My animated series How the World Went Mad premiered at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018 last week. The series takes a scientific – and satirical – look at at the topsy-turvey world of Donald Trump. Across five epsuodes – Diagnosis, Symptoms, Transmission, Epidemic, Cure – the audience is taken a journey through the annales of insane asylums across history, from bizarre Babylonnian rituals to the ‘hysterical women’ of 19th-century France to rise of freak show television in 1980s America. At each juncture, we learn a bit more about our own contemproary outbreak of crazy. Ha the world gone mad? Is reality television to blame? Why are crazy conspiracy theories on the rise? How do you cure a society gone mad? And what is madness anyway?
I spoke to Dangerous Minds about the genesis of the project and just where insanity stands in the world today. We also picked up a fantastic five-star review from David Reviews. You can see Episodes 1 and 2 on this post and the rest are available on Docsville.
At Sheffield Doc/Fest I also took part in the Craft Summit. I was on the panel Animated Documentary: Frame by Frame and talked about the new possibilities that animation holds for non-fiction storytelling.
This was the month that Freedom for the Wolf hit theatres in the United States. We had screenings at film festivals in Boulder, Atlanta, Sarasota, Detriot, and Cleveland. We had screenings outside the U.S., at the Human Rights Arts and Films Festival in Melbourne, Austrialia, the Solidarity Film Festival in Tel Aviv, Israel, and the Human Rights Film Festival in San Sebastian, Spain, where it was the opening night film. I’ve been busy this month prepping my next feature, so I was only able to make it down to San Sabastian. The screening was in this incredible historic theatre by occean. I also did an interview with Haaretz prior to our screening in Israel. We’ve gotten into 24 film festivals, and screened at 19 so far, and still more festivals are watching screeners – so more to come!
My photoshoot with charity fundraiser Jeffrey Long M.B.E. is out now in the FT Weekend. I had a lot of fun shooting this on medium format film with a Hasselblad. The images have an ethereal, dream like quality that only this film format and lens can give. It’s totally unique. Thanks to Missing Link Films for making it happen. See the full set of pictures here.
I had a busy February and March screening my feature documentary, Freedom for the Wolf, at human rights film festivals across Europe. We were honored to be the opening night film of the Human Rights Film Festival and Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. We screened the film and I did question and answer session with the audience right before the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, gave the keynote speech. It was an incredible experience to be there with the world’s leading human rights activists, diplomats, and experts. Freedom for the Wolf was the closing night film for the HUMANS Fest in Valencia, Spain. I also took part in a panel discussion on human rights and cinema. Last stop was Olso, where I hosted two screenings at the Human Rights, Human Wrongs Festival. This makes a great start to the films 2018 festival season: the documentary will playing in ten film festivals around the world in April.
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of working with CNN Digital Studios on “You Are Your Password.” It is a branded content documentary short on innovations in biometrics for the UK government’s ‘Welcome to Great Britain’ campaign. I created two animated commercials for the piece that show case the utopian potential of the technology as well as some of the dystopian risks as well. You can see the two commercials in this post, and the full documentary here.
My documentary feature, Freedom for the Wolf, won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the Slamdance Film Festival! This is such a great honour both to the film and the large team of people who sacrificed so much to make such an ambitious film a reality. The entire team are thrilled that the audience picked our film as the festival favorite as its shows that people are hungry for films that are idea-driven and tackle the big questions of our time. And we picked up a rave review from Slug Magazine:
The visuals are gorgeous, the message is powerful and the footage is at times heartbreaking, but all of these elements expose the truth about who is involved with protesting their leaders, what their reasons are for doing so and how these elected officials have been reacting to their cries.
I gave an interview to Resit Radio about the film and the current state of resistance politics in the U.S. and beyond, which you can listen to here. I also did an interview with Mountain Morning Show on Park City TV to promote our screenings.
Just returned from an intense week at IDFA: five screenings of Freedom for the Wolf and pitching a new project at the IDFA Forum. All five screenings sold out three days before the festival began, every theatre was packed, and the question and answer sessions were lively and fun. We got great reviews from Filmuforia, Dirty Movies, and made VICE‘s “top ten” docs of the festival. I gave an interview to the IDFA Daily about my transition from academia into filmmaking and I caught up with Dangerous Minds and gave an interview about how the stories in Freedom for the Wolf are progressing. And we released the trailer. On top of all that, we found out that the film will be screening at the Slamdance Film Festival in January 2018!
We had a screening of Freedom for the Wolf at the United Nations Associate Film Festival (UNAFF) hosted at Stanford University. The screening was in the very same building that we had interviewed Stanford professors Francis Fukuyama and Larry Dimond about the end of history, illiberal democracy, and the future of freedom. So when Francis Fukuyama joined us for the question and answer session after the screening, it really felt like the project had finished where it had started.
Had a wonderful time at the Warsaw Film Festival this weekend. Three screenings of Freedom for the Wolf, each with an extensive (hour long!) Question and Answer session. Lively debate about the meaning of freedom, the future of democracy, and how we can all make the world a better place. Really inspiring to be surrounded by so many idealistic people – young and old – who won’t accept the status quo and believe that they can build a better future for themselves and their children. We also picked up a great review from the festival written by Vladan Petkovic at Cineuropa:
Freedom for the Wolf is an indispensable documentation of the current tumult around the world, thoroughly researched, convincing and surprisingly enlightening. It shows us the depth of events unfolding with increasing speed, so much so that another such film may be needed very soon.