October 31, 2014

happy halloween from scarlet star studios!

by sven at 12:20 am

posted by sven | permalink | categories: miscellany

December 21, 2013

toby's christmas miracle!

by sven at 7:23 pm

click on image to play film (3:35min - 12.4 MB)

A Scarlet Star Studios Christmas tradition…

The classic musical comedy which has delighted and enraptured children around the world...

Featuring the most beloved five-armed sock creature of all time: Toby!


(Also available on YouTube.)

posted by sven | permalink | categories: toby

October 31, 2013

happy halloween from scarlet star studios!

by sven at 10:30 am

posted by sven | permalink | categories: miscellany

October 25, 2013

event review: best of the 2013 nw animation fest

by sven at 4:43 pm

Our Best of the 2013 NW Animation Fest event took place on Saturday Sept 7 at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon. It repeated one week later on Sept 14 at the Bijou Metro in Eugene. Here's a short review-in-photos that I created for the NWAF Facebook page.

1. We're proud to have been up on the Hollywood Theatre's beautiful new marquee just two days after the grand unveiling ceremony.

2. Our wonderful volunteer team: (front) Hannah Viera, Naomi Fish, Sven Bonnichsen, Samantha McKinney; (rear) Danie West, Brad Bolchunos, Gretchin Lair, Nick Nall. Not pictured: Patrick Neary.

3. Fest director Sven Bonnichsen orients event staff before the evening show.

4. The audience begins to arrive.

5. Naomi Fish helps direct people as they arrive for the show.

6. The Hollywood Theatre begins to fill up.

7. Assistant director & lobby leader Gretchin Lair answers questions at the info table alongside Danie West.

8. Welcome! I'm so glad you could make it!

9. The Hollywood Theatre's popcorn has been voted the best movie popcorn in the city. (Seriously.) The line for concessions stretches down the hall.

10. The auditorium doors open, and folks begin finding their seats.

11. Hannah Viera and Brad Bolchunos hand out programs at the first door.

12. Volunteers Hannah Viera and Brad Bolchunos.

13. Nick Nall and Samantha McKinney hand out programs at the auditorium's second door.

14. Thank you to our sponsors and supporters, the Hollywood Theatre, Oregon Film, Morel Ink, ADi, Oregon Media Production Association, Wild Portland, Jupiter Hotel, the Portland Mercury & Voodoo Doughnuts.

15. There were over 200 people in the audience this night.

16. Reading through the program.

17. Welcome to the Best of the 2014 Northwest Animation Festival!

18. Someday we're going to host an event that's so crowded, people will even sit in the front row!

19. The background image is from the film "A Knock on My Door," by San Jose professor and all-around animation mensch, David Chai.

20. The show you are about to see was boiled down from the program of 155 international films that we screened this past May.

21. "Now, let's watch some films!"

22. Our audience as the lights are just about to go down for the show...

23. Lobby life: hanging out talking about your favorite films after the show has ended.

24. Hanging out in the lobby post-show.

25. It's time to head over to the Moon & Sixpence for drinks and staying up much too late.

26. Exiting the auditorium.

27. The Hollywood Theatre's new marquee, lit up at night.

28. Glittering palace of film.

29. Thanks to our wonderful hosts at the Hollywood Theatre!

30. The next full-scale Northwest Animation Festival is scheduled for
May 15-18, 2014... See you then!

posted by sven | permalink | categories: nw animation festival

July 14, 2013

women in animation 2013

by sven at 1:56 pm

While putting films in sequence for this year's NW Animation Fest, I was struck by the scarcity of female characters. Because gender interests me, I decided to throw together some quick statistics to study what's going on.

My data set consists of the 154 films that were selected for screening at our 2013 festival. Here's what I found:

(In the program, who did we list on the film's "created by" line?)
66% Male
19% Female
15% both / name of studio only

66% Male
20% Female
14% none (abstract or unidentifiable)

If we stopped there, you might guess that men exclusively make films about men, and women make films about women. But there's actually a stronger bias at work.

72% Male protagonist
12% Female protagonist
17% abstract, or gender of protagonist is unidentifiable

41% Male protagonist
48% Female protagonist
10% abstract, or gender of protagonist is unidentifiable

(creators of more than one gender listed, or name of studio only)
83% Male protagonist
13% Female protagonist
4% abstract, or gender of protagonist is unidentifiable

What I see here is that when women make a film, they create female protagonists about 1/2 the time. But when men make films, they create male protagonists about 3/4 the time. Group projects feature male protagonists about 4/5 the time.

It seems intuitive that artists would have a bias toward creating protagonists that look like themselves. But this is not really the case. Women seem to have a fairly egalitarian interest in both men and women. Men, in contrast, tend to take a male-identified point of view.

posted by sven | permalink | categories: nw animation festival, writing

June 19, 2013

scenes from the 2013 nw animation fest: eugene

by sven at 11:57 pm

This post is the final installment in a 4 part photo series covering this year's Northwest Animation Festival. Gretchin and I drove down to Eugene to give all 154 films a second screening at the Bijou Art Cinemas on May 31 - June 2. Here's some of what we saw there.

1. Arriving at the Bijou Art Cinemas... Our first time doing the full three-day festival in another city!

2. Opening night at the Bijou Art Cinemas. That's us listed at the bottom of the marquee.

3. Before becoming a home for indie films, the Bijou Art Cinemas building was formerly a church — then a mortuary. Can you tell?

4. our audience begins to arrive

5. Gretchin staffs the info table

6. happy to see folks getting snacks before heading into the auditorium

7. lobby life: audience members page through the program while waiting for the auditorium doors to open

8. lobby life: "Welcome to the Northwest Animation Festival! Would you like a program?"

9. the Animation Hotline Hotspot came with us down to Euguene

10. folks trying out the Animation Hotspot

11. opening address on Saturday Afternoon: "Welcome to the Northwest Animation Festival!"

12. Thanks to everyone who came out to see animation on a gorgeous sunny day!

13. the glow of the screen puts a nimbus of light around every head

14. view of our Sunday Night audience from the balcony

15. The Bijou Art Cinemas just installed a new digital projector, funded with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Light shone from the lens for the first time barely an hour before our opening screening! We're proud that NW Animation Fest got to be the first event to use the new equipment... Congrats to the Bijou!

16. exiting the auditorium for an intermission

17. lobby life: sipping a beer, going out into the sunny courtyard, watching the Animation Hotline video loop, waiting to buy concessions

18. lobby life: popcorn gets spilled... that fellow coming down the hall was kind-spirited and stooped to help pick it up before staff could even get there

19. Cinema Studies student Peri Moritz shares a video

20. "Which film was that?" — "It was the one where..."

21. transfixed by the magic Oreo

22. beer and the Animation Hotline

23. Those two? They're deciding what films were their favorites. They're about to come over and fill out a survey.

24. Filling out surveys at the info table. "Help us decide what goes in the Best of the Fest show. Mark as many films as you like!"

25. heading back into the auditorium, popcorn in hand

26. So many conversations! This gentleman is a novelist, so we compared the unique challenges of two art forms: writing and animation.

27. a very animated conversation

28. a happy crowd excitedly discussing the films on Sunday night

29. Thanks so much to the wonderful Bijou staff: Laurie, Nick, Julie and Michelle. (Also Kegan, Steve, Ashley and Joshua!)

30. We'll definitely be back in Eugene next year... And perhaps even sooner, at the Eugene Celebration!

posted by sven | permalink | categories: nw animation festival

scenes from the 2013 nw animation fest: portland - sunday

by sven at 10:35 pm

This year I'm letting photos tell the story of what happened at the NW Animation Fest. Here's part 3 of a 4 part series, which revisits the final day of our Portland show (Sunday, May 19).

1. "Meet the Animators," Sunday Afternoon at the Hollywood Theatre

2. interviewing some of the attending filmmakers

3. Magdalena Osinska, who flew in from the UK, discusses her film "Spirits of the Piano"

4. David Chai — from San Jose, California — discusses his film "A Knock on my Door"

5. Justin Connolly, who drove up from Los Angeles, discusses his film "Dance for Your Life, Puny Human"

6. native Portlandian Rob Shaw discusses the making of "Zero Rats"

7. Dave and Justin

8. Justin discusses the technical challenges involved in making a stop-motion robot dance-off

9. a small but engaged audience for this event

10. benefits of getting up early to meet the animators: free Voodoo Doughnuts for all!

11. me and filmmaker Magdalena Osinska ("Spirits of the Piano")

12. our volunteer team for Sunday's "Strange & Sexy" film block: (front) Temris Ridge, Becky Steele, Serin Hale, Cecilia Nguyen; (back) Stephen Couchman, Danie West, Thom May, Sven Bonnichsen, Gretchin Lair

13. step right up, getchyer tickets...

14. lobby life: answering questions at the festival info table

15. two of our marvelous ushers: Becky Steele and Danie West

16. walk down the aisle and find yourself a seat

17. getting settled in for a full afternoon of films

18. welcoming the Sunday Afternoon audience

19. Interviewing a being from another galaxy, made of pure energy. We warned everyone not to sit in the front row, to avoid the risk of being vaporized.

20. Ready to watch some films?

21. the glow of the screen fills the Hollywood Theatre's main auditorium

22. intermission: time to grab some popcorn

23. a sunny day shines in through the lobby doors

24. theatre manager Connor Kirkwood serves up the best popcorn in Portland

25. Serin Hale thanks you for turning in your survey

26. freebie buttons for survey respondents — featuring an image from the film "Butterflies" by Isabel Peppard & Warwick Burton

27. enjoying the Animation Hotline Hotspot

28. this year we worked with New York animator Dustin Grella to bring the Animation Hotline Hotspot out to Oregon

29. staffing the festival info table, Temris and Gretchin are silhouted by the waning afternoon light

30. super-volunteer Temris Ridge has helped out with every NW Animation Fest event since our inception

31. our loyal photographer, Carly J. Cais, takes advantage of the dinnertime break to check out the Animation Hotline video loop

32. lobby life: a lively crowd chatting about films during the festival's final intermission

33. I take a moment to introduce super-volunteer Stephen Couchman, organizer of the Rose City Steampunk Film Festival and GearCon

34. Thank you for coming!

35. Thanks to everyone who came together for the 2013 Northwest Animation Festival!

posted by sven | permalink | categories: nw animation festival