The Stranger’s annual dirty little film festival, Hump! started screening this weekend at On The Boards (and continues next weekend at SIFF Cinema at the Uptown) and we checked out the first show last Thursday and we were delighted to discover that one of our favorite dirty filmmakers, the artist known as “Animan” had a film in this year’s competition, the animated sex classic “A Day At The Beach” featuring some very horny and lusty “Mad Men” era dudes getting frisky on a summer beach. And, better yet, we KNEW this filmmaker, via email and had suggested he enter his films on the LGBT or naughty film festival circuit so we were thrilled he had pursued this option. It warms the cockles of our evil little hearts when we can help artists flourish and grow!
But how did we come across this “Walt Disney of gay porno cartoons”? Last summer we stumbled upon a very charming and very raunchy little animated film “School Fantasy”. (Don’t ask where…we have our secrets…) Not only was it raunchier than hell, it was very charmingly animated in a retro 1960’s style, with those sharp lines and silhouettes and bright colors evocative of the era. At SGS we adore many things and high on the list are imaginative, clever porn (rare as hen’s teeth) and old school animation…a combination of those two things sends us over the age! (That and the “Mad Men” aesthetic.)
We started digging and found MORE work by the same filmmaker (including the brilliant “The Twist Party” where these images originate) and eventually we found a credit “Animan” which led us to a website where we could message this mysterious animator. We did so, not necessarily expecting an answer, but surprisingly Mr. Animan replied and we began a brief correspondence….and we learned some surprising things. We figured “Animan” was probably a fresh faced young gay art school grad with a love for all things retro…we only got part of that right. “Animan” is a man of secrets, and because of his job he needs to keep his porno animation gig under a pseudonym, so we’ll respect that, but we can tell you, “Animan” is not a fresh freshed 22 year old hipster kid; he loves the retro look because he LIVED through the era and loved the graphics and the imagery of 60’s design. Born in the United States, “Animan” now lives and works abroad…yes, HUMP technically features a foreign film entry!
After seeing his latest porn epic, and seeing and hearing the enthusiastic response to his film, we sent him another email and got this interview.
Seattle Gay Scene: Hi “Animan”! We fell in love with your naughty animated gay cartoons back in July and we’re delighted you entered your latest one, “A Day At The Beach” in The Stranger’s HUMP Film Festival…audiences are also falling in love with your retro Sixties era look and raunchy, no holds barred stories. When did you realize you had a burning desire to become the Walt Disney of Gay Filthy Cartoons?
Animan: At age thirteen, two things happened: I started drawing “dirty” pictures, and I started teaching myself how to animate. I guess it was inevitable that those two things would eventually merge. But doing cartoons the old stone-age way with cameras, lights, cels, paints etc was a big obstacle to becoming a one-man studio. That wouldn’t happen until the right animation software came along, just a few years ago.
SGS: You obviously love the design elements of the 50’s and 60’s yet I was surprised to learn you weren’t aware of the television show “Mad Men” (not readily available where you live). What is it about the design of that era that appeals to you?
Animan: Post- WWII design in the U.S. manifested much as a spinoff of TV content. The mid-50’s were very conscious of wood and stone (cowboy influence) and the late 50’s and early 60’s had sleek, minimalism (space age design). The former had warmth and the latter had boldness. When the hippies began their influence in the mid 60’s, the design element went all psychedelic. The compact, skinny ties and pants of the early 60’s became bell-bottoms and wide ties. The slim flair was going fast.
An inelegant feature of the U.S. 60’s was the rampant anti-gay sentiment which did a lot to spoil the decade. I suppose that in my humble way, I’m taking modern day tolerance and superimposing it upon an idealized past image. It’s my own little way of re-working the era, rewriting history if you will.
MORE Animan after the jump!
SGS: You have no formal animation training…how do you make your films? How long does it take you?
Animan: I draw directly into the computer, frame by frame. The current trend in TV animation is the “cutout puppet”, which is sort of like a flat marionette. You draw the object only once; then you tell the computer where when and how that object should move, and it performs the task. I often use that for simple actions, such as a character raising an arm. But when my characters are having sex, I like to draw each frame of the action separately–that way I can add the little naughty touches, such as jiggly body parts! Working in this way, it takes about 2 months of daily drawing to produce 5 or 6 minutes of screen time.
SGS: What’s the toughest part about making the films?
Animan: Patience. I have to stick faithfully to the original concept during the prolonged production period, and if I’m making a very long film which goes over the 2 month production time, I can become weary of it all, and get into a slump. I have to stick faithfully to whatever design choices I’ve made, and not change them inadvertently.
SGS: What are your ambitions for the films? Do you want to monetize them? Show them on the festival circuit? Do you have aspirations to make a full length film?
Animan: My ultimate dream is to have a website where people can download the films for a small fee. I have absolutely no idea how to set it up, so I’ve got to do my homework on that one. Running out of ideas is not possible, since I already have a list of “films I wanna make” as long as my arm. Of course, if someone should approach me with a reasonable offer to use my characters (or films) for merchandising purposes, I would certainly be interested!
Showing my films on the festival circuit is definitely an option. And a feature-length film could very well be a possibility, perhaps when I’ve had enough experience with short films. Features require much more crafting story-wise than shorts. This is porn after all, and a huge array of sexual situations arising out of a simple story (sex:8, story:2) seems to be what the fans would prefer.
SGS: What are you working on next? Is there a new Animan in the works?
Animan: I’m currently making a film about a camp for junior college guys. It’s a nice chance to do something with a woodsy atmosphere in a mountainous setting. I’m planning a picnic for a few guys and the counselors that turns into a free-for-all romp against a backdrop of waterfalls and mountains. It will probably end up being about 15 minutes long. The characters will speak in this one, and the language during sex is pretty uninhibited!
SGS: If you win a prize at HUMP, what would you do with the money?
Animan: I think I would take a small part of it and buy some of those gorgeous Disney animation books that are always being printed, and get some more inspiration for my films. The rest of the money would go back into my filmmaking machine.
Thanks “Animan”! We are SO looking forward to your next epic…You can check out his other films at GayTube.com and yes, it is a adult website and NO, it’s not safe for work.