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TNBFC XPO Debuts FLAMIN Animation Artist Projects

The shorts premiered at TNBFC’s XPO in London, showcasing Black creatives; applications now open through May 27 for program’s 4th round.

Film London’s FLAMIN Animations projects recently premiered at The New Black Film Collective’s (TNBFC) XPO at Rich Mix, London. Film London, an event partner, presented a keynote speech from Head of Skills Babak Jani, presentations from London’s Screen Archives’ Undocumented project and Games London’s Ensemble, as well as workshops run by Film London’s Equal Access Network.

Applications for FLAMIN Animations fourth round are now open through May 27; information is available here. Selected applicants will receive £3,000 funding to create a two to three-minute animation, in addition to a workshop program with animation professionals and one-to-one support from the FLAMIN team. Run by Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network (FLAMIN) and supported by Arts Council England, FLAMIN Animations is a commissioning program for early-career Black-identifying* artist animators living in the U.K. The program is part of Film London’s ongoing commitment to respond to the underrepresentation of Black artists within the art, film, and animation industries.

Yasmine Djedje-Fisher-Azoume, Folake Fadojutimi, Gisela Mulindwa, and Duncan Senkumba screened new animations and work-in-progress after receiving funding, development support, and mentoring during the 2023-24 FLAMIN Animations program. Previous FLAMIN animators presented at last year’s TNBFC XPO also had work exhibited on the Piccadilly Lights as part of CIRCA x Dazed, at B3 Biennial of the Moving Image in Frankfurt, Edinburgh International Film Festival, and the London International Animation Festival.

“FLAMIN Animations has enabled me to deeply explore themes that are important to me without judgement,” said Mulindwa. “I was free to experiment while refining the techniques that excite me in animation, and support from FLAMIN gave me the opportunity to work with archives, which was a really interesting new experience for me. Having the space to discuss my ideas with the FLAMIN team helped me to push the film further and develop my practice – I am excited to see where I can take it next!”

The work showcased at TNB XPO highlights techniques ranging from experimental approaches to character-driven narratives. The new commissions feature photographic collage, charcoal drawings, and animation made with hand-embossed copper sheets.

Anybody Inc., by Fadojutimi, is a science-fiction short that sees artificial intelligence as an amorphous blob that reshapes itself in the mold of society’s prejudices. An allegorical look into the future that responds to acute concerns of today, this playful film presents a timely warning about the unpredictable and unsettling power of technology. 

Dédé, by Djedje-Fisher-Azoume is an expressive response to the artist’s heritage, drawing upon the spiritual iconography of the Bété people and other tribal groups in the Ivory Coast. It explores the figure of the divine female in West African sculpture, translating forms found in wooden and bronze sculpture into animation through charcoal drawing and frame-by-frame relief engraving on copper.

Start with a Place, by Mulindwa, used archival sound from the 1960s – 1980s, revealing how decades of gentrification have transformed areas of south London beyond recognition. Created with photographs taken by the artist in Brixton, Croydon, and Peckham, the film is a collaged snapshot that exposes the deep roots of a crisis that is continuing to price local people out of the capital.

Mother Tongue by Senkumba, a loving portrait of Uganda, leads the viewer on an animated journey through city streets and wild landscapes to explore the fine balance between urban life and the natural world, from the bustle of Kampala’s markets to the rolling hills of the country’s national parks.

‘‘It’s fantastic to see FLAMIN Animations support another talented cohort of Black artist animators,” said Film London and the British Film Commission chief executive Adrian Wootton. “Folake, Yasmine, Gisela, and Duncan have excelled in producing an exciting slate of new films, utilizing a vivid range of approaches to animation. The program demonstrates the importance of supporting emerging artists from underrepresented backgrounds in the U.K. and the vast potential of next-generation creative talent that we must continue to develop.”

Continued Wootton, “I’m delighted to see the 2023-24 FLAMIN Animations commissions premiere at the TNB XPO again this year, within an exciting line-up of additional Film London activity throughout the week. As a Principal Partner of the XPO, we look forward to showcasing our work in Skills, Games, Archive and more, as part of our ongoing commitment to diversify our screen industries and increase opportunities to people from all backgrounds in the capital.’’

Film London’s Equal Access Network presented on mental health and resilience in the screen industries; the group also ran a series of focused industry workshops throughout the week. The Equal Access Network team has worked closely with TNBFC to deliver the XPO’s Black Market, a new interactive space for organizations and freelancers to engage with emerging industry talent.

Games London is also presenting on Ensemble, an annual showcase of U.K. video game talent from Black, Asian, and underrepresented ethnicities.

Additional information on Film London’s activities, including FLAMIN Animations, Film London’s Equal Access Network, or London’s Screen Archives, is available here.

Source: Film London

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.