Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mary and Max - SA premiere

This Thursday, 18th September, 8pm I will be presenting the beautiful stop-motion masterpiece "Mary and Max" at the Kunjanimation Festival for its South African premiere! It is a great honor to be doing this on behalf of Adam Elliot who unfortunately could not make it out from Australia as he's busy working on his next feature film. 

Being a stop-motion animator myself, I had avidly followed Adam Elliot's award-winning short films - Uncle, Cousin, Brother and then the Oscar-winner Harvey Krumpet. They all share a minimalistic style of animation where the quirky script and character design drives the well-timed humor of each piece forwards towards a real emotional punch (and Mary and Max is no different!). 

Model of Harvey Krumpet from the ACMI
In October, 2006, a chance to visit my brother in Melbourne arose, I mailed Adam saying that I would be in the area and that my film had been in competition with his (at the Krakow animation festival in Poland) and would he be available to meet up? His film Harvey Krumpet had won the Oscar for Best Animated Short earlier that year, so I was hardly expecting a reply. Not only was he was gracious enough to say yes, but to invite the naive young South African animator to lunch - I guess they don't get many visitors there. 

Adam is a generous, warm and funny guy and it was an exhilarating experience to able to chat to the Oscar-winner about my own idea for a film that I'd been thinking about - a story about a half-striped zebra. Six years later, and I am in the final stages of the film. 

I had originally intended Khumba to be a 30-minute stop-motion film, but as the story evolved and grew and as I gained the support of my co-writer, I knew it would make a better feature. But getting a stop-motion feature off the ground is no easy feat. The fact that Adam did Mary and Max with a crew of only 120 - only six animators - makes it even more amazing. 

I first saw his incredible film at Annecy in 2009 where it won the Annecy Cristal sharing the prize with Coraline. I was also lucky enough to get a signed postcard from the man himself. 

The film opened Sundance in 2009 and also won Best Animated Feature at the Ottawa International Animation Festival as well as the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Animated Feature Film. 

The screening is part of the Kunjanimation festival which is taking place as part of the France/SA Season 2012. The festival is now in its second year and lucky for us this year it's in Cape Town with a full lineup of workshops, talks and free screenings. Triggerfish is taking part in a few:

Stuart Forrest on The Changing Landscape of Distribution
Wednesday 17th, 14:00 to 15:30

Adventures in Zambezia premiere (invite only) 
Wednesday 17th, 20:00

Making of Adventures in Zambezia
Thursday 18th 16:30 - 17:30

Khumba - A Zebra's Journey from Zero to Hero.
Saturday 20th, 15:30 - 16:30