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3_Animation and Non-Fiction In Process

Research 3.2: Animated documentaries

Watch some animated documentaries and consider the relationship between image and voice-over and the creative decisions the animator has made to help reinforce messages or meanings within the pieces.
Write short reflections for two animations with accompanying screenshots,
making comparisons between the two. As a starting point watch the animated documentaries below, or find your own examples:

Ainsley Hendersen, It’s about Spending Time Together (2010)

Broomberg and Chanarin, Bureaucracy of Angels (2017)

Broomberg and Chanarin’s animated video is narrated by the hydraulic jaws of the digger that was used to destroy migrant boats that had arrived in Porto Pozallo, Sicily carrying refugees from North Africa. The artists filmed the rescue missions by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) foundation off the coast of Libya as well as the destruction of the boats left to decay once the migrant journeys have been made, in a vast shipping graveyard in Porto Pozallo. The film is narrated by the hydraulic jaws of the digger charged with the job of destroying these boats, tearing them apart into their constituent parts of timber and metal, a process that took forty days to complete. The digger appears in the narrow corridors of the boat yard, on the open sea and in the midst of a rescue operation off the coast of Libya, as a Cantastoria or ‘singing storyteller’, recounting the Sicilian ballad Terra ca nun senti. The song speaks of the fear and pain associated with immigration to and from Europe’s most southerly territory over the last 150 years. The commission was shown within King’s Cross St. Pancras station in a location close to the exit of the Eurostar, a passageway between the UK and greater Europe, embedding the work within the station and enabling it to be shown to a transient audience. In order for the film to be powerful, it seems important that the digital reconstruction of the digger is meticulously accurate and that the boat yard and rescue operation in the film uses documentary footage rather than constructed on a film set. The ‘footprint’ of the camera or digital image becomes more complicated and seems to gain more power as it plays with our knowing disbelief (that the jaws of a digger can sing) and our belief in the reality of the scene (rendered visually seamless using 3D animation software, lighting and editing).


Tim Webb, A is for Autism (1992)

Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman, Last Day of Freedom (2015)

Christoff Steiger, Jeffery and the Dinosaurs (2017):