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Untold Tales Series #2 – The Foundling, by Leo Crane

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The second film released from the Untold Tales project – a six part micro-commissioned series that sees seven renowned British animators explore diverse communities and untold stories of life in the UK – is by the award winning animator Leo Crane.

Crane graduated from Bournemouth University in 2012 and has since participated in The Animation Workshop’s Open Residency and ANI:DOX Lab in Denmark. In 2017, Leo founded Figuration with Roy Joseph Butler to run creative workshops with cultural and community organisations as well as corporate and private events. (You can follow Leo’s work on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and his website.)

The Untold Tales project, commissioned by Anim18 and Animate Projects, sought out animators from a broad range of backgrounds, whose stories explore the UK’s rich and culturally diverse communities. The brief was relatively open, and could include anything from folklore traditions, to current issues or contemporary communities.

The Foundling poses the question “What is family?” J, a mixed-race 9-year-old boy, abandoned, fostered then adopted by a same-sex couple, talks about his life and dreams. In times of anger and sadness, he turns to the piano and the music that allows his dreams to flourish. Short snippets of interviews with J and his piano playing sets the mood and forms the sound edit that drives the visuals. Animated straight ahead in charcoal, figurative elements are combined with distorted and abstracted shapes.

Untold Tales was an opportunity for me to investigate what family means today in an increasingly diverse society. Using a documentary approach where a story unfolded through a series of interviews, the film quickly shifted away from an account of Queer parenting to the authenticity of an abandoned child’s dreams of belonging. It is a deeply personal collaboration between father and son, which taught me a valuable lesson in how to listen to a voice that is so often muffled by the assumptions of others, including myself.

– Leo Crane

Look out for the films on Instagram (both anim18uk and animateprojectsuk) or Vimeo (animateprojects), and check back on Skwigly for the remaining films in the series. You can read more about the other film projects here:

Untold Tales were commissioned by Anim18 and Animate Projects, and are supported by Lottery funds from Arts Council England, British Film Institute and British Council. #untoldtales #anim18

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Rob Munday
@skwigly @thenfb @bonobostudio Great interview. Really insightful.
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Tragic Magic 💀
@skwigly @thenfb @bonobostudio Watched it last night, what a wonderful piece of work. Such a great look to it.
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Dr. Bella Honess Roe
Stop motion + wool. The only that would make me happier is if it had chickens in it. Watch this - it's gorgeous.
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