Beautiful Musica Found at Annecy

In addition to all the planned presentations and screenings, the Annecy International Festival of Animation offers a smorgasbord of unexpected events and marvelous chance meetings. Just an hour ago, for example, while looking for colleagues, I met three young graduates of France’s renown Supinfocom (last year Christel Pougeoise and Romain Segaud won SIGGRAPH’s Electronic Theatre Award for Best Animated short with their graduate thesis, Tim Tom).

Antoine Dekerle, Leandre Lagrange and Azad Lusbaronian showed me the culmination of four years training, their nine-minute CG film, Vita ex Musica. This poetic short tells the story of a robotic character created by his master for one purpose, to play music that will bring life to his devastated world. When the master’s creation plays his viola, plants begin to grow from cracks in sidewalks and along walls in the apocalyptic city. The only problem is, the master did not expect his creation to exhibit free will. The robot man is intrigued with a mannequin in a shop window and tries to bring her back to life. His efforts destroy the master’s plan but bring a new an unexpected growth to the world, the intensity of love.

When asked what makes training at Supinfocom so special, Lusbaronian explained it is the intense focus on one goal–to create a film. “We worked in teams, so it was three of us, and spent our first two years in preparation. No 3D, only drawings. The entire next year was spent on story–graphic design, storyboards–and the last year on animation.” These three animators, working exclusively in Maya 5, said that the most rewarding part of their journey was coming up with a poetic story for two characters and creating a unique animated universe.

Look for Vita ex Musica in festival competitions next year and expect Dekerle, Lagrange and Lusbaronian to make a name for themselves as filmmaking partners far into the future.