Saturday, September 7th, Conference room, 12:00 a.m.

Presentation / Making Of

“Oh Willy...” is an amazing film.
Anyone who has seen it will tell you that. After his mother saw him in a dream on her deathbed, Willy – a good-natured chubby – returns to the naturist resort where he had spent his childhood. After she has gone, his life starts to change. A dramatic, albeit a slightly humorous and most definitely unusual chain of events will lead Willy towards discovering consolation and a new, true meaning of his life. The surreal story of Willy’s encounter with the mysterious creature in the desolated mountain is a breath-taking one, but none-the-less extraordinary is the use of the fibreous materials that all of the puppets are made of, as well as the scenography.
Behind this by any measure outstanding animated accomplishment are two Belgian artists: Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels. Their film has won awards in numerous festivals, including the Grand Prix of ANIMANIMA 2012. This has been more than reason enough to welcome them as our guests at this year’s ANIMANIMA, where they will appear before the audience to talk about the challenges they ecountered during the creation of ‘Oh Willy…’.

In a nutshell, this is how Emma and Marc present their film: “'Oh Willy...' is a stop motion film: puppet were animated frame by frame on sets ranging from 10m by 10m for exteriors to 2m by 2m for interiors, at the Beast Animation Studios in Belgium. All props and characters a made out of wool and fabrics. The production took one year – from January 2011 to January 2012, and was a co-production between France, Belgium and the Netherlands.”

Where did they find the inspiration for a story this suggestive in terms of both the scenario and its visual impact? “We were inspired by Diane Arbus’ photos of people living in nudist colonies. The photos are as poetic as they are uncomfortably banal and confronting. We wanted to achieve the same tension between poetry and shockingly uncensored imagery by combining the wool with the theme of naturism and question of what it means to live in a natural way.”

And here are some interesting production details: “We constructed most of the sets and puppets at a lovely French studio called Vivement Lundi!, then put everything in a big truck and drove to the Belgian studio Beast Animation for the shoot. We shot in rotation on three sets: a small one for interiors and two larger sets for exteriors. Marc James Roels and I dressed and lit the sets on one platform while the two others were being animated on. The shoot took four months and by the end we were sleeping in the studio next to the sets on a very uncomfortable fold-out bed so we wouldn’t waste any time commuting!”

“The animation posed extra challenges as we wanted specific parts of the the wool to move at every frame, so even if there was no movement we had to touch the puppets before taking an image- being careful not to touch any of the fibres on the set around it. Wool also ‘breathes’, so we couldn’t take overnight breaks, every shot had to be finished in one day: this usually meant very long days for the animators.”

“Nearly all the shots were conceived based on the limitations of the wool. We wanted to retain the fuzzy, wiry texture of the wool so green-keying was almost immediately ruled out. We have a very lo-tech approach and wanted to create a sense of wide open space on set without relying too much on post-production. Every element in every shot was a real on-set element so we had to come up with all kinds of on-set solutions to make everything look ‘real’. For example, distant objects needed to be scaled down and diffused to create a sense of distance, we strapped wool to the lenses to create foreground fog, we made huge diffusion panels using cheap plastic and created clouds by suspending bits of freshly cut sheep’s wool on chicken wire.”

Finaly, meet our authors.

Emma De Swaef jwas born in 1985 in Ghent, Belgium and studied Documentary Filmmaking at the St. Lukas Academy in Brussels. She decided to use her knitting and craft skills in her graduation film Soft Plants. The short introduces the character of a chubby office-worker Willy. Emma works as animator and puppet maker for commercials, films and documentaries, most recently designing and animating a little man made out of sugar cubes for a Belgian sugar brand.

Marc James Roels was born in Johannesburg in 1978 and studied animation at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium. He has directed three live action short films (Mumbler, 2008, A Gentle Creature, 2010) which have each garnered several international awards and nominations, including the Berlin Film Festival and Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. He also directs life action commercials at CZAR.BE. Oh Willy... is his first animated short.

In 2012 she brought Willy back to life in the animated short film Oh Willy made in cooperation with the filmmaker Marc James Roels. Oh Willy was their first collaboration It premiered at the Clermont Ferrand Film Festival and has garnered more than 70 international awards such as the Grand Prix Animafest Zagreb, Grand prix at the ITFS Stuttgart, Grand Prix at the Holland Animation Film festival and the 2012 Cartoon d’Or. Emma and Marc are currently developing a new short in the same technique.

Title OH WILLY... • Direction Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels • Script Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels • Animation Andreas De Ridder, Alice Tambelini, Steven De Beul • Editing Dieter Diependaele • Sound Design Bram Meindersma • Production Beast Animation • Year 2012 • Duration 16:32

Saturday, September 7th, Conference room, 2:00 p.m.

GEORGES SCHWIZGEBEL: How I make animated film

Georges Schwizgebel reveals professional secrets analyzing the process of making animated films in his studio. The lecture has five chapters: Steps, Music, Loops, Motion on space, Metamorphosis. About one and half hour in the company of the master of animation from Switzerland includes the screening of his extraordinary films "Jeu" and "78 Tours".

Saturday, September 7th, Conference room, 4:30 p.m.

Andrea Martignoni:

Voices, noises, music and sounds are the elements that make up the soundscape of any existing place. Those responsible for creating a soundtrack for an animated short film have the task of collecting sounds, capturing them from their original sources, removing them from their context and putting them back in the game in a new context: that of the film. In this way, a composer of a soundtrack for an animated film gives new souls to sounds. Contrary to what happens in live action film where, in general, the voices and dialogue of actors, in the flesh, take center stage in the soundscape of the film, the animated short is filled with sounds often disconnected from speech.

This happens not only because animation is predisposed to communicate and tell stories through moving images, but also because, in general, the animated film is born without sounds: it sometimes adapts to pre-existing music, but more often it is born mute, and therefore requires sound to be constructed around the images, requires a soundscape built specially for the film. Everything is permitted in a complex electroacoustic composition, made up of sounds of instruments mixed with sounds captured from the real world, electronic processing and sampling of all kinds, sounds of voices and resonant bodies, but always at the exclusive service of the film.

Programme supported by Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Belgrade.

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