“Eli,” Claymation, 2nd Place Winner of the Vintage Filmmakers’ Challenge!

We held a challenge for last month’s Short Film Fest at the Vintage: Two lines of dialogue, choice of three genres, one prop, a character name; two weeks to make a five-minute short film.

Chosen by audience vote, the second place winner was “Eli,” a charming claymation by soon-to-be film student, challenge seeker, and self-taught animator Ben Doran.  Ben has been interested in film and animation since he was 9 and uses contests and challenges to build his skills.  He mostly works with claymation and stop motion, but also dabbles in Flash and Cel animation.  He will enter the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Film and Animation program in the fall.

His challenge assignment was:
Experimental / Yo-Yo / The Big Guy / “Who Broke My Robot?”

Ben created his characters by hand-sewing cloth over wire armatures, then clay modelling the heads and hands.  This allowed more flexibility with less chance of the models falling apart.  Ben was asked several times how he made the Yo-Yo throws at the festival.  “To be honest they are all kind of over thinking it. I had 6 different lengths of rigid wire, and replaced them to get progressively longer.  The wire looked like string in miniature and kept the yo-yo out straight.”

Check out ‘Claydogh’ on Vimeo for more from Ben Doran.

Second Place won a $50 gift certificate to Voyager Video and a pair of tickets to Invasion of the Body Snatchers screening at the FM Kirby Center.

REELS Recommends “BREAKFAST” by Jan Svankmajer

… Kevin says: I see a lot more in this now. Fast, cut on sounds, chock full of dark humor, body use and body humor-horror, I see dada & Magriette, mechanical process, I see Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’ derived from this, and Darren Aronofsky’s “Pi” using the precise cut-on-sounds. Very quick for stop motion. Classic animated short.

…Kyle sees: Humans as machines, going through the motions trading off sustenance with little enjoyment or thought. The delivered chest sausages might be phallic symbols. Maybe. The sound effects exaggerate the action, furthering the dreaminess and cartoon portrayal. I find the human stop motion nightmarish and highly unnerving. I find Svankmajer’s sculpture-mations effective and more disturbing than modern realistic 3D animation.