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Industry / Market - Poland

Industry Report: Animation

The ANIMARKT Stop Motion Forum asks: What gets producers and directors moving?

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Good chemistry, decent working conditions and finding perfection in imperfection, among other things, were mentioned during the “Cooperation Between Creator and Producer in Stop Motion” debate

The ANIMARKT Stop Motion Forum asks: What gets producers and directors moving?
l-r: Ben Tesseur, Darek Kuźma, Gabor Osvath, Michał Łubiński and Jean-Francois Le Corre during the discussion

The ANIMARKT Stop Motion Forum (7-11 December), the Polish film gathering dedicated to the art of stop-motion animation, wrapped recently after offering a multitude of different events, including master classes and discussions between industry professionals. “Cooperation Between Creator and Producer in Stop Motion” was one of such debates. It was moderated by Darek Kuźma, and welcomed Jean-Francois Le Corre (Vivement Lundi!), Gabor Osvath (Filmfabriq, Boddah), Michał Łubiński (ASTRA) and Ben Tesseur (Beast Animation), who joined the event online.

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The initial question concerned the needs and requirements of producers when dealing with directors, and vice versa. All of the experts agreed that the most crucial element in orderto enable the collaboration to begin was the quality of the project (encompassing the plot, the characters and the universe), but the human chemistry between the filmmaker and their producer was also important. Osvath half-jokingly observed that since his native Hungary is such a small country, and thus so is its stop-motion animation market, he was good friends with most of the people he worked with. Tesseur added that when he acts as a producer, he needs to be confident that his director will be able to deliver the project with a level of quality that he or she initially promised.

All of the experts agreed with the metaphor first used by Le Corre – that a production is like a ship, and a director is the captain who has to be able to weather all of the storms together with the producer. Łubiński added that his current project initially resembleda small fleet of ten ships sailing off in different directions, and then the team finally agreed on one.

What was also brought up by the expert is that because of the very nature of stop-motion animation, its beauty lies in all of its imperfections, all of the tiny changes in the puppets, rather than in flawlessness and perfection, which “kills emotions”. The exceptions to the rule are child-orientated productions and adverts.

Le Corre also said that he has seen a generational shift in stop-motion animation production. When he was starting his career in the mid-1990s, he was self-taught, whereas now, young filmmakers are well trained by the schools (which were a rarity two decades ago) and are well prepared for work. Additionally, he pointed out one of the major challenges in his field of work: making a production more sustainable. This mostly concerns more eco-friendly sets, as well as the puppets and materials used on a daily basis. Tesseur also mentioned that producers should try to create comfortable working conditions for animators, who can spend up to 12 hours a day in poky rooms, which can easily be too cold, too hot or not properly lit.

When asked where they usually looked for creative partners, the panellists mentioned industry events but also Instagram accounts.

Overall, the discussion concluded that after many years of CGI animation ruling the roost, stop-motion is regaining its popularity, yet the visibility of and recognition for its makers deserve to be much bigger. Tesseur even suggested that filmmakers should be invited onto the red carpet, since they are the ones who breathe life into their puppets.

The ANIMARKT Stop Motion Forum unspooled from 7-11 December and was organised by MOMAKIN, a company dedicated to the education and professionalisation of the animation film industry. The International Visegrád Fund and the Polish Film Institute co-funded the gathering, while the main partners were EC1 Łódź - City of Culture and the Lodz Film Commission.

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