Monday, November 12, 2012

Sumo Lake goes to YouTube

We've extended beyond the polite parlour of Vimeo and Sumo Lake is now available for everyone's viewing pleasure on the Future Shorts YouTube channel
Future Shorts has a swag of interesting films of all sorts online and quite happy to have my wrestling-ballet-monster-romance epic among their collection. Let the robust commentary begin!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

More Festivals! Sugoi!

There's still some festival life in this little scribbled epic, nearly two years after it's release.

Extremely pleased to participating in the San Diego Asian Film Festival . This festival looks like a lot of  fun, and I'm disappointed I'm too far away to enjoy the hospitality offered the filmmakers. However, anyone else nearby can check out Sumo Lake in big screen HD in in their animation programme on Sunday November 4 and Wednesday November 7th, and if you think you can do a passable impersonation of me, go ahead and take on the filmmaker Q & A and grab my share of any beer and canapes on offer.

If you prefer wine to beer, or northern California to south, Sumo Lake is also part of the Calaveras Film Festival. The festival runs from Oct 12 to 14th and "celebrates the art of film, food, and wine in the Californian foothills." Sounds horrible. Don't know which night they'll be screening Sumo Lake, so best get tickets to all three.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Long ago, before Sumo …

… I animated an ode to my childhood car trips across the great Canadian Prairie*. "Get in the Car" was released in 2003, played festivals around the world, and just this week found it's way onto Flickerfest's "Fresh Flicks" Youtube channel.

(*If you've ever been driven across them in the back seat of a 1970's Mercury station wagon, you may think the "great" referred only to the distance across them, but of course that's wrong. )

Now apologies to those outside of this wide brown land down under, but I believe this channel is blocked outside of Australia. In which case, all I can offer is the teaser clip from my website, or the trailer from the Animation Show of Shows DVD collection in which GITC appears. 

And while we're posting video clips only peripherally related to Sumo Lake, here's a recently released, partially animated trailer for the Captain Congo kid's book series I illustrate.

I woke up this morning to the news that the great Ray Bradbury had passed away. He called the internet a "distraction". Now that I've distracted both of us, I'm off to honour his memory by logging out and finding myself a good book. Right now.

Friday, April 27, 2012

BCN Sports Film Festival - Sumo animation aplenty!

"Sumo Lake" is proudly participating in the 2012 BCN Sports film festival, Barcelona. Yeah, I guess we're a "sports film". Sumo wrestling is a sport, and "Sumo Lake" is a film - so why not?

Surprised to learn that there's a number of films in their animation program. Not only are we kept company in the hand-drawn animation category with the work of some scribbler named Bill Plympton, but there is a hand-drawn sumo wrestling film that's not Sumo Lake

Laurene Braibant's "Sumo" is done in a skillful render of charcoal. Very classy, very dramatic. Can't wait to see more than just the teasers available on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sumo Loch

If only Benjamin had worked bagpipes into the soundtrack, they would have loved it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Sumo Lake, along with the earlier penguin-noir film "Black and White Red All Over" will be screening 17 February in the N4YP Animation Festival Launch Party. What's "N4YP"? They explain it best on their site:

The goal is fairly simple: provide support, knowledge, means, opportunity and empowerment to young people working to break into the media arts industries. Whether your interest lies in digital media, visual media, journalism, animation or any number of other things, N4YP will aim to provide you with resources to get you going.

Sounds like a good thing, and sounds like a good party. The venue is Jugend Widerstand Church, Berlin, and the event features a selection of international animated films along with reknowned DJs and musicians.
Add Sumo wrestlers and penguins, and you have a perfect night out. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Moving Drawings

UPDATE: Well that was pretty underwhelming. 
E-mail if you'd like another chance to add to your art collection while spreading some goodwill and stemming the bitterness of a cranky animator. 

Anyone within earshot of me in early 2011 heard me bang on about Sumo Lake taking 1300 drawings to make and I had the throbbing arm to prove it. (Actually, that's not a lot in animation terms, Ub Iwerks would have cranked out that many by the weekend, but I won't pretend not to be proud of my efforts.)

Most of them are pretty nice drawings if I say so myself. Since there was no digital compositing, everything was done on the paper, and there aren't any incomplete and unsatisfying compositions (like that cel of Scratchy's arm that Bart Simpson buys). All of them are complete, and most of them are for sale.

A few have been sold since the film's release just under a year ago, via this site and e-bay. Not too long after I put the drawings up for sale Japan was hit by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami. We were all struck by a feeling of sympathy and helplessness, and these drawings presented an opportunity to give something back to the nation that has given me such inspiration and hospitality. Half the subsequent sale proceeds have been given to Mercy Corps Artists Help Japan Fund.

However, Japan still needs help and I have a lot of drawings. I'd like to see a lot more people own Sumo Lake drawings, and I'd like to be able to transfer a much larger pile of dough to Japan to assist in a rebuilding effort that will likely take a generation.

So as we approach the anniversary of Sumo Lake's release and the Japan disasters, a lot of drawings are going to be made available. They will be sold via ebay auctions, so there's a chance you might get yourself a bargain. In such case you should buy two, because once sales total $100, 75% of the money will be sent for disaster relief. Should there be enough enthusiasm to take us over $300, then from that point on I'll just cover my postage costs and hand over all that remains to Mercy Corps and Medicins Sans Frontieres.

Remember, all drawings will be signed. Personalized signings upon request - the perfect gift for that special dancer/wrestler/monster in your life.

CLICK HERE (or on your favourite piece below) to get yourself to the Sumo Lake Artwork Auction Page and start bidding. Keep in mind that there will be no additional postage costs for additional drawings. One drawing, or eight drawings, same postage price. (They're not as heavy as they look.)

New pieces will be put on the auction block as others move. If you are after a particular drawing or set of drawings, please e-mail with a screen grab or written description and we'll see what arrangements can be made.

Domo Arigato!

Monday, January 2, 2012

From Ballet to Polka - UPDATED

Not too long after releasing Sumo Lake, I got an e-mail from my mate Ron Diamond asking me if I'd like to participate in an animation collaboration to accompany Weird Al Yankovic's  "Polka Face", his latest medley of polka-fied pop tunes. The medleys have always been my favourite work of Mr. Yankovic since I heard him belt out "Rock the Casbah" on his squeezebox more than a quarter century ago. Of course I said "Heck, yeah!"

It was what we call in the trade an open brief, meaning "do whatever ya want". The medley was composed of 17 or so different song segments and it was first in, first dibs from those of us interested from Ron's big phone book of animators.

As Sumo Lake had rekindled my near-dead interest in animating, I wanted to use this re-discovered joyously scribbly style and, like Sumo Lake, draw something that would be self-indulgently fun rather than having to work hard doing a caricature of a pop artist I didn't know*. I also grabbed one of the shorter segments, mindful of how much pencil mileage had to be clocked up against a tight deadline.

You can look and listen to Al's whole medley** or cut to the chase and see my full 12 seconds right here.

* [ I animated to "Down" originally by Jay Sean. Never heard of him, or his contribution to the culture of the 21st century. Sure he'd say the same about me.]

 ** [ Youtube comments would suggest audiences are more literal minded than I would have expected, or maybe just very particular about representations of livestock.]