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The third year Animation and Interactive Media students of Animationsinstitut (Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg) has produced short films and game experiences in cooperation with Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart (HdM). These four short films are presented as trailers for FMX, and you can see the four trailers for FMX 2019 on the official YouTube page of the conference (We put the links in this article).

Each short film represents the main categories in FMX: Animation, Effects, Games and Immersive Media. They are all unique in their technique, style and story, produced within four months. Wonderful World is standing for Effects, CatPlanets is representing Animation, Kinky Kitchen is the trailer for Games, and Tiefenrausch is the trailer representing Immersive Media.

We had interviews with the team of each project to give you a behind-the-scenes look of the four official trailers for FMX 2019.


Interview on “Wonderful World”

The full CG film blurs the lines between dystopia and idyll, reality and the virtual.

Director: Arne Hain
Producer: Josephine Ross
Technical Director: Denise Hoffmann
Concept/Design: Sandra Süsser
Visual Artist: Maximilian Auer
Visual Effects: Lucas Bruchhage
Modeling: Elias Kremer
Film Music: Dominik Matzka
Sound design: Marco Schnebel

Animationweek: Where did the initial idea of the film come from?

The project team: The 5th semester of the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg includes a stay at a hut in the Black Forest. There, the ideas are developed and the teams are formed. The production students are then allowed to choose an idea and that’s how the teams are formed.

Our idea has changed during the creative process. The basic idea was a zoom ride from the small to the big. First you see circuit boards and circuits, which then becomem a forest until it turns out that this is all a hologram on a table in a museum.

But the basic idea lacked the dramaturgy and a character with which one can emotionally go along. So, we developed together and found our bear.To let the spot run backwards also came late in the process and it was the clever idea of the co-director Maximilian Auer. By inverting the whole thing and traveling from the broken city to the beautiful hologram world, we have a seemingly happy ending. We think this increases the irony and fits perfectly in our spot.

Animationweek: What was the most difficult or challenging part of the project?

The project team: With the semester of the trailer, we came together for the first time in such a big team. Even though many had known each other for some time, we quickly realized that teamwork was also a compromise. In addition, with Denise Hoffmann as a `Quereinsteiger`, Sandra Süsser as an exchange student and Josephine Ross as a live action production student, team members from outside Animationsinstitut joined the team, who had to settle in first.

In addition to the purely professional challenges of meeting deadlines and above all doing justice to the topic with our work, it was also the interpersonal interaction that we never wanted to forget. There are eight students sitting in a room every day working on a project that is close to everyone’s heart. The pressure of time is growing, as are the expectations of our project. It was always very important to us that the atmosphere in the team was right and that we were always open with everyone.

On the other hand, it was the technical challenges that this project brought with it. At the beginning, we decided to work mainly with Maya and Houdini, as these programs best met our design requirements. The creative decision to play backwards was as demanding on our animation as the decision to give our protagonist an almost realistic fur. This meant that we had to experiment on several points in a very short time and find our way.

Animationweek: What did you want the audience to think or experience through the film?

The project team: In the team it was always important to us that we do justice to the topic. To make people aware of the issue and, in the best case, to encourage them to think about it. The environment is about to die out and hardly anyone seems to be interested. So, our approach was to show what the world would look like if we didn’t act now. What world do we live in if we continue to abuse the earth as we have done so far? We want the Audience at best to look at our trailer not only for the beautiful pictures, but also because they see what we want to show: That we are simply robbing ourselves of the only livelihood we have: Nature.

Interview on “Kinky Kitchen”

Have you ever wondered what your kitchen utensils get up to when you are not at home? The short clip trilogy Kinky Kitchen will reveal the juicy truth.

Animation Director, Character Design: Bea Höller
Technical Directing, Compositing, Lighting/Shading, Game Director: Daniel Schmucker
Animation-/VFX-Producing: Laura Messner
Concept/Design: Tao Zhang
Assistant Director, Modeling: Steffen Oberle
Rigging: Mariia Prokopenko
Sound Design: Marco Dahl

Animationweek: Where did the initial idea of the film come from?

The project team: The initial idea was born by brainstorming as a team. Everyone came up with ideas and the combination formed the basis of the current trailers. The final push in the right direction was initiated by Bea (director) and Steffen (Co-Director) collecting everything and bringing it into one sustained format.

Animationweek: What was the most difficult or challenging part of the project?

The project team: Working under enormous time pressure in a completely new team constellation and keeping the wishes of the whole team satisfied over an intensive production period. Finding a balance between life and work and making time for brief but pleasing moments as a balance to small crises. It was an intense but very fun time!

Animationweek: What did you want the audience to think or experience through the film?

The project team: Oh, that’s easy: We want the audience to become hungry for more – in every conceivable way.

Interview on “Tiefenrausch”

A diver dares to swim deep down to the bottom of the ocean. At the ground the world around her suddently changes dramatically. What happened?

Animation Director: Marvin Sprengel
Cinematography: Jan Fabi
Concept/Design: Monja Dietrich
Technical Directing: Enzio Probst
Animation: Lukas Von Berg
Animation/VFX Producing: Vincent Waltan
Art Director: Johannes Kammerer
Film Music: Andreas Pfeiffer
Sound design: Nicolas Kaiser, Paul Powaljaew
Actor/ Protagonist: Lea Kirn

Animationweek: Where did the initial idea of the film come from?

The project team: The team started with a common fascination for underwater mystery. We gathered around this setting first and developed our character and the emotional journey afterwards. Researching oceanic creatures was a lot of fun and our excitement for the ambivalence of danger and beauty under water had a big impact on the trailer. The setting not only made for an interesting atmosphere and tonality, it also gave us a lot of freedom in the execution.

Animationweek: What was the most difficult or challenging part of the project?

The project team: We struggled with synchronizing our visual ideas in regards to the bioluminescent finale and the final shot in particular. We tested different approaches on how to effectively reveal the colorful new world to the protagonist as well as the viewer. With time we realized that showing merely the reaction of our protagonist creates a stronger finish than explicitly showing what awes her.

Animationweek: What did you want the audience to think or experience through the film?

The project team: We want to transport the viewer into a world that is equally exciting and terrifying. The deep dark waters are a great playground for exploring this dynamic. An estimated 95 percent of the world’s oceans are unexplored territory filled with otherworldly wonders and life-threatening horror. We are looking to spark curiosity and provide our viewers with a variety of discoveries and the resulting consequences beyond our control.

Interview on “CatPlanets”

Animationweek: Where did the initial idea of the film come from?

The project team: Our director Yi Luo spent a couple of tumultuos days babysitting her friend’s cats for their vacation. She was struck with how powerful and dangerous a tiny cat can feel when it decided to turn against her & scratched her. We tried to capture the overwhelming feeling of powerlessness and the attempt to recreate balance in the relationship to the cat.

Animationweek: What was the most difficult or challenging part of the project?

The project team: Finding balance with a cat is one thing, but finding it within a team of six students, who are thrown into a stressful schedule, is another. The human aspect of making a film was very much the focus in this semester. How do you distribute responsibilities, how do you give feedback and how much workload can you expect your teammates to take over? These are just a tiny part of a catalogue of questions that we learned to deal with.

Animationweek: What did you want the audience to think or experience through the film?

The project team: As explained before, we tried to throw our audience into a chaotic cat universe and then guide them through our protagonist “Ida” to a satisfying moment of balance.