Saturday, October 12, 2013

Luc Chamberland's Pool Party - you're invited!

Luc's pool party. It has animation too.
Luc Chamberland is a Montreal-based animator and director who has been working closely for a number of years with the Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival (MSMFF).  Below is his latest film, a short promotion for this year's festival, co-directed with Pierre Trudeau. We asked Luc to tell us about the festival and his work.

FLIP: Tell us about the Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival. 

Luc: The MSMFF is now in its 5th year, and it just keeps getting bigger every year. Last year, for the 4th edition,  I was commissioned to do a trailer by the director Eric Goulet to work with Puppet animator extraordinaire Pierre Trudeau. Together we created this homage to 1950s monster movies - with a nod to King Kong clearly in mind:

FLIP: So the character in the film is the festival trophy, right?

Luc: Exactly. The idea behind it is that the film is based on the trophy that the festival give away every year. It is the most amazing trophy prize in the whole world; it is an actual armature, made out of in stainless steel and mounted on a solid pedestal. The armature is fully functional, so we decided to use the armature as the star of the stop motion festival. I personally think that it is the coolest prize awarded at any festival.
Henri - the MSMFF Prize. He moves!
FLIP: So what happened this year?

Luc: For the 5th edition of the festival we got another commission.  The last theme was a bit on the  cold side, so we went for more of a summer feeling. It's a celebration of stop motion in a pool party - very 1968. We found a location with an actual pool that was built in 1964 so it was all perfectly vintage. All our talented dancing girls are in the ''milieu'' of animation of Montreal. They were also very good at acting with an imaginary armature.

Henri plays it cool

FLIP: Who had to play the imaginary armature?

Luc: In the majority of the scenes I acted as the armature.

FLIP: I bet you needed lots of takes to get it just right?

Luc: Yes, it was exhausting, we had to re-act the scenes as many time as possible so that it became a kind of choreography that could be repeated without me.

A dirty job - but someone had to volunteer
FLIP: So eventually it had to be done without you?

Luc: Yes,  I would give instruction to the dancers off camera, just like the old silent movie techniques. So, on one hot day under the sun - and then with Pierre - we cut it. We prepared a beat track and filmed the armature (his name is Henri) on a green screen.  We had the puppet animators animate the shots, which were then composited together with the live action in Adobe After Effects.

FLIP: Who did the music?

Luc: We had an exceptionally talented composer Jean-Phillipe Marchand who composed this Frenchie Yé Yé song - very 1960's - to put it all together.

FLIP: Where can we see the film?

Luc: Come to the festival! The film will play in front of every screening in the festival on the big screen.

FLIP: Are there more films in the works?

Luc: Yes! We are commissioned to do an encore for the 6th edition. It will be a bit more ambitious and will still be a composite of live action and stop motion.

FLIP: OK, enough talk. You can see Luc's trailer here:

(Editor's Note: You can find more details about the MSMFF here. You can also see more of Luc's independent film-making, including the excellent short Saga City, in our 2012 interview here.)

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