– The pilot of Vivement Lundi! deciphers the resurgence of stop-motion animation, to which Unifrance is dedicating a focus for the first time as part of the French Film Festival in Yokohama
The dedicated focus by Unifrance to stop-motion animation “made in France” as part of the 30th French Film Festival in Yokohama (from 1er to December 4) will give pride of place to Rennes society Long live Monday! driven by Jean-Francois Le Corre. Indeed, the program includes his productions Forbidden to dogs and to Italians [+lire aussi :
interview : Alain Ughetto
fiche film] ofAlain Ughetto and, on the short film side, Memorable of Bruno Collet (nominated for the 2020 Oscar) and Bad links of Chloe Alliez and Violet Delvoye, which were entirely or partly produced by his studio Nobody is perfect! (directed by Mathieu Courtois) as The Daughters of the Wind of Heloise Ferlay (including another short on the bill, To the sea dustis distributed by Vivement Lundi!).
Meeting with Jean-François Le Corre (who also counts among others to his recent credit Yuku and the Himalayan Flower [+lire aussi :
interview : Rémi Durin et Arnaud Demuy…
fiche film] ofArnaud Demuynck and Remi Durinseries Dmitri and the multi-awarded Flee [+lire aussi :
interview : Jonas Poher Rasmussen
fiche film] of Jonas Poher Rasmussen) to evoke this true “revival” of stop-motion animation.
Cineuropa: Stop-motion is a very special animation technique. What does it commit in terms of technical skills, manufacturing time, etc.? ?
Jean-Francois Le Corre : Even though stop-motion is an animation technique, the production of an animated puppet film is closer to that of a “live” fiction film shot in the studio than of a cartoon, but, as in a digital animated film, everything has to be made: from the puppets to the smallest prop. A stop-motion shoot will involve a director of photography, a production designer and a sizeable set design team, costume designers, numerous assistants, and a sizeable digital post-production. In the credits of a film like Forbidden to dogs and Italians ofAlain Ughetto, there are about a hundred artistic collaborators. One of the specificities is the work with puppet animators who will produce 3 to 6 useful seconds per day and per animator. It’s a very precise, physically difficult job, and stop-motion chief animators are still very few in Europe. Peter Lordone of the creators of the studio Aardmansays that the beauty of stop-motion animation is that on the screen, you can feel the presence of the animator behind the puppet.
This large number of teams and the very long manufacturing and filming times result in a high production cost which requires French producers to set up financing plans of 8 to 12 million euros. European companies mastering this financing and manufacturing engineering are rare and often work in international co-productions.
Why this revival of stop-motion animation “made in France“ ?
The stop-motion revival is global and the stop-motion community eagerly awaits the release of the Pinocchio of Guillermo del Toro which is already creating a real buzz around stop-motion cinema. About ten feature films and stop-motion series are in advanced development and/or in production in Europe. For 25 years that I have been working with this technique, I have never seen this!
In France, we have a paradoxical relationship with stop-motion animation. We forgot that The Magic Roundabouta cult series in the United Kingdom and which enabled the BBC to develop its merchandising department from the end of the 1960s, is an original creation by French Serge Danot. At the end of the 90s, beginning of 2000, French broadcasters were telling us that stop-motion was dead, that computer-generated 3D was going to supplant everything… while at the same time, Nick Park was creating Wallace and Gromit which brought together millions of prime-time viewers on the BBC!
A handful of production companies (Vivement Lundi! and JPL Films reindeer, Folimage in Valence…) maintained skills in France by producing short films, TV specials and by training new talents. Then came the Franco-Belgian-Swiss series Dmitri (2014) created by Agnes Lecreux and the Swiss-French feature film My Zucchini Life [+lire aussi :
interview : Claude Barras
fiche film] of Claude Barras (2015) which gave more visibility to stop-motion creations. These works have, in a way, “unraveled” stop-motion in France. They also arrived at a time when we felt a form of creative exhaustion in 3D CGI and a demand from part of the public for a less “dematerialized”, more tangible animation cinema. These productions have given us confidence, made the teams grow and opened doors. Today, Foliascope in Valence is shooting the feature film The Inventor of the American Jim Capobiancowe work in line production for Nadasdy Film and High and Short on savages (the new film by Claude Barras) and Forbidden to dogs and Italians will be released in French cinemas on January 25. And on the audiovisual level, France Televisions is committed to the development of the Franco-Japanese children’s series Mogu & Perol (produced by Zephir and Dwarf Animation) pitched at the last Cartoon Forum. To meet this demand, we will have to train a new generation of technicians and accelerate the ecological transition of this technique. The European School of Art of Brittany (EESAB) and Films in Brittanyin partnership with Breton studios, have just filed CNC the ambitious Generation Start Motion project as part of the call for projects “France 2030 – the great image factory”.
We want to say thanks to the author of this write-up for this awesome web content
Jean-François Le Corre • Producer, Vivement Lundi!
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