Looking back at a busy Autumn – and a busy December!

Greetings Filmspotters!

Sorry for the silence. We’ve had a busy few months since the last post (all the way back in Autumn!). We’ve been busy with screenings and workshops across Sussex!

In September, we were delighted to revisit the ICE Field in Isfield, where we ran a fun stop motion workshop at their Arts & Crafts market, creating a short film called ‘Fish’, with the help of some young animators. We screened the rough cut of the film at our marquee screening of Spielberg’s classic, ‘Jaws’ that evening. The final edit of the film is being tweaked at the moment, but will be live on our YouTube channel by the end of the year. Keep your eyes on our blog for updates.

Preparations for our 'Fish' workshop in Isfield - the film will be available soon on our YouTube channel!

Preparations for our ‘Fish’ workshop in Isfield – the film will be available soon on our YouTube channel!

This year we took part in Scalarama during September, with a presentation of ‘The Cabinet of Dr Caligari’ at Fabrica, with a stunning live semi-improved score by Partial Facsimile. The screening was a total sell-out, and there was a fantastic atmosphere!

We had a short break until the mid-October, when we ran an exciting ‘Big Draw’ workshop at Arts@TheCrypt in Seaford. We used cut out animation to recreate, with the help of local children and families, Halas & Batchelor’s short animation, ‘The Owl and The Pussycat’. The final film is in the editing studio at the moment, but expect to see it on our YouTube channel by the end of December. We are also planning a screening of ‘Animal Farm’, with introduction by Vivien Halas, in the gallery in 2016. Once the date is confirmed, details will be posted here and on the Filmspot website.

Participants creating their 'cut out puppets' for our Big Draw 'Owl and the Pussycat' workshop at Arts@TheCrypt in Seaford

Participants creating their ‘cut out puppets’ for our Big Draw ‘Owl and the Pussycat’ workshop at Arts@TheCrypt in Seaford

Participants learning about Stop Motion animation at Arts@TheCrypt in Seaford, part of our 'Big Draw' event.

Participants learning about Stop Motion animation at Arts@TheCrypt in Seaford, part of our ‘Big Draw’ event.

We are continuing with our series of screenings at Isfield Village Hall, our most recent event in October, with a screening of ‘Animal Farm’ introduced by Vivien Halas, who gave a fascinating insight into her parents’ work.

This December, we have two events to round-off a very successful 2015:

Filmspot CMPCA Pop Up Cinema Club present

An American in Paris

Friday 4 December, doors 6.45pm
Tickets £7, advance booking essential
Email info@lja.uk.com or telephone 01273 328683 for tickets
Tickets include a glass of mulled wine

Vincente Minnelli’s An American in Paris is one of the most elegant, colourful and fun of the MGM musicals from the 1950s, it features Gene Kelly as a cheerful ex-GI, called Jerry Mulligan, struggling as a penniless  artist in Paris. His world is turned upside down when he meets the enchanting Lise Bouvier, played by a young Leslie Caron in her screen debut, and at the same time attracts the attention of a rich American heiress, who is interested in more than just his paintings!

Featuring classic songs by George and Ira Gershwin, and some of the most decadent choreography routines on film, this promises to be a fun evening: served up with the usual Filmspot CMPCA Pop Up Cinema Club festive cheer!
Here’s the trailer:

Isfield Village Hall and Filmspot present

Paddington and White Christmas

Saturday 12 December at Isfield Village Hall
Paddington 2.45pm; White Christmas 6.45pm
Tickets £6 per film (£12 for family of four
– 1 child free with each paying adult
Email info@isfieldvillagehall.org.uk to book
We are delighted to be presenting a family matinee screening of favourite bear, Paddington, in this recent motion picture adaptation of Michael Bond’s beloved books. Featuring an all-star cast, and state of the art animation, this delightful film will appeal to all ages.
In the evening, join us for a real festive classic – White Christmas. Featuring Irving Berlin’s unforgettable music, as well as splendid musical routines from the four stars – Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, nothing could be better for getting you in the mood for Christmas!
Here are the trailers for both films!:

We hope to see you at one of our events in December – and also wish you a very merry Christmas!

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A night at the opera with Filmspot

Hello Filmspotters!
We are getting tuned up and ready for our screening of Mike Leigh’s delightful ‘Topsy Turvy’ this Saturday at Isfield Village Hall (6.45pm for 7pm screening, tickets £6 on the door, including wine and nibbles!). Telling the story of Gilbert and Sullivan while they were creating ‘The Mikado’, it has got us in the mood for opera!

Here are a few of our favourite opera-related films
Tales of Hoffman (1951)


We are huge fans of Powell and Pressburger here at Filmspot HQ. In this sumptuous adaptation of Offenbach’s fantasy opera, they brought together many of the team who worked on ‘The Red Shoes’. Their audatious, theatrical style works beautifully. Celebrated director Cecil B Demille is said to have written ‘For the first time in my life, I was treated to Grand Oepra where the beauty, power and scope of the music was equally matched by the visual presentation’.

The Magic Flute (1975)


Considerably lightly than many of this director’s other works, Ingmar Bergman has created an adaptation of one of Mozart’s best-loved works that is undeniably his own: a celebration of love, forgiveness, and the brotherhood of man.
Rigoletto (1993)

A shortened telling of Verdi’s masterpiece – the only criticism of this exquisite rendering of the opera is that its 30 minute run time does not do it justice. That said, it is too beautiful to overlook – Barry Purves is the master of detailed stop motion animation, sadly less known than he should be outside the animation world.
Ruddigore (1964)


British studio Halas & Batchelor’s take on Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘Ruddigore’ is notably the first UK animated TV special, as well as being the first operetta to be animated. Made with the co-operation of the D’Oyle Carte Opera Company, who provide the voices, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, who provide the music, it tells the story of a line of British baronets are cursed to commit a crime every day…or die!
Night at the Opera (1935)

Ok, possibly not an ‘opera film’ as such, but we had to include the Marx Brothers hilarious farce, in which they sabotage an opening night of an opera. A box office smash, the film is also considered to be one of the Marx Brothers’ finest films, being selected for inclusion in the US National Film Registry in 1993.

We hope to see you at Isfield Village Hall this Saturday!

The Halas & Batchelor Archive

As readers of this blog will be aware, we have a very special screening coming up this Friday (22 July) at St Nicholas Church, Brighton. We will be presenting Halas & Batchelor’s Œ’Animal Farm’, with a short talk from the filmmakers’ daughter, Vivien Halas (booking details below).

In preparation of this, the Filmspot team asked Vivien to pick out three of her highlights from the Halas & Batchelor Archive, which she recently donated to the BFI. This collection of film prints, stills, scripts, papers and original cells, forms the largest single donation of British animation to the institute, and features many gems.

Automania 2000 (1963)


A satirical and prophetic short film, directed by John Halas and written by Joy Batchelor, Automania 2000 presents the future, as they predicted in 1963. It has turned out to be worryingly accurate, portraying consumerism gone mad. It won a British Academy Award and was nominated for an Oscar.

Symphony Orchestra (1964)
From a series of short films made for the BBC entitled Tales from Hoffnung based on the drawings of artist and musician, Gerard Hoffnung. Packed full of witty visual gags, it depicts an orchestra giving a performance to end all performances!
History of the cinema (1957)
Paying tribute to, as well as parodying, Hollywood tradition, this short was one of John Halas personal favourites. He co-wrote the film with Nicholas Spargo, who went on to pen Willo The Wisp. It was included in the annual Royal Command Performance.
All of these films are available on the DVD which is included with Vivien’s informative and richly illustrated book, ŒHalas and Batchelor Cartoons. It gives Vivien’s personal account of her parents, alongside critical insights by Paul Wells, Richard Holliss and Jim Walker, and includes a foreword by Nick Park.

FILMSPOT SCREENING OF ŒAnimal Farm (1954), with introductory talk from Vivien
Halas

Friday 2nd July, 7.30pm St Nicholas Church, Brighton
Tickets £7 (£5 concession)
Available from Brighton Ticket Shop (www.brightonticketshop.co.uk)
Part of the CMP Festival

Screenings at the CMP Festival 2011

We’re working with CMP Festival again this year. We’re presenting two films as part of their programme, at St Nick’s in Brighton: Animal Farm and The Prince and the Showgirl. Details will go live next weekend, but for now, here are the trailers to whet your appetite!

The Prince and the Showgirl, featuring the ever voluptuous Marilyn and former Brighton resident (oh, and screen icon!), Laurence Olivier:


Animal Farm by the British pioneers of animation, Halas & Batchelor:

We’re working on further screenings later in the year. If you have any special requests or suggestions for Filmspot events in the future, do get in touch.