Rankin is a highly acclaimed photographer and film maker, most well known in the publishing circuit for co-founding Dazed and Confused magazine. His aim with Dazed was to provide a 'platform for innovation' for up-and-coming stylists, designers, photographers and writers. It was a resounding success, and Rankin ventured further into publishing by expanding the Dazed Group by releasing AnOther and AnOther Man print magazines, plus online versions of all the Dazed Group publications. Most recently, in 2011, Rankin returned to publishing with the launch of The Hunger magazine, alongside which is Hunger TV, a video-based digital platform which features behind-the-scenes fashion films, interviews and news. It is obviously that Rankin realised that the future, not only in regards to fashion, will not only be printed but digital too.
As Hunger TV shows, Rankin's emphasis on a digital future is paramount in his work. In the same year as he launched The Hunger, Rankin Film Productions was born, and Rankin has since co-written and directed several short films, music videos and commercials. As with Dazed and Hunger, Rankin is a huge believer and supporter of emerging talent. This is true also of his film career and interest. When founding Collabor8te, Rankin calls on amateur scriptwriters and directors to submit ideas, with the promise of turning a selection of these dreams into reality, to be featured on Dazed TV, and eventually running them on the intonational film festival circuit.
Some of these Collabor8te films have been selected to be shown as part of Sky Arts 1 'Rankin Presents'. This four part series shows eight short films made by new and talented film makers who got the chance to work with professional, established producers and actors in order to produce their short films. Presented by Rankin himself, the eight short films shown were made in the first year of Collabor8te and following each 'screening' Rankin interviews the filmamkers, which demonstrates the process each writer went through working with Collabor8te on how an idea came to life, from storyboarding to scriptwriting right through to casting and postproduction.
One particular short film from 'Rankin Presents' that stood out was 'The Hungry Corpse', written by James Pout and directed by Gergely Wootsch. This macabre animated short film about a 'hungry corpse' who is voiced by British legend Bill Nighy, who is befriended by a cheerful pigeon in Trafalgar Square. Whilst this description definitely doesn't make it sound unmissable or give it the justice it desernves, the stylistic animation and dark storyline certainly gives this animation depth.
The animation style of 'The Hungry Corpse' definitely draws influence from Tim Burton, as writer James Pout mentions in an interview for Hunger TV. He also references Roald Dahl and Oscar Wilde as creative influencers, both in terms of the script and visual outcome. It is also reminiscent of the animated sequence illustrating 'The Tale of The Three Brothers' in 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1', which was directed and designed by Ben Hibon in association with FrameStore. Both this and 'The Hungry Corpse' bring a dark style of animation to short films.
Whilst the other short films shown on 'Rankin Presents' are also of a high calibre, notably the chillingly brilliant 'The Gas Man', something about the sadness of the Hungry Corpse and the morbidity of the idea resonates with the viewer.
The final episode of 'Rankin Presents' is on Sky Arts 1 at 9pm on Wednesday 3rd September, and this as well as the three previous episodes are all available on catch up.