Simon Pummell 
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"The angelic figures here seemed at times to struggle free of the lines that formed them, blurring beyond their outlines in a way that made you re-think the description of artist's capturing their subjects" The Independent
"One of the most striking offerings is 'Secret Joy'...inspired by fifteenth century paintings of the Annunciation" Time Out
"This eerie essay in light and dark is immensely suggestive... ...delicately perched on the fine line between pure abstraction and implied narrative, it also has a disturbingly erotic edge." Best C4 Animation of the last 10 Years. Br. Animation Week.


Synopsis
A re-telling of the annunciation story which blurs the sacred and the profane. The film combines many different optical film techniques with an exploration of drawing the human body which breeds Mickey Mouse with Michelangelo.

Notes
Notes I made at the time say,
‘Explore the possibility of using the rigid/plastic tension in the body as the basis of animation. Use the skeletal structure of the body to rework Disney’s plasticity. Opposition is the essence of anatomical basisi of movement; rigidity and flexibility allow systems of leverage. It is in the possibility of simultaneous precision and flux the problems and potentials lie.'

The drawing technique stole liberally from traditional draughtsmanship as well as cartoon animation. I particularly tried to explore the aspect of incompleteness in animation drawings‚ that aspects of a form might be drawn in detail in one drawing and ebb away in following drawing, the emphasis in the drawing following the through line of the action. This was an idea Bill Tytla explores in his rough pencil tests of the Seven dwarves but that was destroyed by the later paint and trace process.
Technically the I restricted myself to very simple tools for the drawn animation in the film. Graphite pencils and 90 micron 15 field animation paper. The drawings were heavily worked over and stacked on a lightbox for the shooting. I shot the footage to reflect the way an animator looks at their work in progress, leaving varying numbers of sheets of paper on the lightbox at any one time, adding a sheet to the top, losing one from the back of the pile. It is this that gives the diffusion and softness to the lines.
Other sections of the film were created with an initial shadow puppet, the shadow shot through translucent paper to give the grain and texture of paper. The shadows were shot on an old Nikon with a zoom lens and a motor drive, and printed up and pegged. The shadow puppet was a real bird skeleton with tiny flexible brass joints inset into each bone. (This tricky work was done by Ian Nicholas a furniture restorer and craftsman who has also worked on many of the films of the Brother’s Quay. The joints would wear out quite quickly and for the later Butchers Hook we developed a more modular system for each joint so it could be replaced as it wore out.)

The whole film was prepared as artwork, with each shadow being printed on photographic paper and treated as drawing, with similar stacking and backlighting to create depth and texture.The whole film was shot an a traditional 35mm rostrum camera with a simple multiplane set up. Developing a multiplane you could shoot backlit was quite tricky.. The whole film is backlit and there are always multiple layers of drawings. There is never a clear toplit surface the drawing sits ‚on’.


Awards & Nominations
Grand Prize. Oberhausen Festival.
Best Experimental Film. Stuttgart Festival.
Nominated for the European MEDIA 'Cartoon d'Or'.
















Financier
Channel Four Television

Website
www.pummell.com

Year
1991

Script
Simon Pummell

Cinematography
Curis Radclyffe/Isabelle Perichon

Sound Editing
Larry Sider

Music
Annabelle Pangborn

Producer
Keith Griffiths

Production Company
Koninck Films C/O
Illuminations Television
19-20 Rheidol Mews
Rheidol Terrace
Islington
London N1 8UN
United Kingdom
T +44 207 288 8400
F +44 207 359 1151
E mail@illumin.co.uk
W www.illumin.co.uk
Distributor
Illuminations Television
19-20 Rheidol Mews
Rheidol Terrace
Islington
London N1 8UN
United Kingdom
T +44 207 288 8400
F +44 207 359 1151
E mail@illumin.co.uk
W www.illumin.co.uk
International Sales
Koninck Films C/O
Illuminations Television
19-20 Rheidol Mews
Rheidol Terrace
Islington
London N1 8UN
United Kingdom
T +44 207 288 8400
F +44 207 359 1151
E mail@illumin.co.uk
W www.illumin.co.uk
Length
11’

Secret Joy Of Falling Angels

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