The Acorn Elves are magical oak creatures living in the forest – in an oak tree. They take care of their surroundings conscientiously, although sometimes they do not feel like they want to. Responsibility is a demanding area, but if it is approached creatively, anything in the world can be a fun game! And the Acorn Elves are playful, non-violent and creative. They do not talk, and yet they understand each other. There is a human family living near the forest. The viewers never get to know the family very well, only occasionally they look at it through the “the eyes of the Acorn Elves”. The Acorn Elves are very inquisitive and the human world offers a lot of fascinating moments.
Director: Pavel Jindra
Scriptwriter: Klára Smolíková and Jakub Klír
Author: Marcel Legindi (Adaptation from Acorn Elves by Petr Václavek)
Producer: Radovan Surý (BareBear production, Czech Republic)
Format: 26 x 7’
Target audience: Pre-school 4-5
Technique: 3D Computer / Painting / Live action
Acorn Elves is a 3D animation series project for a pre-school audience, which will tell stories of cute characters that are made from acorns set in a beautiful natural environment.
The characters are from “Dubánci” (English: “Acorn Elves”), a Czech project created by Petr Václavek. The Czech Facebook page has more than 47K followers.
We interviewed Radovan Surý, the producer, and Jakub Klír, the second main scriptwriter, on the story behind the project.
Interview with Radovan Surý and Jakub Klír
Hideki Nagaishi (HN): Could you please let us know what part of this animation project you think will be the most appealing or attractive to the prospective audience?
Radovan Surý and Jakub Klír: Well, all of them. An animated series is a set of skills: Story, visuals, music, and animation. The stories will be poetic and comprehensible. Today, it is very unconventional to work with natural materials for visuals. The animation must be theatrical to be able to tell everything. Moreover, good music fine-tunes it all.
Personally, I think the most attractive moment will be all the little accessories that the Acorn Elves will create. It is going to captivate every creative soul, every overgrown boy and girl. The Acorn Elves riding a motorcycle, boating, or being in their own tent camp are simply magical.
HN: Could you please tell us what part of “Acorn Elves” was based on in Petr Václavek’s story? And could you please briefly tell us about the theme or motifs of the series and also an outline of the plot?
Radovan Surý and Jakub Klír: Petr is not exactly a writer or a screenwriter. Peter is a creator. He is the author of the characters he popularized with his perseverance. It was created as a labor of love, and it grew into books, postcards, calendars, as well as the series that he is preparing with us.
The series is about oak creatures who live in the forest near their native oak and are in charge of running the forest. Sometimes it is enough to sweep around the house, but sometime it is necessary, for example, to carry acorns into a monocultural forest due to the bark beetle’s presence. When they cannot handle something, they look for inspiration from a human family that lives in sight of their oak. Yet above all, they are still children in their souls, so they look for a way to spice up each task with a game. After all, even sweeping can be fun.
The series poetically captures the daily life of one year in the woods. It is attractive by its weather changes and therefore the associated tasks. Even though they are fascinated by people, sometime it is necessary to hide a few mushrooms under the leaves so that there is something left for the animals, too.
HN: If you have a message or experience that you wish to convey to the audience through the story, what will it be?
Radovan Surý and Jakub Klír: In our series, we focus on a few things: On nature and its natural charm, on the ecology that goes hand in hand with the beautiful nature, and last but not least, on humans.
Although our main characters are oak characters, they mainly help us in the poetic renaissance of humanity. We do not want to show people in the series as perpetrators or villains, but as a source of inspiration. The Acorn Elves do for us what we forget about ourselves – they watch in fascination of what we can do. Furthermore, above all, how we can play. After all, the game is the basis of every well-managed project. The Acorn Elves have a lot of tasks that must be completed. Such is their daily routine.
We also wish to show the kids that it can be fun. To prove that work does not have to be work, but it can be entertaining. To demonstrate that every task can be thought as something to look forward to. Every day can be beautiful. As a bonus, we show that playing outside in nature is just great.
HN: What do you put emphasis on most when creating the story of the series?
Radovan Surý and Jakub Klír: The most important thing for us is clarity, playfulness and poetics. The Acorn Elves is a silent series, so the script has to take that into account. We cannot go around “babbling” about a message, the characters have to play it. Hence, it is necessary to think also about storytelling with animation.
The stories are cute and give the impression that they map to the daily routine of the forest characters. We try to avoid violence not only physically, but above all mentally. The magic of the series is in simplicity and naturalness. Nature always writes half the story. It is sufficient to say that “It’s snowing!”, and we are already thinking about how to stuff in everything associated with it.
It is such a creative return to childhood, from when we remember how we played as children, some even in the woods, and we try to imprint it on the Acorn Elves.
HN: What is the most important feature of the visual design of the characters and the universe for the story, and why?
Radovan Surý and Jakub Klír: Acorn, oak and especially the forest. Everything is created in 3D but according to a living model. The biggest fans of the Acorn Elves are the parents, because for most of them, the simple, cute character is as nostalgic as it is for us. An important visual feature is the forest. As we play with the change of seasons, with the luminosity and the atmosphere, the forest is a perfect environment that always looks visually attractive.
HN: What can you tell us about the music for the animated series at the moment?
Radovan Surý and Jakub Klír: We are currently rehearsing with several musicians to find the music that will fit the series best.