Animation directors use new technology and styles to tell modern stories

In today’s high-tech world, there are as many ways to make an animated film as there are genres of film. The top animation features each year span everything from family fare to real-life documentaries and everything else, and today’s animation directors have many, or very few, tools at their disposal. to tell their stories as they please.

For Sony Pictures Animation’s “Mitchells vs. the Machines, a comedy about a dysfunctional family battling a robotic apocalypse, directors Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe saw the irony of using top tools to tell a story. technology vigilance.

“We’re making a movie about technology and the only way we can communicate with our mom or see our friends is through the computer,” said Rianda of work during the pandemic lockdown. “It’s a great time for animation right now. I enjoyed watching people from all walks of life tell stories. I’m happy to see where people get it.”

The two directors met while training at CalArts, where they made films each year to show for their colleagues.

Rowe recalls: “If you do well, you will have an audience laughing and cheering, and if you don’t, you just sit there in a quiet room with hundreds of people. “I think that’s like conveying to us that the audience is always right. You don’t make things in a vacuum, you make them for people.”
While animation technology is evolving almost daily, some directors are using advances to support the techniques they were originally trained in, rather than changing the way they work.

Michaela Pavlátová, whose film “My Sunny Maad” tells the story of a Czech woman married to an Afghan man and her experience moving to Kabul during the American occupation, deploys a cartoon style. Simple hand drawn.

Growing up under communist rule in the Czech Republic, she studied illustration, but when a visiting Japanese animator gave her a Super 8 camera, which allowed her to film frame-by-frame, her love Her liking for animation skyrocketed.

“It was a very important moment, I could make my own film,” Pavlátová recalls. “This started my addiction to animation – I am a creator of new universes, I love and still love creating motion.”

Pavlátová’s short film “Words, Words, Words” was nominated for an Academy Award in 1993, and in a short time she went to the United States, where the availability of technology opened up for her. new abilities, augmenting what she’s been doing by hand for years.

“I like computers because they save me time. I draw directly on the tablet, into the computer,” she said. “So now it’s quite difficult for me to draw on paper because it’s a different feeling.”

Jonas Poher Rasmussen, a radio broadcaster, searched for years for a way to tell the story of an Afghan man’s refugee journey with whom the subject, Amin Nawabi, would feel comfortable. When Rasmussen attended a workshop with animators, the pieces fell into place, and he approached Nawabi.

The result is “Escape,” executive produced by Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, was shortlisted for the Oscar doc.

“Animation is the only way to do it, because (Nawabi) wants to remain anonymous because it takes place in the past but also because it’s a story about emotions, trauma and memories,” Rasmussen said. “You can be expressive with animation and that’s really the key.”

With so many animators telling real-world stories and exploring modern themes, the future of these motion pictures is less limited by the constraints of the filmmakers than by the filmmakers themselves. their imagination. Animation directors use new technology and styles to tell modern stories

Fry Electronics Team

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