel Antle, on the Weekend Arts Magazine, talking of workshops, festivals, films (specifically mine, “Nagasaki Circus”) and fire eating.

Then, a little break and on to the festival!  I actually got rather distracted during most of the festival and missed a great deal of the films and workshops I had wanted to attend.  I ended up starting a flipbook of my own, having been inspired by my kids from the previous week, and I hid away for most of the week.

“Nagasaki Circus” screened on the 17th with the Moving Stories Film Festival, within the St. John’s Festival — A festival within a festival.  Like an onion.  Or a parfait.

Luckily, I missed my flight home because I was too busy dancing atop of Signal Hill with filmmaker, Irene Duma, so I was able to attend the closing ceremonies and the after party where I was able to meet people I had hidden from all week and shove some helium balloons down my shirt.  See?  It all works out.
I then garnered a solid three hours of sleep, woke up while the others were still wrapping up the party, and I caught my next flight off that precious stone.

watch Post Festival Depression, chalked full of festival inside jokes!

Here’s what you should expect next:

The Moving Stories Film Festival is trucking onward to screen at the Ottawa Writer’s Festival where many-a-masterclass will occur.

I will be on the panel of one of these masterclasses, “Animating Books: From Page to Screen”

Come to the screening Wednesday, October 22, 7:00 PM, at Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street
Tickets, passes and info: 613.562.1243.
The brilliantly written and puppeted “Nagasaki Circus” will be screened, along with many others, including Paul Quarrington’s “Pavane”, which is a short adaptation of (or alternate angle to) his latest Gillar long-listed novel, “The Ravine”.

The “Animating Books: From Page to Screen” masterclass with Rachel Peters and Gary Thomas, Hosted by Chris Robinson, and Presented with the Ottawa Animation Festival will be held Thursday, October 23, 6:00 PM.

For more information about the Writers’ Festival and all of its events, visit: www.writersfestival.org

I’ve got MY bus ticket.  Do you?

Nagasaki Circus is a Wrap! …and I aint talkin’ a chicken caesar wrap!

October 4, 2008 by  
Filed under Film Festivaling, News

I’ve spent the last year creating 6 minutes of film entitled “Nagasaki Circus”.
My longest work yet (I am a commercial maker) was written by a cynical, stilt-walking mime named Martin “Lurk” Ewen.
Martin, a mime, turned out to be one of the most articulate human beings I’ve ever encountered (innately poetic, no?) and upon reading his short story of the same name, I couldn’t help but want to try to do it justice in film.
The story sat in my mind for close to a year, searching for a style and a medium worthy of its surreal nature, and then I discovered Lee Zimmerman and his hypnotic marionette show.
I believe Lee was the piece of the puzzle that brought us all together.  We all knew each other from the variety performance community, which created a great dynamic.  In variety performance, there’s about a half-a-degree of separation from everyone else.  I love my hippy world.  I’m glad it was able to successfully cross over into my other hippy world.
Eventually the project was taken on by executive producer, Judith Keenan and Bookshorts and we ended up with funding and encouragement from Bravo!FACT as well as the National Film Board of Canada.
This was my second film with the National Film Board’s involvement and I hope it’s the sign of a long lasting relationship.

The final piece is now touring with the Moving Stories Film Festival and will be submitting to other film festivals shortly.  Bravo!FACT has graciously let us hold off on airing the film until the summer of 2009 so that we can get the most out of our festival endeavors.

To read more about “Nagasaki Circus”, see what The Moving Stories Film Festival has to say in their press release.

Also, be sure to take a look at the Moving Stories tour schedule to see when it might be passing throughyour area!

Update: Watch “Nagasaki Circus”.