The NFB Comes to LA Shorts Fest

The NFB has three shorts at the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, including the North American premiere of If I Was God (screening Sept. 9 at 3:15 pm) by two-time Oscar nominee Cordell Barker.

If I Was God marks the stop-motion debut for 2D animator Barker (Strange InvadersThe Cat Came Back). It explores the awkward transition in middle school when kids imagine themselves to be omnipotent and uses a variety of techniques. Ironically, Barker admitted that his memory for the past isn’t very good.

“There was a lot of manufactured stuff and whatever came to mind to create a story,” Barker explained. “I wanted to do a parody of remembering [your childhood]. And to me, coming of age at 12 or 13 is a true gateway. It’s more about the glimpse into adulthood rather than the actual transition into adulthood. I like the idea of projecting ahead and imagining the power of adulthood and the inability to contain it.

“It was a blend of using pros and doing some of it myself because I wanted to have hands-on. So while I took on the cutaway imagination sequences, the classroom stuff is legitimate, professional grade stop-mo. So I had this couple in Montreal doing that and that gave me a comfort level. It was still difficult because I had to convey it. I actually went through a pretty laborious process to make sure I would get what I wanted. I learned how to use Maya in order to build the room and figure out what was in each shot and lens choices. And for the timing, I created all of that CG; I created coded animation so I could work on when characters blinked and when an arm would move and exact timing of actions. And I gave each shot to the animators so they would know the exact tempo that I was after. I’m used to taking short cuts, but you can’t take liberties with a three-dimensional design. And every time I drew up these three-dimensional characters, they looked bland so I had to keep tweaking it forever.

“And when I finally went to Montreal with all of my props and everything, I found it unbelievably daunting to take that first frame and start moving forward. It was freaky all the way through. I’m used to throwing out 2D animation but stop-mo is an all or nothing discipline. It was a fantastic moment when I hit that last shot. It was like being released from jail.”

Read the rest at Animation Scoop/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Crafts, Festivals, Movies, Shorts, stop-motion, Tech, VFX

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