Michel Gondry + Noam Chomsky: Is The Man Who is Tall Happy?


Screen Shot 2013-02-07 at 4.59.51 PM
Advance Screening and Q&A with Director Michel Gondry and Prof. Noam Chomsky
Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? 
Tuesday February 12th, 7pm. 
26-100 MIT
*David Robert and myself will be introducing (ANIMATED MATTERS, GO!). We got a sneak peek at the film and all I (we?) can say is: DON’T MISS IT.

Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? is an animated documentary on the life of MIT professor and linguist Noam Chomsky. Directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindThe Science of Sleep), the film features a series of conversations between Gondry and Chomsky as they explore the life and work of Noam Chomsky.

In the words of the director:

“My conversations with Professor Chomsky were lively, sometime complex, always very human. Through my illustrations, we follow the winding path of my halting and incomplete understanding. Noam is often patient, sometime less so. The trail always follows unexpected bends. The process and logic of Noam’s stream of ideas have determined the transitions and evolution of my drawings. The concept of ‘animated documentary’ finds a perfect justification here.

At the heart of the conversation, we encounter Noam’s theory of the emergence of language. Listening to Noam discuss this topic made we wonder what it would have been like to meet the astronomer Edwin Hubble and listen to him talk about the red shift he observed from distant galaxies and how it led to the theory of the big bang. Maybe that is a weak comparison, but it is another way of simply saying I felt privileged to have this dialogue.

In the end, what will stay the most with me in these discussions is Noam Chomsky’s humanity, the way he respects people’s different ways of life, their beliefs – and, above all, the way he often includes his wife, Carol Chomsky, in the conversations, and in some way keeps her alive and next to him.”

— Director Michel Gondry



[AM] Hands-ON Session #2

[AM] Hands-ON taking off tomorrow!




Thursdays 6:30 pm

Personal Robots + Object-Based Media Area

E15 4th floor


——- ++ ——–
Thanks to all involved, last semester’s Animated Matters was a success.  If this is your first time hearing about this, check out our blog: https://animatedmatters.wordpress.com/

We were able to host animators William Kentridge, Ben Gaydos and screened experimental animation films covering a broad range of materials and approaches.

This time:  Animated Matters plans to take things hands-on.

We’ve got various physical materials for you, an animation set (to build), a stand, some stop-motion software and an overabundance of excitement about making things come to life on screen.

You don’t have to know how to draw, all experience levels welcome.

Come hang out with fellow animation enthusiasts this Thursday.  If you’re a pro, share your wisdom.  If you’re new, bring your fresh ideas and aspirations.

We have a concept for a collaborative animation we want to pitch to whomever shows up.  Don’t miss out…it’s going to be awesome. (Hint: see attached image)


Try your hand at claymation, sand animation, collage, cut-outs, puppetry, real-time animation, melting wax, charcoal, watercolors, whatever you can think of.  Crafternoon peeps encouraged- please bring more supplies- we have a limited budget and this time we’re spending it on animation sets, materials and software instead of food.

Let’s make animations together – Yeah!

Thank you STUDCOM Finance for the continued support

*First meeting: This Thursday, 6:30pm*
E15-4th floor’s Temporary Animation Studio in between holograms and robots


is a call to unite experimental animation enthusiasts from the extended Media Lab complex community.


Edwina & David

*ANIMATED MATTERS is sponsored by MIT Media Lab’s STUDCOM (thank you!)*
Feel free to fwd to interested parties.


[AM] Caroline Leaf at the Harvard Film Archive

Caroline Leaf

*in person

showing her work at her alma matter, the Harvard Film Archive at the VES

Monday Nov. 6th 7pm

Showing a retrospective, starting with her very first animation


In the 1960’s, filmmaking was undergoing a democratization process similar to the one that happened later with digital technology: the popularization of cheaper 16 and 8mm film stock meant that film making was almost affordable for everyone. It began to be taught in liberal arts colleges. Harvard offered a single animation class taught by Derek Lamb who came from London via Montreal and the National Film Board of Canada, where there was a culture of purposeful short animation films.

Animation at Harvard in 1968, when I took the course, was taught not as a professional training to become an animator, which would have involved laborious cel painting, team work, and industry standard drawing skills. Rather, it was taught as a form of artistic self-expression, perhaps like writing poetry, and the class was open to all. We came from all parts of the university as well as MIT. Drawing abilities and film knowledge were not prerequisites. And so we animated keychains and quarters, breathing life into inanimate objects. We did stop motion and pixilation and worked with cutouts. I discovered I could draw with beach sand and make the drawings move. The animation class in the basement of the Carpenter Center had none of the upstairs obsession with Bauhaus abstraction and design. We drew however we could, and we told stories. The main goal was to make it move, and we believed Norman McLaren’s observation that what happens between the frames is more important than what happens on each frame.

I remember very little formal teaching.  I don’t think we were taught film language or editing. Though for economy, we all learned to hot splice our original film shots together and make our own A and B rolls. These were days of film and film frames and laboratory processing, when you waited on pins and needles for the driver to return from the lab with rushes, and saw what you had shot a week earlier. All my animating life I did not know how to make an edited cut, and found my way around the problem by making morphed scene changes. Some would say my animation is noteworthy for its moving camera and morphing scene changes. I credit my originality to the animation class where we were left alone for the most part and found our own solutions.  More structured teaching can also be an eye opener.  I loved the hours I spent hunched over a lightbox.  There wasn’t structure or schedule but there was enthusiasm, and sharing, and energy in that basement room and we were carried away by the animated life we were creating. – Caroline Leaf