Sound + Vision Animation Workshops

I am hosting, along with Pádraig Fagan, two stop-motion workshops and one thaumatrope workshop as part of the Sound + Vision Music Film Festival, which runs from 16th-27th of November.
The festival is organised by the Model in Sligo in co-operation with Cinema North West.

Here's some info about the festival:
This exciting new festival features concert films, musical documentaries, films which popularised major movements in music history, films defined by their soundtracks and landmark moments of musical and cinema history. We also have a special children’s programme with dress-up and sing along family screenings and animation workshops.
A full programme is available here: link
Here's my workshop schedule:

Saturday 19th of November @ The Model Sligo
10.00-13.00 Stop-motion workshop, ages: 9-13 years old.
14.00-17.00 Stop-motion workshop, ages: 9-13 years old.

Sunday 20th of November @ The Model Sligo
13.00-14.00 Spinner/Thaumatrope workshop, ages: 5-7  years old..

The resulting films will be screened on Saturday the 26th of November before the Studio Ghibli film "Arriety: the Borrower" at 15.00.

Though the workshops are free to participants, booking beforehand is strongly suggested, as places are limited.
For booking details please contact the Model at: 071 91 41405

These workshops are made possible thanks to funding from the International Fund For Ireland and the support of Cinema North West and the Model Sligo.


PURE Wicked Animation Film School 2011

Hi all!

First of all here are the Films:

Monster Problem!

A truck dumps some rubbish in the woodlands, but this rubbish is different and now we have a... Monster Problem!

Made using a combination of bin bags cardboard tinfoil and fabric, this films tells the story of how illegal dumping can adversely affect nature.

Created by:
Katie Sherlock, Anna Farnan, Saoirse Heffernan, Tom Furlong, Laura Kenny

The Smalls

The Smalls is an experimental short film dealing with the environmental themes of littering and its contribution to air pollution.

The methods used are a mix of pixelation (used to illustrate the hand of man and its impact on the environment) and cut-out animation with recycled materials.

Created by:
Kismet Hamilton, Méabh O'Shea, Aoife Lalor, Amelia Nelson- Sisinni, Conor Ryan

Something Fishy

A tale of a little hermit crab.
A crab thinks he's found a novel way to improve his shell... recycling!

The main characters are made out of plasticine and scraps of fabric. The backgrounds are composed of different materials including paper, cardboard, bubble-wrap and fabric.

Created by:
Orla Cleary, Rory Downes, Aaron Doyle, Sinéad O'Loughlin


Bindeavor deals with our expanding pollution problem, set in the future it shows outer space as a potential new environment for people to pollute, and its possible affect on our own planet.

This film is animated using recycled materials in a flat cut-out style.

Created by:
Joseph Bulmer, Sadhbh Wilcoxson, Keadi Adams, Eli Cahn, Robbie Boland

Sheep and Wolf

All is peaceful in Sheep’s meadow, until Wolf arrives and everything changes...

Made using fabric pipe cleaners and a variety of recycled materials, this story deals with the issue of pollution and contamination of the water and how it affects the ecology.

Created by:
Tom O'Connor, Christopher Whyte, Oisin Sloan-Starr, Aysha Griffin, Chloe Potts

Welcome to Earth

Three aliens who visited earth for their holidays in the past return to find that not is all as
it was. The earth has changed since they've been away.

The aliens are all made out of plascticine and their spaceship in made out of cardboard, plastic, tinfoil and fabric. The environments where created by used sandpaper, cardboard and lots of recycled material.

Created by:
Ellen Walsh, Lorna McMahon, Joshua Hanrahan, Pilar de Alvear

And finally a bonus animation that the second week's students put together:

Playing in Pixelation

Here we have several fun experiments the young film-makers created using a camera, some props and themselves!

Tom O'Connor, Christopher Whyte, Oisin Sloan-Starr, Aysha Griffin, Chloe Potts, Ellen Walsh, Lorna McMahon, Joshua Hanrahan, Pilar de Alvear, Joseph Bulmer, Sadhbh Wilcoxson, Keadi Adams, Eli Cahn, Robbie Boland

And, now, a little bit of background on the project:

 So, as I'm sure you're aware, for the last year or so I have been organising stop-motion workshops across Ireland, after first getting a start with Christian Robinson, when I assisted him in his classes with the IFI, from which this clip was created: link

Fast forward a little bit to last May, when I got a phone call to see if I would be available to organise a workshop event, in partnership with Ian Davis of the PURE (Protecting Uplands & Rural Environments) Project and Deryn O'Callaghan at the Tinahely Courthouse, both of whom are located in Co. Wicklow.
Previously PURE had organised a live-action film workshop entitled PURE Wicked, but Ian felt that they were somewhat limited in the type of stories they could tell this way, and thought that animation may offer grander scope, so thus enter me into the scenario for PURE Wicked 2011.
From the get go the one thing about this workshop is that it would be big and ambitious. It would take place over two weeks, with 30 students working together to create a selection of films on the theme of the environment, and man's affect on it.. The age group we were planning to work with was older too, from 12 up, and with them we aimed to create 6 distinct stories and tell them in an interesting and fun way, using a selection of medium and animation techniques.

Right off the bat I knew that I'd need some solid backup, so I managed to wrangle Louise Bagnall and Carol Freeman as my wingwomen for the duration of the workshop. Having worked with Louise on her short Donkey I knew that it'd be great to have her story and design sensibility on board and with her just back from the Animation Workshop in Denmark, I was lucky enough to snap her up before she ended up gainfully employed. Carol also had recently finished a term teaching animation at Hartstown (the results of which you can see here: link) and had quite a lot of workshop experience over the last few years so likewise was tailored perfectly for this. I would also need someone to help out with the music after the two weeks wrap up and I had just the man, Chris McLoughlin, a very talented musician, model-maker and animator. Thankfully for a number of days over the two weeks we were also able to avail of the help of Richard Duffy, who managed to keep the students occupied with all manner of diversions.

Within a few weeks I had a lesson plan and schedule for the two weeks planned out, with guidelines for storyboards, designing/building and animation, as well presentations on storyboarding, animation techniques and some inspirational screenings of some of my favourite animations, to help get them in the right frame of mind. We would have two groups of 15 students in each week, and from that we would make 3 groups of 5, with 6 groups over the full two week period.

For day 1, we began with an induction into the idea behind the workshop, that we can help promote the responsible use and treatment of our environment, from the big to the small, this was put together by Ian of PURE, and involved a slide presentation and some very shocking figures on the illegal dumping rates in the picturesque Uplands region of Wicklow.

We followed this up with an induction into animation, where we showed them a wide range of films, concentrating mainly on camera-based animation rather than digital or hand drawn created works.
Here's a full list of the films we screened: link

After the introductions we split the students into groups and we started working with them on their stories. Once they had figured out an outline and the characters we got each group to pitch their idea to the room. We got started on the storyboards at this point, which we continued with on day 2.

Day 2 was all about wrapping up the storyboards and figuring out the character designs. Louise presented her film Donkey, and showed the students her original storyboard, to help them visualise the jump from page to screen. We planned out the elements and figured out what we were going to make the backgrounds and characters out of, as well as how many and much of each.

They started  building the elements in the second half of the day, and continued making the last few character pieces and props while animation was starting on day 3

Day 3 was the beginning of the animation process. 

We had a smaller room where the three cameras were set up (one generously donated by Adrien Merigeau).

The animation went from day 3 all the way to day 5, and it was pretty intense. 

As each group was made up of about 5 students, and we could only really have 2 or so from each group animating at one time in the room.

Everyone got to animate by cycling through the team members.

Each student would animate for a chunk and then recuperate until they're up next.

  This helped to keep them fresh.

Here they are playing an impromptu version of Xs & Os during one of their recuperation periods.

Finally at the end of Friday we cleaned the place up, an appropriate way to end the week I believe.


Workshop facilitators:
Eimhin McNamara
Louise Bagnall
Carol Freeman
with the assistance of Richard Duffy

Original Music by:
Christopher McLoughlin

Sound Design, Final Editing and Compositing by:
Eimhin McNamara

Special thanks to:
Ian Davis @ the PURE Project
Jenny Sherwin @ Wicklow County Council
Deryn O' Callaghan @ the Courthouse Arts Centre
Adrien Merigeau, Lisa Powell and Matt Horan

Many thanks to the board and staff
at the Courthouse Arts Centre in Tinahely, Co. Wicklow

The PURE Wicked Animation Film School is an initiative of Wicklow County Council Arts Office in partnership with the PURE (Protecting Uplands & Rural Environments) Project with funding from the Arts Council and the support of the Courthouse Arts Centre Tinahely and the County Wicklow Film Commission.


Here's a photo of all the DVDs I burned before I put them away in boxes:

And here's one of the boxes packed with them:

Animation Filmschool film screening list

Here is the selection of films with stills (and links where available) which we screened during the recent animation film school I organised, enjoy:

Soft Plant - Emma de Schwaef (2009)
Panique au village - Stéphane Aubier , Vincent Patar (2009)
Her Morning Elegance - Oren Lavie (2009)
Neighbours - Norman McLaren (1952)
Plasticine Crow - Aleksandr Tatarskiy (1981)

Fox and Rabbit - Yuri Norstein (1973
Sinna Mann - Anita Killi (2009)
Fuyu no Hi - Yuri Norstein (2003)
The Wrong Trousers - Nick Park (1993)
Western Spaghetti - PES (2008)
Le Merle - Norman McLaren (1958)
Potkali se u Kolina - Bretislav Pojar
In the Attic - Jiri Barta
Vlnená pohádka - Hermína Týrlová (1964) 
The Owl who married a Goose - Caroline Leaf (1974)
Kuky se Vraci - Jan Sverak (2008)
Something Left Something Taken - Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata
Tord och Tord - Niki Lindroth von Bahr (2010)
My Green Crocodile - Vadim Kurchevsky (1966)
Kundelek - Lidia Hornicka (1969)
I also screened some of my own work:

As well as Louise's Donkey which I unfortunately cannot not embed a video link of.


DCC Libraries Summer Workshops

Here's the video from the Dublin City Council Libraries' workshops I held in the month of July.

Myself and Eleanor Holmes facilitated three workshops, Ballyfermot, Cabra and Ballymun, with a total number of 21 different animations being created by the students, whose ages were between 9 and 14.

Special thanks to Anne Gannon, the project co-ordinator, and also Vincent McManus, Phil Scanlan, Gerry Territ and Declan Hayden for their contributions and assistance at each library.

Here are some photos that myself and Eleanor took during the workshop, enjoy!