Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn: BBC Olympics 2008 Monkey Movie & Monkey Bee

Jamie Hewlett (artist) and Damon Albarn (musician) first came to my attention through their work for the animated group, Gorillaz. Then there was their two minute trailer for the BBC Olympics 2008 Monkey Movie. Based on Chinese folklore, “Journey to the West”, the monkey and his companions make their spectacular and battling way to the Olympic stadium to end up amidst the flames in the culmination of their "epic quest for enlightenment". The contrast between Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy and the lush scenery and special effects was marked I felt: comic book and awesome. I guess it was something of this ilk that I expected when viewing Jamie's latest video, Monkey Bee. Based on the opera, Monkey: Journey To The West, that has been quite well received for its circus style mix of music, spectacle and animation. I had, I confess, hoped for the fantasy-style of Jamie's gorgeous album illustrations. Instead one is treated to an essentially live action drama with animated backgrounds and special effects. The mix is also seen in its derivation with its Chinese culture, the old 1970's Monkey series (which I couldn't stand at the time), Michael Jackson's Thriller video and the battle scenes from Lord of the Rings. It also offers an opportunity for a competition which I will pass on. (For further details visit the Competition Page.)

"Welcome to the Monkey Bee video remix contest. When the creative geniuses behind "Monkey: Journey To The West" were asked about the next step in the journey of the most ambitious live-action, 70s-Chinese-spaghetti-western-inspired, 3:45 minute action film ever created, its creators simply replied, "Take it to the people!" And that's exactly what we are doing. We are giving you a trove of clips, backdrops, green screens and visuals straight from the editor's suite and allowing you to create your own version of the Monkey Bee film. Once you are done with your video, upload it to our contest-specific YouTube Channel and wait for it to be judged by none other than Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. We have 66 available clips in our video gallery and you can download whichever you like into the video editor of choice. If you are lucky enough to be making your art with the help of Final Cut Studio 2, we will be providing pre-packaged Final Cut Pro 6 project files. These project files include beautiful, high-resolution Apple ProRes clips to get you started quickly and will be available from Monday 3rd of November.
DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES IS DECEMBER 1. If you have questions, visit the FAQ on the
YouTube contest page."

Worth the visit for an innovative competition alone.

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