I have been working on a film for the last 6 months called The Lost Mariner, which will serve as my graduation film for the Master of Animation I am finishing up. It’s based on an Oliver Sacks case study that you can find in his excellent book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and is about patient Jimmie G, who suffers from a rare memory disorder.
Those familiar with my work will know that I always think very hard about the technique to use to tell the story. In this case I decided to use the concept of photographs, so crucial in how we retain and symbolize memories, as the basis of the storytelling, resulting in what I would call a ‘photo cutout’ technique.
I had used cut-outs before, in fact, almost exclusively the first few years of filmmaking (see A Moment’s Reverie and Plain Face). But I had never used cut-outs quite in this way. Because Jimmie’s condition gives him a unique view on reality I felt it was important to use photos of real actors instead of designed characters. Photos of these actors were then printed and re-animated in a flat photo cut-out universe. The contrast between the real actors’ faces and movements and the flat universe in which they live provides a nice analogy to what it might be like to see the world through Jimmie’s eyes. It’s almost real, but not real.
It was a really fun way to make a film! Even though, yes, it involved a lot of scissors work. See below the trailer and the Making Of video which might give you a better idea of how the film was made.
I am also super happy to have gotten the chance to work with these talented actors, as well as Thijs van Gasteren (cameraman for the live action shoot), Jason Staczek (super talented composer I can’t believe I get to work with), and Production House Media (excellent sound design). Also I want to thank Warren Etheredge, Brad Hutchinson and also Lindy Boustedt for their invaluable feedback, and Giacomo Boffo for lending his design talents to the poster.
I will be presenting the film as part of our graduation exhibition on August 28th at the Chasse Theater in Breda, The Netherlands, along with a display of the cut-outs used in the film. The exhibition will then be open from Aug 29-31 as well. If you’re in The Netherlands, please consider visiting! More information can be found on the St Joost website, and the Facebook event.