Monday, 7 November 2011

Making of Streamschool

A little girl has an adventure with water as she travels from a small brook to the sea. A tale of growing up based on a Hungarian poem.

      Streamschool was my graduation film in BA Animation at Moholy- Nagy University of Arts and Design. I chose the poem from a Hungarian contemporary poet called Zsolt Miklya to make a short film for children.
The production was only two months long because at the same time I was attending an animation course called ASF (Animation Sans Frontieres) and the rest of that term was really short.

      When I had the final idea in mind I asked my friend Kati Egely to do the backgrounds for my film (she makes beautiful pictures and puppets using different textiles). We planned out the timing and the storyboard roughly together and then she sewed the backgrounds. Then I designed the main character "Dora" who travels through and explores this beautiful imaginary world.

Dora the main character

Final pictures

      After the tests the production has started. I used the Dragon stop motion software to shoot the film which is an amazingly helpful software and the best to make stop motion. To be able to animate the characters and the backgrounds on more layers I built a small layered glass table.
My aim was to make all the effects in stop motion instead of using computer generated ones. The simplest and the most spectacular idea which came into my mind one day while swimming was that I put an old jar under the camera to create the effects of the under water scene. As I rolled the jar frame by frame it caused a distortion which gave this amazing wavering effect. Check it out here:

Process from the shooting until the final result.

      Another important choice was that at the beginning Dora (the little girl) wasn't planned to be in the film's beginning and I didn't want to re shoot the previous scenes so I animated Dora over the already done stop motion backgrounds in flash. When all the scenes were finished I could start working on the sound design and the composition.

      My biggest inspirations in the animation style and mood were two films; the well known Her morning elegance and another great cut-out music video called Hello Antenna
Because I wanted to be fast but still have a professional result at the end I made test animations in flash for the more complicated parts to use them as a guide animating under the stop motion camera. Here are two of them: "fish jumping" and "big waves coming".

      Making sounds is an entertaining and creative work that I enjoy all the time; making them, finding them and even copying parts from other movies to put all them together to get a totally new and unique result...
      I was quite fortunate finding this beautiful piece of music which became the theme of the film. The composer and also graphic designer is a talented guy called Ábris Gryllus known as YVEIN MONQ.
The Hungarian narration of the film was told by Piroska Molnár one of the most famous actress in Hungary. I wanted her to narrate it because she has such a strong but still warm character like a grandmother and a huge experience in her past.
My friend JOSEPH WALLACE (a talented British filmmaker) made the English translation and THOMAS VILLEMONTEIX the French which was narrated by the actress MURIEL RACINE.

      I could finish the film blissfully at the end of May just before my graduation was. It was greeted quite well at the animation department in MOME. It has visited 10 international festivals, small and big ones.
I plan to continue this project as a series of poem animations (after I graduated in MA) using and developing this wonderful spectacle and technique to let both children and adults wonder and explore in new exciting and imaginary worlds.