INTERVIEW: JOHN MORENA EXPLAINS HOW - AND WHY - HE MADE 52 FILMS IN a YEAR // CARTOON BREW, U.S.
“A year later, Area 52 — as the project came to be known — was complete. Not only had the challenge given him a new sense of fulfillment, Morena found that the films were interesting in their own right. He started submitting his favorite ones to festivals, successfully: they were picked to play at Annecy, Hiroshima, Ottawa, and Anima Mundi, among others. Morena may be the only filmmaker ever to have had six films playing simultaneously in competition at Annecy."
John Morena releaseS 25 choice cuts on YouTube as the "A-Sides" // DIRECTORS NOTES, U.K.
“Festivals are great for many reasons but the lifespan of a film on the circuit is a short-lived one. Beyond the festival circuit, there is more to gain from the success of a live-action short film since you can use it as a calling card to attract investors to fund your feature film. Without going into gory detail, that’s just simply not the case in animation."
LO-FI PERFECTION: THE INCREDIBLE YEAR OF ANIMATOR JOHN MORENA // ANIMATION WORLD NETWORK, U.S.
"It turns out there wasn’t a dud among this gaggle of submissions that came courtesy of American animator John Morena, who is self-taught and has worked in New York since 2000 doing an assortment of commissioned work including music videos, network promos, commercials and visual effects. Oh, and it also turns out that these 26 submissions were a mere pittance, as he actually made 52 films (yes, one for every week of the year) in 2017."
JOHN MORENA REFLECTS ON HIS EPIC INSTAGRAM ANIMATION PROJECT ‘AREA 52’ // DIRECTORS NOTES, U.K.
"Choosing an atypical platform also helped make Area 52 a unique project. People don’t release films on Instagram. I only know of one other show that was produced in 30-60 second bits just for Instagram. Everyone else gives you a sample size of a larger project and then directs you the link in their bio to watch the rest. I figured, folks are already in the feed and are going to watch your film if they know it’s convenient and a small time investment."
CHAOS REIGNS AT THIS YEAR’S ANIMATION FESTIVAL…AND THAT’S A GOOD THING // ARTSFILE, CANADA
Brooklyn-based John Morena will also be on hand for Meet the Filmmakers. He has five films in this year’s festival, four of which are from his Area 52 project. Originally – and still – a commercial filmmaker, Morena spent 2017 making one experimental animated “micro-short” film every week and releasing it on Instagram. And the films are short. For example, Flea Circus, which is about gaining perspective on our problems and part of the festival lineup, clocks in at 53 seconds.
I MADE ONE SHORT FILM PER WEEK FOR A YEAR. HERE'S WHAT I LEARNED. // FILMMAKER FREEDOM, U.S.
"My family didn’t quite understand what the fuck I was doing. They also didn’t understand why someone would do all that work with no financial reward attached. “Oh ok… well that’s good. What else are you doing?” they said. Even some industry colleagues asked, “How did you broker the deal?” I laughed. “What deal?” They laughed too, then lost interest."
130 SHORTS FOR ANNECY 2018 // ZIPPY FRAMES, EUROPE
And the most peculiar surprise, and possibly sets a record for all festival participations: Experimental US artist John Morena (US) competes with 5 (!) films in the official short film competition: Best Laid Plans, Dicks, Freedom from Fear, Slurred, String of Sound. Morena has another film ( Home: A Portrait of New York City) in the off-limits competition, making his total Annecy participation to 6 films overall. Most of them are films from the collection of 52 films he made during 2017.
As animações políticas e reflexivas de John Morena // NEXO JORNAL, BRAZIL
(Translated from Portuguese) An animation short per week for a year. This was the challenge that American director of animation John Morena launched in his Project Area 52. Addressing themes ranging from racism to anxiety to totally abstract exercises, Morena tried a variety of techniques in the works, some very simple. The "Downpour" animation, for example, whose title can be translated as downpour, uses only scratches on a sheet of paper as raw material. Much of the work can be seen on the Instagram of the Morena project. Some of the short films of the series are in the programming of the festival Anima Mundi, that goes from 21 to 29 of July of 2018, in the Library of the Cultural Center of the Bank of Brazil of Rio de Janeiro.
MEET THE FILMMAKER WHO MADE 1 SHORT FILM A WEEK FOR A YEAR // FLICKSIDE, INDIA
Each week, he wouldn’t necessarily know what the subsequent film was going to be. Sometimes, he’d be completely out of ideas. What is it then that kept him going? Where did he seek inspiration (or probably not) each time? Today, for Flickside, John Morena writes about what drove him and the limitations that shouldn’t come to define us or our creations.