We seem to spend most of our spare time and holidays travelling around the world to various animation festivals and events, so it’s awfully considerate when people decide to organise things right on our doorstep for a change!
Mark Collington, course leader at the University of Bedford, organises the annual M1 animation event as a fantastic opportunity for his students to meet the industry and for the industry to meet the next generation of talent, all over a nice glass of wine, some nibbles and a range of fantastic speakers, exhibitions and workshops.
This year, the guest speaker was Louis Clichy, Pixar Animator & Co-Director of upcoming Asterix film, talking on the subject of pre-production and narrative.
Louis was a very inspiring speaker (doubly impressive as English is the Frenchman’s second language) and a filmmaker of undeniable skill and vision. After showing an unbelievable film he created in a mere 2 weeks at Gobelins animation school (and completely terrifying the poor students with his work rate in the process), he showed this music video to Edith Piaff’s “A Quoi Ça Sert L’amour?”
Now I barely even speak schoolgirl French, but what I think is so wonderful about this film is that it explains exactly what the lyrics mean without ever actually resorting to representing what they are saying. Which, to my mind, is exactly what a music video should do.
He then moved on to talking about his time at Pixar, where he worked on Wall-E and Up. He spoke in depth about the differences between working as a director on short films and working as a cog in a well oiled machine like Pixar, and also about how he found the translation to CGI from his favoured pencil style.
With Pixar being so revered around the world, and especially within the animation industry itself, it was refreshing to hear someone as talented as Louis speak of it as a good experience but one that he was fairly glad to have left behind him. You could almost hear the intake of shocked breath as he mentioned that he had actually voluntarily left Pixar!
But, as a big Asterix fan, it was the next part of his talk that most interested me, because Louis’ new project is developing and co-directing a new CGI adaptation of Asterix and the City of the Gods.
There have been many attempts to bring Goscinny and Uderzo’s characters to the screen; some highly successful (the 12 tasks of Asterix) and some less so (Asterix and Obelix meet Cleopatra). But with the tests and art that Louis showed, plus my faith in him as a director, I have no doubt in my mind that this will be amongst the very best.