Selina Cobley

"Crow Moon" (2006)

Crow Moon was directed in 2006 by Selina Cobley, a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art. It is based on a North American myth in which a flock of crows are so terrified by the onset of dusk and its predators that they call on the services of Raven Chief to conjure up a moon to save them. (I believe the fable is a native American one about the time when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter.) Crow Moon really is a remarkable film; I would call it beautiful, with silky whites and shadowy blacks - the black ravens with highlights tinged in white. When the moon appears it is a bowl of light, at once a refuge and aesthetically perfect. Selina has orchestrated the inhabitants of her world into patterns, with the threats abstract and the birds themselves beautiful in flight and yet possessing of a curiously endearing quality particularly when perched or moving on the ground. The original music by Leila Dunn is generally percussive, at once both ethnic and modern; and synchronised to the music exactly. Selina has her own website, whilst her movie can be viewed in full here. She provides detail of the techniques she used to create the unusual shimmering quality of light in the movie, including using oil and paint and some "scrunched up bits of tin foil" as well as studio lighting. Sponsorship for the film was obtained via the UK Film Council, BBC Scotland and The Arts Trust of Scotland. Should you have enjoyed Selina's movie you can treat yourself to a further nicely animated tale, the 60 second Beachcomber, alongside her longer work that she herself has placed on YouTube. I have seen Beachcomer before though I am unable to recall in what context. Her work is an absolute delight and after surveying some Czech wonders over the past few days it is pleasing to see new talent emerge nearer home - which, by the way, leads me to some of Ian Mackinnon’s work I have just been viewing, kindly sent to me on DVD. More about that at the weekend. There’s some talent about in the UK at the moment. (via)

"Takuskanskan" (2002)

This endearing animated short about the life-cycle of a cloud and those who come into contact with it is engaging and enjoyable.

In Dakotan North American Indian mythology Takuskanskan was a wind spirit or trickster. He comes across as quite a nice guy here and the impressionistic-looking pastel animation gives Cobley's short a real feeling of movement which makes it easy to imagine yourself being carried along on the wind with the action. She also strikes a neat balance retaining a primal feel despite the film's pretty animation.

Aided by a lilting and uplifting guitar soundtrack by Dirk Markham and Ross Taylor this short and sweet innovative animation leaves you wishing there was more of it. (via)

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