Vinton’s Smith Brings High-Def Joy

Vinton Studio recently wrapped Ananda, a short film commissioned by agency Young & Rubicam for client Sony. Directed by Vinton creative director Mike Smith, this five-minute mixed-media piece is part of Sony’s Joy project, which follows the company’s 2002 Dreams initiative. For Joy, A handful of top international directors were invited to create a film of their choice using Sony’s new high-def CineAlta camera. Vinton Studios landed an exclusive invite from Sony as the sole company to incorporate animation in the project.

Smith, who describes his short Ananda (Hindi for joy) as Dali meets Bollywood, adds, “It’s a surreal fantasy of a man wondering through the bleak industrial wasteland of his own mind– a love story that combines dream imagery, modern industrialism and East Indian mysticism.”

Before joining Vinton Studios, Smith directed commercials for Colossal Pictures and Wild Brain in London and San Francisco, and work on creative development projects for Warner Bros. and Nickelodeon in Los Angeles. The multi-Clio-winning director is known for his creative, mixed media style that incorporates puppetry, live action, cut-outs, stop motion, and cel and computer animation. As the short’s co-director, veteran Vinton creative Mark Gustafson tackled the live-action portions of Ananda.

According to Ananda producer and VP of production Lourri Hammack, the team at Vinton was given carte blanche to stretch their creative vision and use their expertise in CG, cel animation and stop motion. “The only stipulation was using Sony’s high-definition CineAlta camera which shoots 24 frames per second,” she adds. “We brainstormed several ideas and settled on Ananda.

The Joy collection premiered in New York’s Ziegfield Theater in March, followed by a screenings at several film festivals and tours throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.