Posted by: RunningTuff | April 8, 2013




Posted by: RunningTuff | July 11, 2011

First screening dates at NZIFF announced

Dates for the Auckland and Wellington screenings of Greensplat are out now, and it will be preceding the film Guilty Pleasures. The digibeta has been made (thanks, Wintec and Images & Sound!). I’m looking forward to seeing it on the big screen next weekend, and a bit intrigued by the accompanying feature.

Guilty Pleasures synopsis: There’s a Mills & Boon romance novel sold every four seconds. Julie Moggan’s film investigates the fantasies of true love and sexual fulfilment that they promote – and their bearing on the love lives of a handful of their producers and consumers.

Auckland – Academy Cinemas (click here for details):

Friday July 15 – 1:45pm

Saturday July 16 – 11:30am

Thursday July 21 – 6:15pm 

Friday July 22 – 11:45am

Wellington (click here for details): Soundings Theatre, Te Papa

Friday July 29 – 2:00pm

Friday July 29 – 6:15pm

Sunday July 31 – 3:45pm

Posted by: RunningTuff | June 21, 2011

First festival acceptance for ‘Greensplat’

Random squashed still from film, featuring me as a mezzo-soprano

I’m happy to say that ‘Greensplat’ will have its first festival appearance as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival in August! It’s been selected to play before a feature documentary, which should be quite fun and good exposure. More details and dates to come. I’ve just sent off the QT file to Images and Sound, who are making the digiBeta for the screenings.

It didn’t get into the ‘Homegrown’ collection at NZIFF this time round, but that’s ok – win some, lose some. Have a few more festival submissions in process, and always welcome any suggestions of good ones to try.

Posted by: RunningTuff | June 2, 2011

Made it!

Studying with Alba

So this blog got a wee bit abandoned for a while there, but I’m happy to say that everything got completed, marks were good and I’m set to graduate next March!

I’m also now mum to a gorgeous girl, Alba, who decided to come along 2 weeks early in the midst of my final animating. It feels like Alba has been an integral part of the creation of ‘Greensplat’ – squirming away as I drew storyboards, protesting in utero about incredibly humid bike rides to and from the studio, listening to approximately 15,000 camera clicks as I filmed (not to mention a good deal of raucous singing), kicking vigorously to keep me company through tough times, necessitating frequent trips up the stairs to the toilet in the adjacent block, appearing in the world on a day I had marked down as ‘go to computer lab for After Effects animation’, sleeping beside me in the basket during the final editing stages, and finally, helping me do the final presentation from the frontpack.

Growing this beautiful baby en route definitely helped me connect to this exploration of my own childhood on film, and it’s been a privilege. The film is dedicated to her, and to my late Cornish grandad Ivor, who was a brilliant storyteller.

I’ll post more about the animation process in the ‘about’ page – suffice it to say there were plenty of technical challenges, but I’m pretty happy with the end result. Come to think of it, that goes for both creative projects!

It feels fantastic to have everything finished, and I’m looking forward to seeing the film on the big screen. Huge thanks to the many people that supported me in its creation.

Posted by: RunningTuff | November 22, 2010


It’s been a while since my last update, but I’ve made a fair bit of progress. The animatic is all done, and awaiting a final edit. That will then be the rough soundtrack I animate to.

After quite some negotiation about light spread and bulb type, I have bought a lightbox to use. It ended up being pricier than I hoped just due to my specific requests but hopefully will do the trick. First media tests are pretty encouraging – images below. I’m leaning towards keeping a lot of the production in camera, to keep the aesthetic organic and cohesive. This means organising the collage elements in pre-production, and probably sticking them on the lightbox under another sheet of glass, with the sand animation on top. First shooting session starts next week! I have bought Dragon Stop Motion to shoot on, and a Canon > Nikon lens adapter off Trademe. Fingers crossed it all comes together well..

Combination of collage elements + sand.

Nelly? Maybe go for cutout for movement.

Potential final frame image, to be composited with hungry mining machinery

Sand line vs wire figure - I prefer the organic look

Creating sand versions of archival drawings

Posted by: RunningTuff | October 1, 2010

Cool sand animation

Posted by: RunningTuff | July 5, 2010

‘Frank Film’ – collaged autobiography

This is an Oscar-winning student film from 1973, an autobiography called ‘Frank Film’ by Frank Mouris. It uses a huge variety of cutouts to provide the fast-paced colleged visuals (collected over a number of years) and a slightly disorienting double voiceover soundtrack. It’s quite the sensory overload, leaning towards experimental techniques, but effective in summoning up the impression of a remembered life.

This project sounds interesting. Hoping to get up and see it sometime.

More info at and

Beyond Documentary
9 July – 21 August 2010
Gallery 2 & 3, MIC Toi Rerehiko Gallery

A multimedia project by Serena Stevenson in collaboration with Annie Latu and Nikki Shepard, aiming to empower youth and facilitate self-expression. This is a living project created through media thats accessible in the community and developed through installation in the public spaces of South Auckland. Beyond documentary is a project designed by established artist Serena Stevenson. Beyond Documentary is dedicated to the growth and development of young High school dropouts from the South Auckland region of Auckland City, New Zealand.

Posted by: RunningTuff | June 28, 2010

Biographical play – ‘Ship Songs’

Just went to see the one-man play ‘Ship Songs‘, on as part of the Fuel Festival, in the hope it would relate somehow to my project; and it was great. Here’s the blurb:

“Epic tales, roguish folklore, spirited sea shanties and soulful ballads merge with exquisite animation to bring this rousing, feel-good production to life. Written and performed by acclaimed New Zealand actor Ian Hughes (Bare, Shortland Street), Ship Songs weaves together three compelling seagoing adventures that span five centuries and four continents. Inspired by the remarkable true story of how his parents fell in love, Hughes effortlessly jumps between characters and countries to build three hilarious, and unpredictable tales. Music is performed live by Don McGlashan, Chris O’Connor, and Dave Khan, whose impassioned songs add a further dimension of emotion and imagery to the stories. Alive with theatrical innovation, this romantic, funny and visually stunning production is a true celebration of love, courage, and adventure on the high seas.”

Admittedly, the great performance is a major part of the success, which is tricky to replicate in an animation. But it does involve original animation on a big screen (part of the drawcard), which Hughes interacts with in a clever way, using it to represent a ship, illustrate historic adventure or (perhaps most effectively), allow him to be a sick man in bed. And he weaves well between the 3 stories, leaving and rejoining them at high dramatic points. He also makes the most of the humour and small details in the most personal story involving his mother. The culmination is satisfying and poignant, circling back to the earlier point that Hughes wants people to hear and remember these stories and make them live on.

So, if there was one point I took that could relate to my project, it was that small family stories are worth telling. And, what’s more, people might really enjoy hearing them. No pressure then..

Posted by: RunningTuff | June 28, 2010

The Moon and The Son

The Moon and The Son is an animated memoir by John Canemaker and Peggy Stern. It’s subtitled ‘An imagined conversation’ and uses this conversation with a dead father as the device to hold together recollections from the past and address the dysfunctional relationship Canemaker had with his father.

It’s online here at the time of writing (although probably not an official link, and seems to cut out part way), and won an Oscar in 2006.

A quote from Canemaker: “Animation, is rarely used – and, in my opinion, often ill-used – as a means to express powerful feelings,” he says. “In The Moon and the Son, I have an imaginary conversation with my deceased father. I draw upon memory, fact, conjecture, trial, transcripts, audio recordings, home movies, photos, snapshots, and original animation to pull together his story and my story.”

This is a fantastic film to be looking at in regards to mine, as the media content is so similar and it’s held together with the audio component. Maybe I don’t need to worry about changes in the type of animation being disruptive to the narrative – it certainly works for them, although it is swapping purely between photos and traditional animation.

Canemaker’s site is online here, featuring a biography and huge filmography. He’s made many fantastic films and published 9 books on animation.

A full press release on the film is available here:

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