Thursday, 24 July 2008

Selina Wagner "A Knotty Escapade", "Feeling Ropy" & "Hair of the Dog"

Selina Wagner (née Cobley following her marriage to Jason Wagner) is one of the UK’s most talented young animators. I reviewed her exquisite Crow Moon in November. Her latest three part animation is a commercial movie commissioned by Ardbeg, ("the Ultimate Single Islay Malt Scotch Whisky") a distillery on Islay, off the West Coast of Scotland. A Knotty Escapade is the first of three chapters of the stirring adventure of Breckan, an Viking prince - and Shortie the Jack Russell - who brave the savage Corryvreckan whirlpool in a mission to woo a princess whose father has decreed that he spend three days in the whirlpool. Anchored to the sea by three cables, one of hemp, one of wool and one from a maiden's hair, the pair survive the first two days. To a stirring and onomatopoeic narration we discover in three chapters whether or not the voyagers will triumph against adversity. Legend goes that Prince Breckan was condemned to a watery grave beneath the whirlpool. Surely not. Surely the plaited cable of hair, a symbol of purity and innocence for the Norwegian maiden who supplied it, will withstand the surges of the ocean in the world's third largest whirlpool. The screenshots reveal the style, not dissimilar to yesterday's offering in truth, bold white on a black canvas with a decidely 3D sea. Selina was working in association with Greenroom Films although she freelances for a number of international companies. Originally from a small holding in the islands of Orkney, Selina is a comparatively recent graduate (2002) of the Edinburgh College of Art. There is a YouTube version of Selina's film and her website has other links to her varied work. A thriving community of animators exist in Scotland. Judge from this trailer for a collaborative venture between Duncan of Jordanstone College of Arts and Design and Abertay University, under the leadership of writer/director Gili Dolev, who have created an animated pop-up book: The Happy Duckling. Jason meanwhile deserves a post all of his own and I shall endeavour to do that shortly.

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