Archive for Three Minute Wonders

The World According To…

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on April 8, 2008 by dcairns

Living humans in the UK can see a series called Three Minute Wonders on Channel 4 after the news, at 7.55pm every night. The rest of you can enjoy the pictures here. Not quite the same, but if you scroll the page really fast while blinking rapidly… 

This week the films are directed by two 4th year students from Edinburgh College of Art. My guys! Although these shorts are animated, the weird wrinkle is that neither filmmaker is really an animator. Jamie directs live action comedy and drama, while Anders is a devotee of cinema verité.

The theme of their short films is “The World According To…”, or T.W.A.T. for short, as producer Laura Clarke gleefully told me. Some kids have been interviewed (ah-hah, the documentary verité angle!) and their crackpot theories about Electricity, Space Travel, Robotics and Recycling have been illustrated in ZANY PICTOGRAMS.

The above image demonstrates that “electrons are very warm.” The films are cute as HELL and move at lightning speed, using a revolutionary process of washing powder on glass. The glass is lit from below and the clear areas show as bright (I think that’s right).

Jamie and Anders swathed themselves in protective gear, even though they figured something as universal as washing powder couldn’t be too harmful, and set about rendering their films in a specially constructed studio — Jamie’s bedroom. Partway through it became necessary to move a potted plant, and when they did, all the leaves immediately dropped off, dead.

Thereafter they switched to using aquarium sand, which they reckoned would be quite safe. If any readers can tell me that aquarium sand is toxic or carcinogenic or anything like that, hey, feel free.

Above — terrorist attacks! Remember how we were never going to see burning skyscrapers in entertainment ever again, after 9:11?

I’m kind of envious of the editorial freedom here! When I’ve worked in kids’ TV the censorship is quite ridiculous. Gone are the days of characters concussing each other with baseball bats and blasting each others’ faces off with shotguns. Sigh. But Anders and Jamie escaped all that supervision by showing their films in the evening when adults are watching.

Here’s the cause of those blazing buildings — a robot rebellion. A child’s terrifying vision of the future!

Gory alien autopsy! Some Scottish schoolboy actually proposes we entice aliens back from Mars so we can hack them up.


A tyrannosaur in a rubber room! Where else can you find such entertainment?