NANUQ the film

Long time no blog :)

Allow me to introduce a wonderful project I had the pleasure of working on....

From September 2010 to March 2011, I had the most delightful honor of helping two incredible filmmakers with their half live-action/half stop-motion film thesis from Columbia College Chicago, titled "Nanuq".

Below is a collection of the first shots I animated...

A good friend of mine, Dick Kaneshiro, introduced me to Jill Jones (director) and Brent Yontz (cinematographer) whilst they were ambitiously attempting to finish the animated portion of their short film in their small Burbank apartment.

            Here's a photo of what their BEDROOM looked like. You have to admire their spirit!

Above is a picture of Brent setting up a shot, and below is a picture of Dick animating the Nanuq puppet.

I joined the team after being swept away by their narrative and their indestructable work ethic.

So... from that point on... 
We worked our BUTTS OFF pulling LOONNG 14 hour days, several days a week, and pushed and pushed... until we inevitably all became family! :)

 Here are some pictures of the mountain Brent and I made out of wire mesh and plaster bandages. 
The top is a piece of styrofoam board that we shaved down with a wire brush. The camera mover (shown below) is a brilliantly simple design Dick showed me how to construct - and it's been surprisingly helpful for several projects!

Below is a picture of Charlie Pieper fabricating the wolf that chases Julie.  He made this puppet using a fox skull which gave it an amazingly scary silhouette. To top it off, he put glowing red LED lights in his eyes. 

 I added some latex red gums and a slender tongue to top it off - all together making for one scary puppet!

He was the first puppet I had the pleasure of animating on the project - and it was AWESOME!!

In fact... at times, he looked veeeerry similar to a chupacabra...

Below is a beautiful photo of Marina Joseph animating Julie and Nanuq.

A few months in, our Nanuq family extended to some amazingly talented friends of mine (Kelsey Stillmaker and Hillary Lile), who jumped on the project as animators when we needed help the most!

Below is a picture of Kelsey animating the notorious polar bear :)

Then, in December of 2010, our family grew even bigger!

After working a few days as a fabricator on the stop-motion Christmas special, Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas, at Bix Pix Entertainment - the wonderful, ever-generous Kelli and Dan Bixler invited us to complete Nanuq in their professional studio space!

So we packed up the apartment bedroom, and headed over to Bix Pix!

There we had plenty of space to spread out and take care of the larger scenes. Brent utilized all three stages, and we work even loonger hours!

The first scene of the movie, where Julie runs into frame, required a huge stage with plenty of lights, and all of our expertise to pull off! Dick brought his professional mo-co rig for the zoom, Brent set up the stage and kept an eye on the focus, and I animated.

Haha.. we had to cut out a hole in the stage for my short arms to reach Julie comfortably. So Dick and I grabbed a hand saw, jumped up on the table, and tackled it as best we could!!
.....before we realized there was an electric saw I overlooked....

Below is a screen grab of Dick handing Brent the saw we used.
Brent courteously holds his pinky up while accepting it!

And that's how we began our 19 hour shoot of the first scene!

Here are some pictures of what the set looked like.
And below on the right you can see Dick's motion control rig where the camera slowly inched its way closer and closer to the stage while trapping me in my corner!

By the evening, it was no wonder we were all falling asleep at our stations!

...and trying to keep our eyes open!
Haha below Brent checks focus contorting to see the laptop once the space was at its tightest 
(and we were at our sleepiest!)

After completing the final long shots at Bix Pix, I finished up the last bit of effects at CalArts on their down-shooter (which is a table with several layers of glass and a camera facing down to it). 

I shot the title, then air and snow effects with the help of Hilary using styrofoam and fiber-fill.

Below are the Nanuq letters I sculpted and painted on the glass of the down-shooter. Lit by Brent :) 

All in all, this made for an exta-ordinary experience and a beautifully, amazing film!!

So much hard work went into the making of it - I highly recommend you check it out if it tours near you. 

For a more in-depth explanation of the materials and process it took to bring this short film to life, check out the film's Blog here!

And while you're at it - why don't you 'Like' the film on its Facebook page here to receive up to date festival schedules and connect with the creators and supporters of this magnificent film!

Thank you so much for stopping by!
Until I blog again....

1 comment: