On clay and body boundaries in FLM

FLM writes about clay animation, Judith Butler and the boundaries between object and subject; and about us. Although the article mistakenly assumes The Weapon to be made in clay, its description of the threat of dissolving body parts is far too familiar to us after countless hours of melting vaseline fixatives and lost eyelids. Here an excerpt in English:

In clay film, [body] boundaries are always under the threat of dissolution. An eye can slip to the cheek, the stomach slide down to sex organs and knees, and the legs can disappear into the ground.

It is thus a bit surprising that the new clay [sic!] animation The Weapon, directed by Markus Amalthea Magnuson, Mattias Valenca and Sandra Valenca, takes place in something as clinically sterilized as a space station in a folkhemmet-looking future. But at the space ship Minerva, people are quite human. They fry clay eggs (and comment on the eggs’ fake nature), pick on each other, fight and cry clay tears, elevating the abject to an astronomical level.

As impressive as the detailness of the animation, is the producers’ marketing strategy. How many short films produced with tiny budgets, far from established production companies, get a review by Gunnar Bergdahl in  Helsingborgs Dagblad?

Note: Gunnar Bergdahl is a well-known Swedish film critic and the former head of Göteborg International Film Festival; the most important film festival in the Nordic countries.

Sorry for the lousy translation, FLM is really to be read in Swedish.

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Portello River Film Festival

We are very proud to have been selected for the Portello River Film Festival in Padova, Italy, where The Weapon will be screened in the animation section on July 18th, along with films by Swedish animation veterans such as Johan Hagelbäck. We hope to post more information on this as soon as possible.

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Review in Helsingborgs Dagblad

We got a review in Helsingborgs Dagblad, enthusiastic about The Weapon and its do-it-yourself-mentality. We couldn’t agree more, the possibilities today are astronomical compared to just five or ten years ago. Go make a film!

Vapnet – en berättelse om tidens gång

Rating: 3/5
ANIMATED SHORTFILM, Sweden 2009. Direction: Markus Amalthea Magnuson, Mattias Valenca, Sandra Valenca. Length: 29 min. (Nattlek)

DVD. Ipred-laws and pirate trials obscure the huge possibilities of the Net. “The Weapon – A Tale of Passing Time” is a prime example.

With voluntary payment, anyone can download this little Swedish animated film made by some young enthusiasts in Sandviken. In this case the Net is a possibility – not a threat! The film itself is remarkably well-made. The story is grandiose like a copy-protected Hollywood product. Three astronauts in a future space station and with a deadly weapon aboard, that is to be activated by new orders from head quarters. A discussion ensues about the individual’s responsibility.

I had possibly wished for additional resources to hire actors that weren’t so young. But the initiative and willpower to make a film in this difficult genre is in itself a sign of a new dawn. And with a large set of translated subtitles the goal is set for world distribution. Be strong! A different (film) world is possible!

You don’t believe me? Head straight to nattlek.se/vapnet!

Article by Gunnar Bergdahl

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The Weapon short review by Allix Davis

Film lover Allix Davis have written a short review of The Weapon, available at his blog. We really appreciate the attention!

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A Film For Peace Festival

We are happy to announce that The Weapon has been selected for the competing section of the Un Film Per La Pace festival in Medea, Italy. Only two films from Sweden were selected, so we feel quite honored to participate. We will keep you posted as soon as we have more information.

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DVD and download available now

The Weapon is now available on DVD, and as a download. Get a physical or digital copy now, and be sure to tell all your friends about it! This is the official release of our film, following the release party last Saturday; it’s yours now.

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(Information in Swedish below.)

Vi kan knappt själva tro att det är sant, men efter alla dessa år har faktiskt dagen kommit då vi stolt kan presentera filmen Vapnet – en berättelse om tidens gång. Ni är ett antal människor som på olika sätt hjälpt oss att förverkliga denna film, och ett ännu större antal som visat stort intresse. Nu är ni alla välkomna på den definitiva releasefesten lördagen den 23 maj, se flyer för mer information:

Vapnet releasefest!

Att hitta från Albano till Smedjan är också enkelt, men för säkerhets skull kan du kolla en karta här.

Väl mött på lördagen!

Nattlek, med kumpaner.

(P.S. Filmen kommer också att finnas till försäljning på DVD. D.S.)

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DVD and Drömfabriken

Yesterday we finally handed in the DVD master disc for print, very soon you will be able to buy The Weapon on DVD, including subtitles in many languages.

Today means opening day for Drömfabriken, three days of inspiration for young filmmakers like us. If the weather is sunny (which it looks like through the window right now) there will be plenty of picnic at Gärdet, come meet us there and talk animation and all that stuff.

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Follow-up on The Weapon in Arbetarbladet

As a follow-up to their previous article (see this page) about us, Arbetarbladet did a small interview with Markus over the phone. The resulting article was published a couple of weeks ago, here is an English transcript:

Their two-year-project is premiering next week

For two years the film makers lived in an apartment in Björksätra, working on their animated short film. Now it is finished and next week it is screened at the film festival X9 in Gävle.

– It’s going to be exciting to hear what people think, says Markus Magnuson

Two years ago, Arbetarbladet wrote about the three film makers Sandra Valenca, Sam Carlshamre and Markus Magnuson, who moved from Stockholm to Sandviken to minimize living costs, isolate themselves and work uninterrupted on their film project.

– People thought we were so ambitious who moved from everything and everyone we knew to make a film. It was not really about ambition, but to solve some practical problems; like lowering our costs for example, says Markus.

Two years were spent on filming the animated science fiction film The Weapon in their apartment in Björksätra, in late autumn they finished and left Sandviken. Since then they have done post production work, and as late as two days ago they could finally consider the film finished – in time for the premiere screening in Gävle at the 19th of March.

– It’s the first time we show it to someone who hasn’t been involved in the film. But those who have seen it think it is lovely, very detailed and solid.

What are you currently working on then?

– Sandra is involved in a documentary about the students’ farce at KTH. We are also discussing a zombie musical set at Gotland. We are not lacking ideas, but no one is very interested in making another animation at this point.

Article by Josefin Nygren

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Really nice review in Gefle Dagblad

Gefle Dagblad published a really nice review of The Weapon, after having visited our screening earlier this week, where they also did a short interview with Sandra. Here is a transcript of the interview in English:

Well-made Weapon

The artist and animator Johan Löfström have arranged short film evenings at Kulturkiosken since last autumn. Johan’s main interest is the creative craft of ”real” animations in clay and paper. He talks enthusiastically about animation workshops that will hopefully happen in the future. He is also networking internationally (look this way, municipality of Gävle!), collaborating with animation schools in Vancouver and Zagreb among other places, screening films from these. Everything is managed on a zero budget, good contacts and lots of time and effort makes it work, in the premises of IDKA.

Now, end of season in a full screening house, at the premiere of the puppet film The Weapon. Only those truly devoted maniacs are into animation, and this film’s slightly mad history of origin is worth an article in itself.

The short story: the creators moved from Stockholm to Sandviken, rented a cheap apartment and recorded the film in their living room. They planned for one year but it turned into three years of low budget life, oddjobs and at times 24 hour work with the film. They did not know much before starting either, most of the knowledge came from books and the internet. It was a hard and creative challenge, which made the whole thing very rewarding. Soon they got in contact with IDKA and Film Gävleborg who have both given a tremendous support.

Everything except the puppets’ skeletons is home made: puppets, sets, music, sound, everything. The trio also stress that the project would have been harded to go through with in Stockholm, where business talk and the struggle for attention get in the way. Our praises to Gävleborg!

The film is a mix of science fiction, French talkative films of the 60’s, and puppet animation. It takes place on the space station Minerva, where the three astronauts Lorenzo, Augustine and Lydia work. New orders are deployed, the weapon on board is to be armed. During the film’s 25 minutes, large questions of responsibility, alienation, power and lack thereof are discussed. The future looks like the past, despite of all the technology, man is still tiny in the vast star-filled darkness. A clever story with a twist at the end. Everything is very well-made, the puppets are expressive with big eyes and their grotesque mouths well in sync with the speech. The atmospheric music is sparsely used. Another source of atmosphere and presence are the small details, like a chess board, water pouring from the tap, tears, fried eggs and laced sheets. Kitchen design and radio in brown wood, as if straight from the 60’s, as is the feeling of isolated terrace houses. The film is soon to be release on Pirate Bay and DVD, payment is voluntary.

The evening started out with 15 minutes of mixed short films: computer-game-like skeleton fights, western with failed escapes, comical children’s film, a graffiti-painting godess at Rådhustorget, furious psychedelia and a beautifully handdrawn animation in black and white 70’s style. All of the films were made by students at the Creative Computer Graphics programme at Gävle university.

Article by Camilla Dal

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