Fantasy/Animation
Footnote #13 - Folklore and Folkloric

Footnote #13 - Folklore and Folkloric

August 15, 2022

Alex takes the reins for this double tale of folklore and the folkloric, two terms that are fully implicated in the history of fantasy storytelling and cultural expression, as he navigates through and defines each for this latest Footnote episode. Listen as he explains to Chris the relationship that folklore has to ‘official,’ codified or canonised discourse and documentation; the role of shared anecdotal evidence in binding a culture together in a folkloric fashion; the collective stories, rituals, traditions, and customs of folklore passed between communities without a fixed author; top-down vs. bottom-up modes of expression, and how folklore has traditionally been a space for the marginal; and the identity of the ‘folkloric’ as a stylised and fictionalised form of folk culture.

**Fantasy/Animation theme tune composed by Francisca Araujo**

Flee (2021) (with Cristina Formenti)

Flee (2021) (with Cristina Formenti)

August 8, 2022

The acclaimed animated documentary Flee (Jonas Poher Rasmussen, 2021), which tells the story of Amin Nawabi and his journey from from Afghanistan to Denmark as a refugee, is the subject of Episode 103 of the podcast that reflects on the shared ability of animation, fantasy and the documentary format to ‘reveal.’ Joining Chris and Alex for this instalment is Dr. Cristina Formenti, Assistant Professor in Film Studies at the University of Udine in Italy, and author of a number of books on animation and documentary, including Il mockumentary: la fiction si maschera da documentario (2013), and her latest book The Classical Animated Documentary and Its Contemporary Evolution (2022). Cristina is also the editor of the volumes Mariangela Melato tra cinema, teatro e televisione (2016) and Valentina Cortese: un’attrice intermediale (2019), while her work has appeared in various national and international journals, such as Studies in Documentary Film, Alphaville, and Horror Studies. She is currently the co-editor of the journal Animation Studies and serves on the Board of the Society for Animation Studies. Listen as they discuss the value of animated reconstruction, fictionalisation, and the authenticating use of live-action footage within Flee’s predominantly animated aesthetic style that potentially ‘corrects’ its cartoonal qualities; the role of memory and the subjectivity of experience; connections between imagination, emotion and trauma; shifts in the animated style of Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s film between raw nightmarish impressionism and heightened visual detail; the ‘fable’ and ‘sober’ as useful ways to categorise the historical trajectory and stylistic approaches of the animated documentary; the experiential effects of subjective narration and the film’s intimate interview style, and what happens when vocal recordings in the documentary have to be falsified; and how Flee offers a narrative of reconciliation that mirrors animation’s own creative combination with certain recognisable documentary conventions.

**Fantasy/Animation theme tune composed by Francisca Araujo**

Footnote #12 - The Lightning Sketch (with Malcolm Cook)

Footnote #12 - The Lightning Sketch (with Malcolm Cook)

August 1, 2022

Joining Chris and Alex for this lightning quick journey through the origins and aesthetics of the lightning sketch tradition in Footnote #12 of the podcast is Dr Malcolm Cook, Associate Professor in Film Studies (University of Southampton), author of Early British Animation: From Page and Stage to Cinema Screens (2018) and co-editor (with Professor Kirsten Moana Thompson) of the collection Animation and Advertising (2019). Malcolm was also a special guest on the earlier Christmas advertisements episode, but here he discusses the importance of ‘lightning cartooning’ to the history of animation; the spectatorial effects and perceptions involved in witnessing the live act of drawing; pioneers of the original stage show who became cinema’s very first animators such as J. Stuart Blackton, Georges Méliès, Walter Booth, Tom Merry, and Winsor McCay; the lightning sketch as a crucial point of contact between moving images and graphic art; and what the convergence between this music hall and vaudeville tradition with ‘trick film’ techniques has to say about about the emergence of the animated short.

**Fantasy/Animation theme tune composed by Francisca Araujo**

Mothra (Ishirō Honda, 1961) (with Alex Davidson)

Mothra (Ishirō Honda, 1961) (with Alex Davidson)

July 25, 2022

Chris and Alex take their first visit to the Japanese kaiju genre for Episode 102 of the podcast thanks to Toho studio’s 1961 feature Mothra (Ishirō Honda, 1961), a film that kickstarted the longstanding Mothra monster movie franchise. Joining them to discuss the history and legacy of Japanese cinema’s famous winged creature is Alex Davidson, cinema curator at the Barbican Theatre who also writes on film for the BFI and beyond, with a specialism is queer cinema and television. To tie in with the Barbican’s screening of Mothra on August 24th 2022 as part of their Outdoor Cinema series, the trio reflect on the genesis of Mothra as a character and its importance to twentieth-century Japanese monster cinema; the codes and conventions of the kaiju film, and connections to Japan’s postwar national trauma following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; distinctions between revenge and rampage that structure Mothra narratives; allegories of modernity that recur across supernatural fables; the fluctuating scales of the film’s practical VFX imagery (from superimpositions and forced perspectives to models and miniatures) all directed by Eiji Tsuburaya; the political stakes of its fictional setting of Rolisica that combines East Asian and European influences; and what director Ishirō Honda has to say about science, finance, technology, and soft economic power through both Mothra’s reign of terror and the character’s desire to ‘protect.’

**Fantasy/Animation theme tune composed by Francisca Araujo**

Footnote #11 - Society for Animation Studies (with Chris Pallant)

Footnote #11 - Society for Animation Studies (with Chris Pallant)

July 18, 2022

Footnote #11 comes live from the 33rd annual Society for Animation Studies conference, which took place in late-June and early-July 2022 at Teesside University. Joining Chris and Alex for this rundown of the society as an “international organisation dedicated to the study of animation history and theory” is the current SAS President, Dr Chris Pallant (Canterbury Christ Church University), previously a special guest on our Bagpuss (Peter Firmin & Oliver Postgate, 1974) episode of the podcast. Listen as they discuss the origins of the society and its founding back in 1987, and the contribution of its members towards the consolidation of Animation Studies as a specialist discipline; the society’s growth as an international space of knowledge exchange and networking among animation practitioners, artists, and academics; the commitment of SAS to create a diverse intellectual environment both in-person and online that is accessible for (and to) a range of interdisciplinary audiences; and how to get involved in the society’s many activities, from its online blog animationstudies2.0 to its range of Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

**Fantasy/Animation theme tune composed by Francisca Araujo**

Osmosis Jones (2001) (with Tom Sito)

Osmosis Jones (2001) (with Tom Sito)

July 11, 2022

Episode 101 confronts the animated representation of disease and illness via Warner Brothers’ 2001 cel-animated/live-action hybrid Osmosis Jones (Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly, 2001), which tells the story of a white blood cell policeman who joins together with a cold pill to stop a deadly virus from destroying their human host. Joining Chris and Alex to talk about the film’s imaginative depictions of a body’s internal workings is Osmosis Jones’ animation director Tom Sito, a veteran of the Hollywood animation industry who has worked on numerous animated fantasy films at the Walt Disney, DreamWorks, and Warner Brothers studios, from Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and The Lion King (1994) to Shrek (2001) and Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003). Tom is currently Professor of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, and author of the books Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson (2006), Moving Innovation, A History of Computer Animation (2013), and, more recently, Eat, Drink, Animate: An Animator's Cookbook (2019) containing the food recipes of famous animators such as Walt Disney and Chuck Jones. Listen as they discuss the production of the animated sequences for Osmosis Jones and the industrial and aesthetic stakes of hybridity; celebrity voice acting, “audio discipline,” and how the film’s casting practices feed into its bi-racial buddy cop narrative; the creative representation of human biology as a bustling and hyper-modern urban space; the affordances of animation for shifting scales and fantastical perspectives; and how Osmosis Jones reveals the medium’s metaphorical abilities in allowing spectators to grasp the often intangible shape of things.

**Fantasy/Animation theme tune composed by Francisca Araujo**

Footnote #10 - Hybridity

Footnote #10 - Hybridity

July 4, 2022

The mixed media potential of animation is the subject of Footnote #10, which takes on hybridity via the combination of multiple animated styles, as well as the spectatorial effects that such blended images might conjure. From the earliest hybridised cartoons of the 1910s and the insertion of cel-animation into the Classical Hollywood musical to contemporary live-action/CG composites and the human/machine collision involved in motion-capture technology, hybridity defines animation’s unique visual perspectives as much as the medium’s own fantasy of interaction. But as Chris and Alex discover, to make any distinction between live-action and animation (as increasingly fuzzy categories) ultimately reveals more about the slippage between them than their separateness or contrasts as image-making forms.

**Fantasy/Animation theme tune composed by Francisca Araujo**

100th Episodes

100th Episodes

June 27, 2022

The Fantasy/Animation podcast reaches its centenary, so join Chris and Alex as they celebrate 100 episodes with a look back at some memorable televisual hundredths from the world of cartoon sitcoms. Listen as they discuss “Daddy's Little Beauty” (S4E12) from The Flintstones (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1960-1966), in which Fred enters Pebbles in a beauty contest for babies; The Simpsons (Matt Groening, 1989-) episode “Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song” (S5E19) where Principal Skinner is fired (and reinstated) with the unlikely help of Bart; the episode “Hank's Choice” S5E16) from King of the Hill (Mike Judge, 1997-) where Hank must decide between his love for son Bobby and Ladybird (the family pet dog); the South Park (Trey Parker & Matt Stone, 1997-) celebration “I’m a Little Bit Country” (S7E04) from 2003, which features a time travelling Cartman learning more about America’s Founding Fathers set against the backdrop of anti- and pro-war protests; and the 2007 Family Guy (Seth MacFarlane, 1999-) episode “Movin’ Out (Brian's Song)” (S6E02) featuring Brian and Stewie’s ill-fated attempts to live independently beyond the Griffin family home. Topics include the history of American television animation and post-war U.S. culture; the role of humour and satire in an increasingly satirical world; character design and fluctuating realist registers; narrative templates and intertextual referencing between canonical cartoons made for the small-screen; and the enduring role of the family and the home space within constructions of American national identity.

**Fantasy/Animation theme tune composed by Francisca Araujo**

Footnote #9 - Sword and Sorcery

Footnote #9 - Sword and Sorcery

June 20, 2022

The history and application of sword and sorcery - a term initially used to describe a wave of pre-Tolkien fantasy writing - is the latest subject for Chris and Alex in Footnote #9, which plots the relationship between this kind of ‘rough’ historical fiction and questions of world-building, magic, and myth. Topics include sword and sorcery’s origin story in the 1930s and links to the paperback revolution of short stories and cheap pulp fiction; its cinematic adaptations during the 1970s and 1980s from Conan the Barbarian to The Beastmaster; and the response to this sub-genre by Hollywood’s elite and what this meant for fantasy’s broader critical and cultural prestige.

**Fantasy/Animation theme tune composed by Francisca Araujo**

Your Name (2016) (Live at the British Film Institute)

Your Name (2016) (Live at the British Film Institute)

June 13, 2022

Episode 99 is a special instalment of the podcast recorded Live at the British Film Institute in London back in May 2022, with Chris and Alex joined by an audience of anime fans to discuss Your Name (Makoto Shinkai, 2016) as part of the BFI’s Anime season. Featuring an introduction to the artistry and creativity of anime, an examination of Your Name’s temporal loops and overlapping rhythms, and a lively Q&A with those gathered at the BFI’s Reuben Library, this episode features a conversation about writer/director Makoto Shinkai’s romantic animated fantasy - and its pleasures of longing - as protagonists Taki and Mitsuha magically and unexpectedly swap bodies across time and space. Topics for this episode include Japanese anime as a shifting and unstable category of animation, as well as both a local and global cultural phenomenon; the liminal spaces of Your Name as a film invested in temporality and mobility; non-Western traditions of fantasy storytelling and their desire to fracture logic and rationality; the cyclical/linear rhythms that structure the movement of Taki and Mitsuha across temporal (and historical) boundaries; the spectral quality to Shinkai’s handling of characters that ‘haunt’ multiple spaces; and what Your Name has to say about national culture in its two competing - and highly gendered - visions of Japan.

**Fantasy/Animation theme tune composed by Francisca Araujo**

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