Roger Ballen’s Theatre of Apparitions Trailer

Directed by Emma Calder Ged Haney 5mins animation Black & White

Roger Ballen commissioned Emma Calder and Ged Haney from Pearly Oyster Productions to animate and direct Roger Ballen’s Theatre of Apparitions. The film is based on a large series of photographic drawings made in collaboration with Marguerite Rossouw which feature in his forthcoming book The Theatre of Apparitions to be published 29th September 2016 by Thames & Hudson.

Short Synopsis of the film

Roger Ballen’s famous photographic work has been concerned with the interior architecture of standing structures, playing on the metaphor of the mind as a house of secrets and buried narratives. He has created a series of images inspired by the drawings and marks which people make on their environment that link his unique aesthetic to theatrical performance. Emma Calder and Ged Haney have used 2d computer animation and a brilliant music score by composer John Webb to turn these images into a film reminiscent of an old music hall or circus. In the theatre dismembered people, beasts and ghosts, dance, tumble, make love and tear themselves apart, plunging the audience into the nightmarish world of Roger Ballen’s subconscious.


Pearly Oyster premiere Roger Ballen’s Theatre of Apparitions at Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) 2016

Roger Ballen watches the show

Roger Ballen in The Theatre of Apparitions

Pearly Oyster premiere Roger Ballen’s Theatre of Apparitions at Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) 2016 ‘The McLaren Award: New British Animation 2’, Thursday 23 June 16:15 Filmhouse 1


The 70th EIFF will take place from 15 to 26 June 2016. Full program can be found here.

Emma Calder and Ged Haney have created the new short animated film: Roger Ballen’s Theatre of Apparitions using images from the renown art-photographer Roger Ballen, that plunge the audience deep into his mind. An animated theatre of dismembered people, beasts and ghosts, dance, tumble, make love and tear themselves apart, a nightmarish subconscious world, in black and white.

Emma Calder and Ged Haney have used 2d computer animation and a brilliant music score by composer John Webb to turn these images into a film reminiscent of an old music hall or circus.

Dog eating man's head

Act 2

The film coincides with the publication of Roger Ballen’s new book A Theatre of Apparitions on September 29th by Thames & Hudson.

Emma Calder Workshop and Exhibition Cakovec

I have just returned from running an animation workshop with Zsusanna Szabo at the School of Animation in Cakovec (SAF).

Emma Calder Exhibition Poster

Emma Calder Exhibition Poster

The workshop this year was part of the 40th anniversary celebrations. So I was honored to have been invited. Even better I was asked if I wanted to have a small exhibition at the near by Cultural Centre.

Emmas Exhibition

Emma in Cultural Centre

See below a quick snap shot of the private view,

The Workshop runs all year round for children between 8 and 15 years old. It’s current leaders are Edo Lukman who founded SAF in 1975 and Jasminka Bijelić Ljubić. Jasminka joined SAF in 1998. More info on SAF can be found on their website.

The high light of the trip was the closing night ceremony, where we were treated to some of SAF’s vintage films and their latest 40 min film from 2015. SAF is unique in the world, the quality and the volume of children’s animation, over 250 films and 150 workshops produced over the years. I would love it if someone could set up something in the UK like this, but with the state of current funding, there doesn’t seem much hope of that.

cut out spider

Linda’s Laughing Spider age 11

We also showed our workshop film at the ceremony. Our film was created by each child picking two different words from a Hat and creating a tiny film from that. The kids got stuff like Laughing Spider, Winged Carrot, Party Baby etc…It was quite ambitious for the time allowed, but still showed what can be done in a short space of time, with talented and keen participants.

SAF teens filming

SAF workshop children, filming the title sequence in Cakovec Castle

We also got the children to do some pixelation on the first day, as a fun way to get to know each other. The children came from the UK, USA, Romania and Croatia.

“Everyone is waiting for something to happen ” – Premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival

Edinburgh International Film Festival will be screening the World Premiere of Emma Calder’s new film “Everyone is waiting for something to happen “.

Emma’s facebook friend Richard had an annoying social media persona. Then he vanished.

The Film was commissioned as part of a competition “Reellives” to make a film exclusively based on a chosen person’s social media data. It is part of a EPSRC UK research project being delivered by The University of Birmingham, The Open University andThe University of Edinburgh Informatics.

The film will be part of the Mclaren Award: New British Animation Section screening 2 and will be shown on the 24th June, 16:00 at Filmhouse 1.

It’s great to have a film in this festival again. The last time was in 1993 when our film “The Kings of Siam “. Won the Mclaren Award.

Madame Potatoe Cookbook

It’s 32 years since I finished my film Madame Potatoe, made at the Royal College of Art 1983, whilst a student of Graphic Design.

Emma Calder standing by Royal College oOf Art wall

Emma Calder, Royal College Of Art 1983

I have been trying to collate all the materials relating to this large piece of work. Which included a film, a post modernist piece of fiction, room with wall paper, life sized Madame Potatoe sculpture, t-shirts, greetings cards and a cookery book.


The Madame Potatoe Cookbook was made after I finished the film. I designed it in less than a week and hated it. The printer gave me the plates and artwork back, which I binned before the show. The R.C.A only printed 100 and sadly they sold out the day of the MA show. So people had to go away disappointed.

The most popular recipe was for Poteen. (Irish potato brandy). Which was a bit worrying, as I couldn’t find any recipes to base mine on, so I just made it up!

Sad that I didn’t like it, but I am quite fond of it now, in the scheme of things.


More on Madame Potatoe to follow.

Mud Larking Brooches


Making my Boudica A Norfolk Story animated film was such fun, that this weekend I thought I would make a set of Mud larking Brooches in the style of Boudica to sell, wear and give to my friends..

birthday card for coco

Brooch Card for Coco’s 19th Birthday

I was in a manic collage sort of mood. Most of my best work has come from this kind of creative play, you never quite know what you will discover. Maybe another film or a book who knows?

I had almost run out of suitable bits of broken pottery so on Sunday, my partner and I went down to Vauxhall Embankment to find some more.


Emma Calder at Vauxhall Beach

The very first thing I found was this.

Pottery Treasure

A Grand Find

How Grand is that!! Immediately putting us in a fantastic mood.

We were also lucky as it was almost the lowest tide of the year revealing to us for the first time, the first known London Bridge, built 3500 years ago in the Bronze Age around 1500 BC. This was first discovered in 1993 when the remains were uncovered by erosion of the foreshore.

Original London Bridge discover in 1993

Original London Bridge near Vauxhall Bridge

Here are a few of my best Brooches. More coming soon from my shop!

Flower Grirl Mudlark Brooch By Emma Calder

Flower Grirl Mudlark Brooch by Emma Calder

Brooch: Houses Hat by Emma Calder

Houses Hat Mudlark Brooch by Emma Calder


Tiny Soldier Mudlark Brooch by Emma Calder

Rasta Hat Mudlarking Brooch by Emma Calder

Rasta Hat Mudlark Brooch by Emma Calder


Purple Girl Mudlarking Brooch by Emma Calder

Purple Girl Mudlarking Brooch by Emma Calder

Brown Patternl Mudlarking Brooch by Emma Calder

Brown Pattern Mudlark Brooch by Emma Calder

Stripy Hat Man Mudlarking Brooch by Emma Calder

Stripy Hat Man Mudlark Brooch by Emma Calder




GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years

To celebrate the Graphics Royal College of Art 50 year Exhibition on now. This was the poster that Emma Calder, designed for the Royal College of Art show the year she graduated.

R.C.A poster by Emma Calder

Royal College of Art Poster designed by Emma Calder 1983

Each character included in the poster was a collage of different students work, from different departments in the college. Emma was quite naughty because, before checking with anyone, she found the technician who was printing up photographs of student work for the degree show catalogue, asked him for all the reject prints and also got others out of the bin, then she cut them up, drew into them, photocopied and then coloured them. When she had finished the poster she tracked down the relevant students and got their permission. More about this on Emma Calder’s Moody Days blog.

Miss Louise Goes To Berlin

As it is twenty five years today that the Berlin wall came down, I thought I would put the rough cover illustration that I did for Miss Louise Goes To Berlin that I worked on with Miss Louise goes to Paris author Carolyn Hink.

Miss Louise Goes To Beriln

Rough Cover Illustration Miss Louise Goes To Berlin

It’s very sad that no publisher was interested in 2010, perhaps there is someone more enlightened around now? It was a very good story, even better than Miss Louise goes to Paris but, slightly more serious because of the subject matter. It’s time will come.

I can’t imagine what a city must feel like that has been cut in half and put itself together again. But I think it must be an adventure to go and find out.”

As with most of my books a penciled out storyboard of the whole book exists so if a publisher was interested, It is ready to go. Contact my agent Caroline Michel at PFD if you are interested.



Telephone number: 020 7344 1084



Reel Lives, Social Media Film Competition

Everyone Is Waiting For Something To Happen.

A few months ago, I read an ad for a competition called ReelLives. They were asking for film makers to compete for six awards to make mini biographical documentaries based on a chosen persons social media image. The film had to be cut exclusively from the subjects social media data, although you were allowed to make an original soundtrack as long as it related to the social media content.

Being a great lover of collage, I liked the idea of the challenge and decided to enter with fellow animator Richard Wright my facebook pal, as my subject.

cake mixing

Richard Wright is baking

I left it until the deadline to apply but had a good chat on the phone with the funders and Richard before writing a treatment, which I did in break neck speed. Luckily I got the money.


Prior to being diagnosed with bowel cancer Richard Wright, an artist/animator, had a social media persona that was characterised by annoying and anarchic humour. After initially feeling unable to communicate at all, his general healing process became entwined with the resurrection of his social media presence, helped by an obsessive regime of cooking and baking.

The film uses character and abstract animation, created from collages of Richards photos and quotes posted on social media including a fifty two page blog which he wrote for a bowel cancer forum and interviews with Richard talking about his posts.

The result is a humorous and visually stimulating film that explores one creative individuals strategy for coping with a life threatening illness and how he was able to share this with his social media community.

The Film is part of a EPSRC UK research project being delivered by The University of Birmingham, The Open University and The University of Edinburgh Informatics.




Random Person Has A Day Out

I have been having a lot of moans from people waiting for the next series of Random Person films. I promise that they will be coming soon. The reason for the delay after finishing Boudica, was the necessity of pitching for paid work and promoting my last film Boudica A Norfolk Story.

Luckily both efforts turned out well and Boudica is just beginning her festival career. The film will be presented next month in competition at Zagreb. I am going, thanks to a travel grant from the British Council.

After three pitches the third was a success and I have just won a competition to make a new film, it is a mini bio pic doc. More news coming soon.

I was pretty close with the first pitch too and got shortlisted down to five out of one hundred and fifty people, this would have been a lovely job, I planned to make an animated film inspired by Kelmscot Mannor and William Morris. I still want to make this film so if any one knows, anyone who could fund it, please let me know.

Here is Random person trying to star in a film about Walthamstow, unfortunately this particular pitch was unsuccessful!

walthamstow market

Random Person in Walthamstow Market, buying trimmings


Random Person outside the Pie and Mash cafe in Walthamstow Market

Random Person outside the Pie and Mash cafe in Walthamstow Market