Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Flatpack Festival

This weekend I went to the Flatpack Festival in Birmingham; an amazing mixture of animation, live action, live performance, music and cakes. It is always interesting and very often jaw-droppingly fantastic. This years head-expanding bit for me was the Paper Cinema, a live animation performance with beautiful music.

On Friday there was the 'unpacked' session, a day of artists talking about how and why they make their work. It was all very good, and incredibly thought provoking (I'm still digesting bits now, I'm a slow thinker).

Paper cinema were in the last session of the day. Nic Rawling showed us the beautiful black and white ink-drawn paper puppets he uses to enact dramas in front of a digital camera wired up to a big screen with lyrical music performed by Kora. It made your eyes greedy it was so good. I'm not really into puppetry (an incident with the crocodile in Punch and Judy when I was four has left me wary) but something about the alchemy of mediating the work through a screen just brought it all to life so vividly.

The next day I dragged my family over to the Electric Cinema in Brum to watch a proper performance of The Night Flyer; a beautiful fairy tale about a boy, a bike and a search for a lost girl. It was blissful, and great fun to watch with kids. Mine were transfixed, and watched with huge attention. They also loved seeing the puppets afterwards and, turning them over, realising they were all backed with cereal packets and biscuit boxes. You don't see Pixar doing that.

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