It’s a wet day here in Rotterdam, and I have just about recovered from the third Animation Sans Frontières module in Viborg, Denmark. The first session was in the latter half of October in Ludwigsburg, Germany (hosted by the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg), the second was in Budapest (hosted by MOME), and the last session will be in Paris in March (hosted by Les Gobelins). Click here to read a blog post about the Germany module and here for the one on Budapest (also click here for an animated GIF inspired by our cylindrical hotel in Budapest).
This most recent session in Viborg was hosted by The Animation Workshop, an institution that includes an animation Bachelor program, a drawing academy, an animation artist residency called Open Workshop (deadlines four times a year), a hub of young animation studios and a series of other short programs, including AniDox Lab (in which I participated last year). There’s something for everyone and the atmosphere is very friendly.
Headed by organizer extraordinaire Tim Leborgne, our ASF session in Viborg was characterized by hard work and visits from experts. The goal of ASF is to develop our projects enough to be able to give a great pitch. This means knowing what your film is about, but also how much it will cost to make, what collaborators you need to find, and how it will most likely be produced.
In that capacity we heard from Petter Lindblad, a Swedish animation and live-action producer, who talked us through the fine arts of budget estimates, production plans and one-pagers, and actually made everything make sense.
Another key instructor was Ellen Riis, a Danish animation/live-action producer who gave us more insight into pitch trailers and presentation materials – basically how to convince funding organizations that your project is awesome.
And finally we heard from Claus Toksvig, a producer from Danish studio Noerlum, who ran us through his experiences co-producing the animated feature films Song of the Sea and Long Way North.
Other highlights included two screenings of the Bachelor graduation films (the Bachelors happened to be graduating during our visit), and the films from the past year of the Open Workshop residents. We also heard from local studios Noerlum, Sun Creature Studios, and independent filmmaker Reka Bucsi, who just completed her second animated short at The Animation Workshop (and was also on the ASF course last year). And by chance Simon Rouby was in town and screened his newly released animated feature film Adama, which he started developing on the very first ASF program in 2008 (showing us how long it takes to get an animated feature made).
Besides hearing from experts I also got the chance to work more with talented scriptwriter Arpad Herman, to develop a better and more detailed treatment of my film.
Our Viborg session culminated in 10 minute practice pitches, preparing us for the bigger pitch session in Paris. Some of us worked into the wee hours getting all our materials together, but it was worth it, and it went great. It’s a great way to crystallize your idea and learn how to explain it to others.
And even though Viborg isn’t exactly Denmark’s leading light in the arts and culture departments, we were treated to some very nice dinners in town and in the first week, anyway, a beautiful layer of snow.
Looking forward to our final session in Paris at the end of March.