If there is an animated short that should keep one’s eyes on it through every frame, Andy Kennedy’s Accumulonimbus is that film. An experimental stop-motion piece, every frame is part of some movement that should keep even the most casual stop-motion viewer mesmerized.
Andy refers to the film as a meditation of motion and the life cycle of matter. It starts off with organic shapes (mostly spheres) changing in accordance with the rhythm of the soundtrack (also by Andy). As the music becomes more layered, so does the complexity of the clay and its movement. There is a loud-quiet-loud dynamic in the music that lends itself to the animated objects switching from natural and man-made forms. The animation is expertly timed to the music.
The circle is the center of the entire film, both figuratively and literally. Rather than a flat surface or stage for action to take place upon, the animated objects never stop moving along the circular edge. Everything is moving forward, and if an object disappears, another takes its place. Every object moving looks organic, even the pipes and houses.
Andy’s website features extensive making-of videos for Accumulonimbus. These videos display both the extensive planning put into the stop-motion, and at the same time, the space he left for stop-motion’s spontaneity. These videos should be recommended viewing for anyone looking to learn the basics of stop-motion, and at that, fully independent stop-motion animation.
Accumulonimbus won Best In Show at ASIFA-East 2011. The film will surely go down as one of the most intriguing and memorable films to win the top award. Way to go, Andy!