Sunday, October 30, 2011

Let Go's use of Animation

While visiting and volunteering at the Austin film Festival Last weekend, I got to see the premiere of a movie that I interned on in LA called Let Go. The movie stars David Denman, Gillian Jacobs, Ed Asner, and Kevin Hart among others. Here is the festival’s blurb about the movie:

Parole officer Walter Dishman (David Denman, “The Office”) is having a rough time. In addition to his failing marriage, Walter has just been assigned to three of the strangest parolees he’s ever met. There’s Darla DeMint (Gillian Jacobs, “Community”), a steamy seductress on the make who spots an easy target on Walter’s forehead. Then there’s Kris Styles (Kevin Hart), an ex-con on a short leash with an even shorter temper. Finally, there’s Artie Satz (Ed Asner), a longtime prisoner who find the real world to be much different than it was when he went into lockdown. Will these crazy criminals ruin Walter’s life, or will they somehow help him become a better man? Written and Directed by Brian Jett and Produced by Leif Lillehaugen.

Why am I writing about this on our blog? Well besides the fact that I want to shamelessly promote a movie that I helped with, the movie used animation in a really unique way. The movie was live action but instead of using traditional day to night time lapses and location transitions, Let Go used animated ones. And they weren’t your traditional drawn animations either. The animator, Giles Timms, was inspired by Russian Cut-out Animation, Expressionism, and Comics. According to his IMDB page: “Giles has cultivated a distinctive technique that is textural, stylized and painterly. Using history and its motifs, Giles creates pop surreal worlds that are grounded in the real - 3D worlds in a flat 2D paper style.” Thus, the animations in Let Go were used a cut out styles to create a whimsical transition from night to day or day to night".

During the Question and Answer session after the film, someone actually asked the director about his choice of unique animated transitions. He responded that he had been a fan of the 3D cut out style and found someone within the movie’s budget who practiced that style (Giles Timms). The director wanted to make sure to keep the light, whimsical nature of the movie’s tone prevalent and figured that having these whimsical, surreal transitions would help avoid pushing the storyline in a more depressing direction. I thought this was a really interesting touch to the movie that did help keep the tone on the lighter side.

Unfortunately since it just premiered, I have no video examples but if you want you can watch a trailer for Let Go below. Don’t judge the quality of the movie on the low-budgetness of the trailer-it actually came out really well and the producer and director are working towards distribution!

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