"Utilising a Busby Berkeley-style song and dance routine, with CGI toy soldiers as the players, Hattler succeeds brilliantly in blurring the lines between conflict and entertainment in a piece laced with satire. One foot wrong, and a film like this can quickly take the wrong turn into mawkish territory. But Hattler’s Spin triumphs were so many fail; engaging an audience and hitting them with the knock-out blow of a wake-up call." The Double Negative (2012)
"Max Hattler's fantastically bizarre, deliciously satirical Spin, a madcap cross between Singin' in the Rain (1952), Full Metal Jacket (1987) and A Town Called Panic (2009) the film portrays a synchronized group of dancing toy soldiers as they melt, maim and gun each other down." Cine Vue (2011)
"Animator Max Hattler, based in London and Germany, has been busy over the last couple of years creating his characteristically precise and geometric works that in some ways recall the kaleidoscopic choreography of Busby Berkley. Some of his best works unite the visual precision with military themes for a deft critique of totalizing control. His 2005 short, Collision, for example, brings together the visual iconography of Islam and the US, while Spin, from 2010, flips small military figures into spinning dervishes that again, create patterns that underscore the violence implicit in the images." Blur and Sharpen (2012)
"Spin is synchronised swimming for toy soldiers. Aficionados of plastic infantrymen will recognise them almost instantly, and while they've here been rendered such that they can move their limbs, some positional changes see them swapped for another. Here, they are green and black, the living-room invading menace of the tan toy soldiers perhaps being left for a sequel. The sometimes jaunty music from Eclectic works well with Max Hattler's visuals, all creating an entertaining spectacle. It's dark in places, intentionally so, and that's also to the credit of those involved. Perhaps the only note is that among the various GIs and Wehrmacht are some soldiers that appear in fact to be a police SWAT team - what one suspects is actually a battering ram is treated as if it were a giant Roman candle. That may be an artifact of childhood imagination, however, and given how many bricks substituted for firearms before Lego, if you will, bit the bullet, it's totally forgiveable. Watching Spin does in some ways recall the pageantry of fascism, the Nuhremberg rallies and North Korean stadium displays, though again that's an important element - divorced of ideology such efforts still glorify something, and the very notion of a toy soldier raises all sorts of questions. Spin doesn't attempt to answer any of them, nor should it - sometimes the mere act of asking questions is enough, and Spin manages that amply." Eye For Film (2010)
"The development of Spin has led to Hattler researching political parades and mass rallies, alongside kaleidoscopic Hollywood dance routines: ‘I’ve been looking at work by Leni Riefenstahl, and the escapist vision of Busby Berkeley. I’ve also been considering Fordism and the division of labour, where individuals create a bigger pattern. I’m interested in the human as ornament. What happens when you replicate a figure a million times?’ With this correlation of dance troupes and military troops, Spin presents a constantly self-replenishing supply of plastic toy soldiers, whose uniform movements shift from dizzying eye-candy patterns into increasingly threatening displays, all to a soundtrack of 1940s big band music." Electric Sheep, 2009
You know that snowman and snow-woman from the recent John Lewis ad?
Well, we felt inspired to create this animated homage!
We asked the obvious question - what happened next?
Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!
Director & Producer Steve Smith
Animator Rob Thomson
Music Tim Goalen beakus.com
This is the opener for a local filmfestival in Offenbach, Germany, which took place on December 21, 2012.
See the MAKING OF here: vimeo.com/55183353
kurze Filme zum Weltuntergang
In der längsten Nacht des Jahres zeigt die Filmklasse (Prof. Rotraut Pape) der Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach eine Auswahl kurzer, abwechslungsreicher und teils wenig christlicher Filme bei Glühwein und Plätzchen. Beginn 20 Uhr in der HfG Kapelle. Die Filmemacher/innen sind anwesend, Eintritt ist frei.
animation, compositing, director of photography, lighting, sounddesign JONATAN SCHWENK jonatan-schwenk.de
vocals MARCO RUSSO
characterdesign JONATAN SCHWENK and MARC RÜHL schwarzgrau.com
titles & trousers for the fish TERESA RINN teresa-rinn.com
technical support MARC RÜHL
IVAN ROBLES MENDOZA
Prof. ROTRAUT PAPE
Prof. ALEX OPPERMANN