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The Animator’s Art

Free from commercial restraints, animators explore their art

After WWII, animation was increasingly recognised as a vital art form in its own right. Commercial work put food on their plates, but animators longed for creative freedom, and many production companies and determined animators created independent works in between paid gigs. Unshackled from commercial concerns, the resulting films were often daring in their pursuit of abstraction or personal expression. Meanwhile, many artists from other media have found that animation adds a vital new dimension to their work. But while such films were celebrated in their community they were rarely shown more widely. This collection showcases often hard-to-see examples of the animator's art at its purest and most individual.

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Family Tree

Animation & Artists Moving Image19886 mins

Green fingers produce blue hands. A surreal, brooding animation from a future Oscar winner

13 Cantos of Hell
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13 Cantos of Hell

Animation & Artists Moving Image195520 mins

Follow Dante through Hell in this progressive silhouette animation with a musique concrète soundtrack by talented sculptor Peter King

Green Men, Yellow Woman
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Green Men, Yellow Woman

Animation & Artists Moving Image19734 mins

Even Clark Gable doesn’t live up to his image in this off-beat cartoon about a woman fed up with the attentions of little green men

Animated Genesis
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Animated Genesis

Animation & Artists Moving Image195222 mins

Arachnophobes beware! This colourful allegorical abstraction of life from creation to near destruction casts greed as a giant spider

Damon the Mower
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Damon the Mower

Animation & Artists Moving Image19724 mins

A stripped back animated masterpiece from the director of Yellow Submarine (1968), based on an poem by Andrew Marvell

Xeroscopy
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Xeroscopy

Animation & Artists Moving Image19701 mins

If you were electrocuted by a photocopier in the 70s and your life flashed before you, it might look a little something like this…

Boolean Procedure
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Boolean Procedure

Animation & Artists Moving Image198023 mins

Innovative short that is equal parts Beckett, Gilliam, Orwell and life advice for the recently redundant. Yes, really.

Two Faces
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Two Faces

Animation & Artists Moving Image19684 mins

An abstract poetic tale that tells both one and a thousand stories of love and loss, by a designer on The Beatles Yellow Submarine film

The Wardrobe
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The Wardrobe

Animation & Artists Moving Image19582 mins

A fun minimalist cartoon with a delightfully absurd logic, from the director of Yellow Submarine

New Computer to help Animators
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New Computer to help Animators

News19813 mins Location: Cambridge

Character animator Chris James, a Grierson Award nominee, chats to Anglia TV at the Cambridge Animation Festival in 1981.

Painter and Poet No. 1
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Painter and Poet No. 1

Animation & Artists Moving Image19519 mins

“An experiment in words, music and paintings” two poems are illustrated for the BFI’s contribution to the Festival of Britain

The Pecking Order
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The Pecking Order

Animation & Artists Moving Image19890 mins

A beautifully painted animated critique of modern intensive farming methods

Painter and Poet No. 2
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Painter and Poet No. 2

Animation & Artists Moving Image19511 mins

Surreal journeys, stormy seas and macabre surprises await in this “experiment in words, music and paintings” made for the Festival of Britain

The Mirocle
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The Mirocle

Animation & Artists Moving Image197613 mins

It’s all me, me, me – this experimental animation on the Self wittily wraps up Jung and old philosophies in a clever Paul Klee-inspired design

That Noise
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That Noise

Animation & Artists Moving Image19612 mins

Fall truly, madly, deeply in love with this animated proto-music video from Godfrey, Lacey and Newly

Now
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Now

Animation & Artists Moving Image19698 mins

A film by an early British pioneer of computer generated filmmaking.

Tracks
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Tracks

Animation & Artists Moving Image198928 mins

A feminist collage/essay film that takes a critical look at certain feminist theories.

Stanley
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Stanley

Animation & Artists Moving Image19794 mins

What’s the matter, cat got your tongue? This dark, sultry cartoon encounter with a feline might leave you lost for words.

Painter and Poet No. 3
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Painter and Poet No. 3

Animation & Artists Moving Image19516 mins

Henry Moore is among the contributors to this experimental mix of verse and illustration, commissioned by the BFI for the Festival of Britain

The Transformer
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The Transformer

Animation & Artists Moving Image19682 mins

All aboard! Step on the psychedelic animation train with this film festival promo from the artists behind Yellow Submarine (1968)

John Gilpin
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John Gilpin

Animation & Artists Moving Image195110 mins

The History of John Gilpin becomes even more diverting when paired with illustrations by Ronald Searle

Up
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Up

Animation & Artists Moving Image19701 mins

What these guys would give for a floating house and some balloons… a short, sharp, animated statement on life’s struggles

Muybridge Revisited
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Muybridge Revisited

Animation & Artists Moving Image19865 mins Location: Fulham

Iconic images by photo-pioneer Eadweard Muybridge come to life in this striking video collage.

Football Freaks
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Football Freaks

Animation & Artists Moving Image19716 mins

Do not adjust your set! This off-beat jukebox cartoon is definitely more freaky than footbally