SIMON PUMMELL




In his comprehensive survey, ANIMATION: A WORLD HISTORY (2017)  Giannalberto Bendazzi gives Pummell a significant place in the development of UK animation and describes his work as “crossing the boundaries of traditional animation; making films that turn on the anxiety caused by having a physical body and the need to find one’s self in a world of new technologies.” 

Pummell initially made an international reputation as an animator with a series of films for United Kingdom’s Channel Four TV. In this period, he combined old-school analogue animation techniques with sophisticated digital and optical effects to create such films as:  SECRET JOY OF FALLING ANGELS that won the Grand Prix at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival, and was nominated for the Cartoon d'Or European Animated Film of the Year and BUTCHERS HOOK that won British Animation Award for most creative use of new technologies.

His first feature film BODYSONG was a BAFTA and BIFA winning project that used found footage to depict an archetypal life story built out of hundreds of archival clips taken from across 100 years of cinema: the film was the first film scored by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. 

Pummell’s second feature film SHOCK HEAD SOUL premiered in the Orizzonti Competition at the Venice Film Festival in 2011, seamlessly combined drama, documentary and elaborate animation to create a portrait of Daniel Paul Schreber, the celebrated 19th Century outsider artist.  

His most recent science fiction film IDENTICALS premiered in competition in Edinburgh International Film Festival 2015, and was selected for the “Best of the Festival” after-screenings.  This dramatisation of multiple identities and looping lives explored the boundaries of science fiction, and was subsequently launched in the USA by the Hollywood major Samuel Goldwyn films and Sony Home Entertainment.

In recent years, Pummell has continued to make animated films, showing them as moving image installations at major art museums including TENT Rotterdam, Boijmans Museum Rotterdam, M HKA Antwerp, KASK Gent, Carpenter Centre Harvard and The Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Major museums that have screened his work include: Tate Gallery, ICA London, EYE Film-Museum Amsterdam, Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

In 2017, Pummell’s film prints and complete working archive (the record of more than a dozen animated short films, three feature films and associated installation work) was acquired by the EYE Film Museum Amsterdam for permanent preservation.  

Pummell is currently an Associate Research Professor and the Director of the Lens-Based Media Programme at the Piet Zwart Institute for Graduate Research and Study, WdKA, Rotterdam University.  For two years (2007-2009) he was a visiting professor at Harvard University VES, where he was awarded a Harvard Film Study Center Fellowship, and nominated for the prestigious university-wide Levenson Teaching Award.

Pummell is currently developing two new feature-film screenplays FIGHT and THE PIPER AFFAIR through Hot Property Films UK, the production company he set up with producing partner Janine Marmot in 1995.



FEATURE FILMS

IDENTICALS:  2016  (writer, director)

   

IDENTICALS premiered in competition in Edinburgh International Film Festival 2015, and was selected for the “Best of the Festival” after-screenings.  This dramatisation of multiple identities and looping lives explored the boundaries of science fiction, and was subsequently aquired for distribution in the USA by the Hollywood major Samuel Goldwyn films and Sony Home Entertainment.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER said of the film: “A rich and allusive work, intellectually ambitious and visually arresting... possessed by a haunting strangeness that lingers long after the credits fade.“

A Hot Property Production in co-production with Savage Productions and Rinkel Film, in association with Illuminations Films and Finite Films for the The Netherlands Film Fund, The British Film Institute, and Bord Scannán Na hÉIREANN/The Irish Film Board.

          
UK Release                                      Arrow Films
North American Release                Samuel Goldwyn Films & Sony Pictures Home  Entertainment
Japanese Release                            New Select

Selected Festival Awards, Nominations & Screenings
Edinburgh Film Festival Michael Powell Award (Nomination)
International Film Festival Rotterdam – (Critics Choice Selection)
L’Etrange Film Festival, Paris (Opening NIght Film)
Sitges International Festival of Fantastic Film
Utopiales, International Festival of Science Fiction
Sci-Fi London Film Festival
Courmayeur Noir International Film Festival
Sao Paulo International Film Festival
Malatya International Film Festival, Turkey
Cork International film Festival


SHOCK HEAD SOUL:  2011  (writer, director)



A feature length documentary using drama, animation and interviews to explore the relationship between society, psychosis and technology.  The project forms a portrait of Daniel Paul Schreber the C19th outsider artist who elaborated a steam-punk vision of a machine universe penetrated by networks of ‘nerve-rays’, with himself at the very centre as ‘God’s chosen bride’.

VARIETY said of the film: “Weirdness, cerebral depth and envelope-pushing style. Blending documentary elements with fictional reconstruction and trippy CGI, the pic is a truly sui generis work, both moving and intellectually stimulating.”

A Submarine, Hot Property & Serious Film production for the Netherlands Film Fund and the Rotterdam Media Fund, The Wellcome Trust Major Arts Award UK, and with support from the Harvard Film Study Center.  The project was developed in collaboration with psychoanalyst Helen Taylor-Robinson with the support of a Wellcome Trust Arts Award.

Netherlands Release       Cinema Delicatessen
UK Release                         Soda Pictures UK
TV sales                            Several European Territories

Selected Festival Awards, Nominations & Screenings
68th Venice International Film Festival:  Orizzonti Competition
CPH:DOX Copenhagen Documentary Film Festival (Official Selection & Laurel)
London Film Festival: New British Cinema Selection (Official Selection & Laurel)
Rotterdam International Film Festival  (Official Selection & Laurel)
New Horizons Film Festival (Official Selection & Laurel)
Melbourne International Film Festival (Special Screening & Gallery Installation)
London Institute of Psychoanalysis (Special Event: The Neuro-Image)
NYC Institute of Psychoanalysis (Special Event: The Neuro-Image)
EYE Cinema (Special Neuro-Image Presentation Screening)
Calgary International Film Festival (Official Selection & Laurel)          
Brighton Film Festival Cinema of the Mind
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
New Zealand International Film Festival


BODYSONG:  2004  (Writer, Director)




Pummell’s first feature was the BAFTA and BIFA winning documentary feature film BODYSONG that used found footage taken from across 100 years of cinema to depict an archetypal life story.  The film was the first film to be scored by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. 

TIME magazine described the movie as “an utterly mesmerizing and humbling portrait of humanity.”

Hot Property films for FilmFour and the UK Film Council. 


UK Release                          Pathé UK  
Benelux Release                ‘A’ film
Poland Release                   SPI            
Czech Republic Release
    SPI
Hungary Release
               SPI
USA Release                        Hiqi Distribution
TV sales                                Several European Territories
            
2010 DVD Re-release         British Film Institute Collector’s Edition DVD & book

Selected Festival Awards, Nominations & Screenings
British Independent Film Awards ‘Best Documentary Feature’
BAFTA Interactive 2004 Winner  ‘Best Transmedia Documentary’
International FOCAL Award Best Entertainment 2004
Rotterdam International Film Festival Festival Tiger Award (Nominated)
Ivor Novello Award (Nomination 2004)
Festival of Festivals, Russia
Vila do Conde International Film Festival Portugal
Karlovy VaryInternational Film Festival: Official Selection & ‘laurel’
South African International Film Festival: Official Selection & ‘laurel’
Helsinki International Film Festival 
Dinard:Official Selection & ‘laurel’ 
Cork International Film Festival 
AFI FEST 2003: Official Selection & ‘laurel’
Gijon International Film Festival: Official Selection & ‘laurel’
Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival:Official Selection & ‘laurel’ 
BAFTA 'Choice Brits' Programme
Jigsaw Circus (Benelux)
Istanbul  International Film Festival Festival  
FILMOTECA DE ALBACETE (Spain) 
NEMO International Film Festival Festival (France) 
NAT Film Festival (Denmark)
British Council - Spain 
REAL International Film Festival Festival - Australia 
Emden
Sonar International Film Festival Festival(Spain)
Romania (British Council)
100.000 RETINAS (Barcelona and Madrid)
ResFest
Aurora Media Festival (Screening/symposium)

Selected Museum Screenings:
Boston Museum of Fine Art
MuHKA  (Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen):  THE ORDER OF THINGS 2: DE/CODING,



ANIMATION & SHORT FILMS

ATLAS FOR ANIMATE BODIES VOL 1:  2015-17 (Installation Artist, Animator)



Atlas for Animate Bodies - combines digital animation processes with traditional figure drawing to create a new atlas of the human figure. Every volume of the Atlas exists both as a series of digital animations and also as a unique, hand-crafted book of the watercolours used to create the moving images. Traditionally our anatomies were associated with the flayed and dissected corpse, and so with death. In a world of hospital x-rays, medical scans and routine airport scanning we have become transparent: living and moving anatomies.

The ATLAS FOR ANIMATE BODIES VOL 1 comprises of the first five PLATES of the ATLAS  

Initial research into new techniques was supported by a Harvard Film Study Center Fellowship 2008-2009.  On-going research project is supported by the Research Professorship Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam University.

Volume One has been exhibited as an installation at:

Museum Exhibition:  THE VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM LONDON                                       Sept 2013
Lecture and Screening: EYE FILM MUSEUM AMSTERDAM Cinema as Mind’s Eye                Oct 2013
Museum Exhibition:  KASK Ghent. Group Show: Post Mortem                                                Dec 2016
Conference screening:   ITEMP Imagineering in the Early Modern Period                              Mar 2019
Exhibition : VANDOHOVE GALLERY Ghent ITEMP                                                                    Mar 2106


SPUTNIK EFFECT:  2011  (Installation Artist, Animator)



Within days of the launch of the first satellite ever - Prosteishii Sputnik (PS-1) - on October 4th1957, patients at Psychiatric casualty units were displaying delusions of being tracked by, and receiving messages from, the Sputnik. This phenomenon is informally referred to by psychiatrists as The Sputnik Effect. It is a moment marked by psychiatric commentators as the 'death of God' as the all-seeing persecutor in psychotic delusions, and the definitive ascendancy of technologies of control and surveillance as the key agents of persecution in the cosmic constructions of psychotic patients.

The installation uses the technology of 1950s pulp B-Movies to re-invent Daniel Paul Schreber's visions of fearsome nineteenth century communication machines as sci-fi icons and to mark the moment in the 1950s informally referred to by psychiatrists as TheSputnik Effect.

Part of the Shock Head Soul transmedia project produced by Hot Property Productions UK and Submarine Productions NL, in association with Illuminations Films UK and in co production with Serious Film NL, and Supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Netherlands Film Fund and the Rotterdam Media Fund, with support from the The Harvard Film Study Center. A research project affiliated to the lectorate of Piet Zwart Institute Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam University.

Entrance: Monitor displaying PAL archive footage of Sputnik launch and orbit
Room 1:  Seven framed inkjet prints each 106cm x 106cm
Room 2:  Two screen 3D video projection
Room 3:  Single screen 3D video projection

Exhibited as a stand-alone installation at:
M HKA Antwerp - in Graphology 02                                                                                             May 2011
TENT Rotterdam - The Sputnik Effect                                                                                          Jan 2012
SMART PROJECT SPACE – Amsterdam                                                                                        May 2012
Melbourne IFF – Seventh Gallery – Melbourne                                                                             July 2012
Lecture and Screening: EYE FILM MUSEUM AMSTERDAM Cinema as Mind’s Eye                     Oct 2013



SHARING THE SAME SHADE:  2007  (Moving-Image Designer)



Triple screen projection for the Holland Festival:  a series of ultra-slow motion video portraits of the dancers Adi & Shani Kesten to counterpoint their performance as part of the Veenfabriek Music Theatre production Sharing the Same Shade.

Veenfabriek Music Theatre for The Holland Festival 2007



STOP FOR A MINUTE:  2000  (Writer, Director)



A visual meditation of just how long a minute lasts, for my newborn baby and his great-grandmother. A one minute film for Web and TV.

FilmFour and Dazed and Confused Productions

Broadcast                                                             FilmFour Channel.
Streaming at                                                        www.stopforaminute.com
Screenings in Public space                            Large-scale urban screens in Leicester Square London & Time Square NYC



STORY BROWSER (Snow White):  2000  (Installation Artist)



An interactive digital model of the deep narrative structure of Snow-White story:  the work allows users to view many variations of the narrative. The work is the result of Artist in Residence at the Hogeschool Sint-Lukas, Brussels (2000) in collaboration with students.

Exhibited as a stand-alone installation at:
Sint-Lukasgalerij Brussels                      2000



BLINDED BY LIGHT:  2000  (Writer, Animator)



A blind man receives corneal transplants. He is fifty years old. For the first time since he was ten months old he has complete functional use of his eyes. What does he see? This is the story of a man’s struggle to learn to see. The film is a dramatic monologue with special effects to take us into the world of the newly sighted man

Arts Council ANIMATE commission for Channel Four Television

Selected Festival Awards, Nominations & Screenings
Visions Festival, Montreal  ‘Best International Video’

Broadcast                                            Channel 4
Exhibition as Installation                Barbican Gallery London Animation: a Passionate Obsession




RAY GUN FUN:  1997  (Co-writer, Director, Animator)



A little boy plays with a magical ray gun, and finds himself trapped in worlds within worlds.  Digital VFX animation in a live action world. Written with the science fiction author M. John Harrison.

Finetake & Hot Property for Channel Four Television

Broadcast                                Channel 4 Television UK
                                                Spanish Public Television

Selected Festival Awards, Nominations & Screenings
Nominated British Animation Awards 2000
The British Short Film Festival, 1999
Locarno Film Festival 1998
Edinburgh International Film Festival 1998
Sitges Film Festival 1998
London Film Festival 1998
Rotterdam IFF 1999
Positano Film Festival ‘Auteur Shorts for TV’ programme
ICA London April 1999
NFTVS / BAFTA Digital Futures Symposium
Krakow Short Film Festival 1999
Annecy Int. Anim. Festival 1999



HEARTACHE:  1996  (Writer, Director)



A short musical drama about love and tattoos. Made as a narrative promo for the QUEEN music track Too Much Love Will Kill You

Hot Property for Queen Productions/British Film Institute

Selected Festival Awards, Nominations & Screenings
Opening film 1996 Venice Film Festiva
Cannes Film Festival screening as part of portmanteau feature of Queen music films Made in Heaven.



EVOLUTION:  1996  (writer, director)



Portrait of the performance artist Stelarc & his robotic '3rd Hand' from a Japanese medical lab. Made as a narrative promo for the QUEEN music track This Could Be Heaven

Hot Property for Queen Productions/British Film Institute

Broadcast                            Maximum rotation' schedule MTV

Selected Museum Screenings
Kaaitheatre Studio's/Studiowerk, Brussels, 1996  Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies



BUTCHERS HOOK:  1995  (Animator, Co-writer)

.


A miniature horror film, which explores the imagery of medical and scientific experimentation to create an animated baroque revenge drama: the reckoning between a taxidermist and his animals. Written with the science fiction author Simon Ings.

Koninck Studios for Channel Four Television

Broadcast                    Channel 4 Televions UK Digital Passions (including a 'making of ‘ documentary)
                                    NPS Dutch Television  The best of European Computer films.

Selected Festival Awards, Nominations & Screenings
British Animation Awards: ‘Best Use of New Technology’ (Winner)
Rencontres Internationales Art Cinema-Video Ordinateur, Paris 1998

Selected Museum Screenings         
Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam 1998  Loplop / re/presents: The im/pulse to see
Kaaitheatre Studio's/Studiowerk, Brussels, 1996  Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies)




DIGITAL BABY:  1995  (Installation Artist)



This project grew out of the invitation to apply for an Arts Council Research Bursary for research into creating artist's moving image work in co-operation with commercial post-production houses. The bursary I was awarded paired me with Moving Picture Company in Soho London. The research work was undertaken in co-operation with their producers and artists.

A group of perfect babies floating in an infinite black space. Their stretching and bobbing motions are in an infinite loop. However many clones are made, every digital baby remains an original. Digital 3D animation created as a test for an installation.

The artist for Channel 4/Arts Council

Broadcast                    Channel 4 Televions UK Digital Passions (including a 'making of ‘ documentary)



ROSE RED:  1994  (Animator, Co-writer)



A science fiction short drama. A man's recurring dreams and an investigation into a security breach at a secret Virtual Reality project: Two threads that lead to a disturbing climax.
 

Koninck Studios for British Film Institute

Broadcast                                 Channel Four Television as part of The Shooting Gallery
UK Distribution                        BFI Film and Video Distribution

Selected Festival Awards, Nominations & Screenings
Panorama Section Berlin Film Festival
London Film Festival, 1994
Brussels International Festival of Fantasy, Thriller & SciFi Films 1995
Tampere Film Festival, 1995


BLOND ECKBERT:  1994  (Designer, Animator)




A 15 minute animated film designed to allow a performer on stage and an animated version of herself to interact as the action develops. The film depicts Bertha, the heroine of Judith Weir's opera Blond Eckbert, making her way through a forest of woodcut style heavy black and white lines.

Projected within English National Opera production directed by Tim Hopkins, premiered in London on 21 April 1994.



TEMPTATION OF SAINTHOOD:  1993  (Writer, Director, Animator)



The story of a man who believed God was changing him into a woman so he could save the world. Daniel Paul Schreber was a famous case study of Sigmund Freud, and famous as the author of the finest autobiography of the psychotic experience written Denkwürdigkeiten eines Nervenkranken (Memoirs of My Nervous Illness–1903.

Koninck Studios for Channel Four Television /Arts Council of England

Broadcast                                Channel 4 (as part of the series Out of the Blue)
                                                SBS Australia
                                                ZDF Germany
                                                Arte/La Sept France

Selected Festival Awards, Nominations & Screenings                                               
Main Prize Oberhausen International Kurzfilmtage 1993
Special Jury Commendation British short film Festival 1994
Prize for Best Short Film Fantasporto International Film Festival 1994
Special Prize Mediopolis Berlin Videofest 1994
3rdICA Biennale of Independent Film and Video, London 94/5
European Media Art Festival (Osnabruck) Tour 1994
Copenhagen Film & Video Workshop Festival 1994

Selected Museum Screenings         
Kaaitheatre Studio's/Studiowerk, Brussels, 1996  Extinct Anatomies
Tate Gallery, London, 1993 This Side of the British Channel: British Video 1990-1993
The Tate Gallery  1994 Key video works of the 90s


CUPID:  1992  (Designer, Animator)



MTV Ident Sequence. A bird flies towards a beating heart. It plunges its beak into the heart. Blood gushes out - to be captured in a glass bowl - in the shape of the MTV logo.

Koninck Studios produced Title Sequence for MTV Europe


STAIN:  1992  (Designer, Animator)



Created for the slot "one minute television" on the Late Show. The medieval dance of death re-invented.

Koninck for BBC Late Show/Arts Council of England

Broadcast                                    BBC Late Show
                                                   SBS Australia
                                                   Arte/La Sept France

Selected Festival Awards, Nominations & Screenings    
British Film Institute for the Centenary of Cinema program
Festival do Minuto, Sao Paolo, 1993
Viper 92, Luzern


SECRET JOY OF FALLING ANGELS:  1991  (Writer, Animator)



An 11 Minute re-telling of the annunciation story which blurs the sacred and the profane. The film combines many different optical film techniques with an exploration of drawing the human body which breeds Mickey Mouse with Michelangelo.

Koninck Studios for Channel Four Teleivision

Broadcast                                    Channel Four Television Dazzling Image Season
                                                   Channel Four Television  Four-mations Secret Passions Season
DVD Distribution                     BAA – Desire & Sexuality: Animating the Unconscious
UK release                                British Film Institute Film and Video Distribution

Selected Festival Awards, Nominations & Screenings  
Oberhausen International Kurzfilmtage 1992 Grand Prix
Trickfilmfestival Stuttgart1992 Best Experimental Film
European Media Cartoon D'Or (Nomination)
Copenhagen Film and Video Workshop Festival, 1994
Leipzig International Documentary and Animation Festival, 1993
Pandemonium, Cardiff, 1994
Melbourne International Film Festival, June 1992
Holland Animation Film Festival, Utrecht, 2002
Ottawa International Animation Festival 2004 Words in Motion
BFI Symposium Animating the Unconscious Feb 2006
National Film School's Passport to Cinema series at the National Film Theatre 2009
Nederlands Instituut voor Animatiefilm (NIAf) Animatie Binnenstebuiten 2009
Fantoche Animation Festival Images of human beings in the animation film 2009
EYE Film Museum Shadow Boxing (William Kentridge Some Context) 2015
EYE Film Museum  Simon Pummell Shadow Drawings, Trick films & Science Fictions: a Retrospective 2016
Taichung International Animation Festival (TIAF) 2018


Selected Museum Screenings        Museum Boymans van Beuningen Rotterdam 1998 Loplop / re/presents: The im/pulse to see
                                                            ICA, London Art and Animation Symposium 1998
                                                            Harvard University VES Carpenter Centre Gallery 2007
                                                


SURFACE TENSION:  1986  (Writer, Director, Animator)



Intercutting live action footage with animation, a depiction of the possible memories, repressions and fears of the leading character. The animated sections are monologues by a male figure drawn to highlight the tensions between rigid and fluid body structures, skeleton and flesh.

Graduation Film from the Royal College of Art Masters Program: Animation, Audiovisual and Film Production

Selected Festival Awards, Nominations & Screenings  
London Film Festival 1986 Mari Kutna Most Original Animation Award
Thames Television Supporting New Talent Bursary

UK Release                                    British Film Insitute Film and Video Distribution
DVD Release                                 Animation is 25 Years Royal College of Art, Best Films, 2010