Short Film Promotion Scheme Awardee
Mikey began his directing career by ignoring the syllabus on his BA Special Effects course at University of the Arts London producing several technically experimental narrative animated shorts.
Following which he directed animation commissions for clients such as Virgin, Transgressive Records, Rough Trade, Ninja Tune and Universal Records before honing his skills with an MA in Direction for Animation at the Royal College of Art in 2010.
His latest film 'The Eagleman Stag' made its international premiere at this years Sundance Film Festival, going on to win the 2011 BAFTA for short animation, awards at South by Southwest, Clermont Ferrand and others, as well as an upcoming nomination for a Royal Television Society award this May. He is represented by Agile Films for his commercial broadcast work and is developing other long form projects with Warp Films for 2012.
Your connection to the British Council?
The British Council kindly supported my trip out to Sundance for the International Premiere of my latest short film 'The Eagleman Stag'. This was an amazing trip and really helped kick start the whole festival run for the film, currently set to screen at another 40+ festivals this year.
Your current projects?
Along side a smattering of commercial things I’m in the early stages of script development with Warp Films and Film 4 on my debut animated feature. It’s extremely exciting; I couldn’t imagine better people to be working with on this.
What/who originally turned you on to film?
As a kid, animation was just something I naturally gravitated towards. We couldn’t afford the necessary equipment to make actual films but I made tones of flick books and Plastercine models, so it wasn’t until much later I started making full films. I found it encompassed a lot of what would otherwise be disparate artistic practices, photography, performance, sculpting, writing and design. It was a way for me to package all these things that I loved into one succinct parcel. It’s like a Frankenstein’s monster of every other art form.
Career high so far?
I had a pretty mind blowing moment a couple of weeks back when I received a letter from the Minister for Culture thanking me for my contribution to British film. I thought it was a joke! But as dreadfully corny as it sounds, the most wonderful aspect of Eagleman’s success is being contacted by strangers who’ve seen the film and been moved by it in some way. Animation can easily be seen as something very superficial and silly, but it’s amazing that people have resonated and been effected by the film as much as they have. I think it’s a good sign for the changing attitude of what animation can be.
Your first job in the film industry?
I was very fortunate in that I was taken straight from my Wimbledon BA to work as a junior Director for a Soho animation studio. Although I was pretty naive about it all, thinking I could continue doing the sort of creative stuff I’d been doing on my degree in the commercial environment, it was a good learning curve and I wouldn’t change a thing.
If I knew then what I know now…
I’m not sure that what I know now is any better or wiser than what I knew then. There’s a great quote by Picasso about how the older we get the less we know. I used to know it word for word.
Favourite British film?
An animated short called 'Hillary' by Anthony Hodgson. It’s wonderfully dry, layered and strangely moving and definitely a strong reference for the narrative tone of Eagleman. Feature-wise, right now I’m very much into Richard Ayoade’s debut; 'Submarine'.
If you could have directed/been involved with any film ever made, which one would it be?
'The Nightmare Before Christmas' pretty much changed my life when I saw it as a child. Although recently I’ve sunk myself into lots of classic Film Noir, I guess anything from Orson Welles.
First film you remember seeing?
I only saw half of it, but it was Roald Dahl’s 'The Witches'. I saw it at the cinema with my mum and a friend and was very keen not to look like a wimp during all the scary bits. But my limits were breached when the Queen Witch pulls off her own face and her nose bursts out like a bald chicken wing. I ran out of the theatre crying and looked like a total wuss.
Favourite line or scene from a film?
This film is so packed full of incredible lines that it’s hard to pick one, but let’s go with Captain Renalt asking Rick why he left America in 'Casablanca' 'I’d like to think you killed a man. It’s the romantic in me.’
Favourite screen kiss?
Albert Finney and Jessica Lange in the bathtub in 'Big Fish'.
Favourite screen hero and/or villain?
Villains! Christopher Lloyd as judge Doom in 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'. I also love Robin Williams as Walter Finch in 'Insomnia' or ‘The Nothing’ in 'The Never Ending Story' - best concept baddie ever!
Who would play you in the film about your life?
Adam Buxton. He just exudes goodness and would make me look much cooler and funnier than I am in real life.