Sometimes being the little man has its advantages – this is a big story about the small guy
[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]nton may be done with life, but life isn’t done with Anton. In his convincing decision to change his measly existence he discovers the real greatness of life. This short animation sees Anton an unusually short man battling with a cruel world that just was not designed for someone his size. This short is beautifully animated and has a wonderful score.
Winner of the best animation award, the time spent on this short and the attention to detail is clearly seen from the outset. This short was a long time in the making and seems to have been well received on the film festival circuit.
Ben Brand, Director of Life is Beautiful and the team at Fube the Animation studio along with the other people the came together to make this animated short film have done such a good job setting themselves apart from the rest.
The question what will happen after we die is one that I, and many others on this world, ask myself on a regular basis. Will this transition to a next existence, which some of us have lived our whole life for, be a disappointment or could there even be nothing? Of course I also can’t give you an answer, but I can try through showing ‘ Life is Beautiful ‘.
The idea behind ‘Life is Beautiful’ is to show the parallels between faith in Heaven & Hell and my personal belief in reincarnation. After death we all leave our body and our energy or spirit travels further to a next place. I do believe in the existence of a heaven and hell, only not in a “Heaven” above the clouds or a “hell” deep underground. I think both are here on Earth, it just depends on what you make of life.
Although topics like suicide and the afterlife maybe heavy, the film is supposed to be a funny, tragicomic film for young and old. Anton’s situation maybe very sad, but the playful design make it light and funny. I think you can compare it to the characters in the films of the Coen Brothers. These are often plagued by their appearance, the situation and the way they are portrayed. While being entertained, you feel sorry for them at the same time.
Interview with ikbenbrand director of
Life is Beautiful
Tell us a little bit about yourself how you got into filmmaking?
I believe it’s a big filmmakers cliché but I got into filmmaking at a very young age. It started with writing short stories and making photo’s with the camera my aunt gave me. Then when I got older I started making films together with friends which resulted in getting accepted at Film academy of Amsterdam. After graduating I started working as a commercial director and in my spare time I started working on my first two shorts. One of them is Life is Beautiful.
How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
The idea for Life is Beautiful was born during my third year of Film academy. The idea was to make it a live action film (because I’m a live action director) but this seemd so impossible so I started thinking about animation. A couple of years later I came across the script again. Together with a writing buddy of mine I corrected the script and went searching for an animation studio. After a wile I found Fube, an animation studio with young guys who had just graduated like me. During a year we developed the script and artwork together and then applied it at the Dutch film fund. Luckily the jury was really enthusiastic about our plan so a two year production could start.
Talk us through the process of creating an animation?
From the storyboard we made an animatic, this means making the whole film a couple of times including sound, music and everything, but then very basic. During this time the Art director, Vincent Bisschop also started working on the look with some of the other guys. When everything was done we started making the final film. This took us the longest, animating, shading, rendering etc. When we had the first edit of the film the sound and music department started making the final score. Then after two years of hard work the film was done.
What challenges did you face?
The biggest problem was that there was some money but not enough at all. This made us work on the film partly at first so all of us could do some commercial projects besides the film. But after a year we knew we wouldn’t have enough time if we continued working this way so we, and I mean especially the guys from Fube, had to work on it every day. The last year every day started really early and ended really late. I think we survived on the love for each other and the story. but sometimes you just want to run away.
What are your plans moving forward?
Besides ‘Life is Beautiful‘ I also made the live action short ‘97%’. This film is touring festivals around the world right now and hopefully it will also go online in a short time. Right now both films helped me to get money to write my first feature called ‘Find that dumb little bitch and throw her into a river’.
When visiting a couple of film festivals last year I saw some really good, but very harsh, short films. These films relay gave me a punch in the stomach and that is exactly what I would like to achieve with my first feature. Make people laugh, cry and give them and fuck them up.
Main Genre Comedies Budget £50,000 – 75,000 How long did it take to shoot 6 mounths + Film location (country) Netherlands Film location (city) Amsterdam
Producer: Caviar Amsterdam
Writer / Director: Ben Brand
Co-writer: Ilse Ott
Animation studio: Fube
Producer: Niels Scheide / Rogier Dorant
Executive Producers: Jacques Vereecken / Sander Heeroma
Head of production: Liesbeth Timmer
Line Producer: Percy Tienhooven
Art Director: Vincent bisschop
Technical Director:Jasper van Nieuwenhuizen
Compositing: Koos Dekker
Rendering:Sebastiaan van Hesteren
Animatic: Percy Tienhoven
Head of Animation: Rik Schutte
Animation: Nanda van Dijk
Animator: Piebe van der storm
Licht & Shading: Ruud Coenen
Shading: Dimitar Kralev
Sound Design: Dennis Kersten
Editor: Wietse de Zwart
Music Composed by: Christiaan Verbeek
Storyboard: Natasha Stevie
Aditional Artwork: Lois van Baarle
Moddeling: Kjeld Slingeland / Vinnie Portier
Voice acting: Jankees van den Berg / Laura Branderhorst
Acting: Fabian Jansen