During the last weekend of November the HSLU opened its doors to curious outsiders and potential new students to come and find out all that the school has to offer.
Friday the 24th was the first day where everyone had the opportunity to see the students in action: in their cubicles working on their bachelor movies, were the third years, while the second years focused on their first applied projects with our partner Adult Swim.
Visitors were free to walk around our department, not only to get familiar with the premises, but also to ask questions. I assume it probably wasn’t the students’ most productive day.
Two floors under our animation quarters, in the basement, was one of the first years’ class. As one of the classes learned what CGI has to offer, the latter explored the world of stop-motion in our black boxes.
In these dark rooms, several set were exhibited and in the room next door, you could find students occupied with making puppets and sets for their upcoming movies. A situation that happens every year due to our curriculum having an introductory module focused on every main animation technique, as it’s necessary for our new students to see everything the world of animation has to offer before deciding what pleases them most.
These students had their hands in the dough but most probably their heads in the clouds, as I assume they were also bombarded with questions that they happily answered.
The visitors that didn’t want to disturb the students met on the couches next to our inhouse cinema Rex, where a Q&A took place, while some of our animation bachelor films were shown with video bachelor ones in the movie theater.
Around the small table garnished with sweets and information sheets our staff, assigned to answering everyone’s questions, mainly took naps thanks to the students in the classrooms doing their jobs.
On Saturday the 25th, despite the lack of people in the ateliers the school was even fuller and the actions of the day before were repeated. At 1pm, rendez-vous in the conference room, where Jürgen Haas, the animation department director, presented the animation bachelor’s curriculum to our interested participants and went over the entrance exam, just as he did the day before. Laughs were heard and animation.lucerne’s merch was won.
It was a long and busy weekend: everyone left with their heads full but their minds a bit clearer. Let’s do it again next year.
Out of home animation 2023
Electricity is scarce, you shower with cold fountain water and the stars appear as clear as ever – Out of home animation feels like escaping society for a few days, leaving all your day – to – day stress over 1000m below.
The OOHA experience started with a little hiking adventure. We enjoyed the view and got to meet all the wonderful people who joined the workshop from all over Europe. After three hours of walking uphill, and finally crossing the “DEATH VALLEY” (which is really just a slightly steeper pathway with some rubble), we had finally reached the Fromatthütte!
There, we received a warm welcome by Elena and Felix. They had already prepared food and cold drinks for everyone, which was highly appreciated. After dinner, we all needed some well-deserved rest.
The morning of the second day, Ewald, who grew up in the area, came to visit us. He told us fairytales about an infinite chunk of cheese, showed us where the dwarves have champaign parties and where the military tested grenades in the 80s. On an excursion through the underwood, he taught us a lot of interesting facts about the local fauna and flora.
Filled with inspiration, we then finally started gathering material for our projects. Some built puppets or knitted tiny outfits out of moss and grass, while others tried to lure butterflies with margarine.
We all embraced and collaborated with our surroundings to create films. Throughout the week, there were several inputs and screenings to spark new ideas. During the process I felt low pressure but very high creative energy. It was like a long needed mental reset for filmmaking.
The following days we got to know each other. We cooked and ate, played games, doodled and talked, and made movies together. The People at the Fromatt were very sweet and fun. It felt great spending time with such inspiring fellow artists!
In the middle of our stay, we went on another hike, to the Seebergsee. As it was a rather hot week, we were all happy to go cool down in a mountain lake. We were greeted by some lovely ducks who seemed very happy to see us. However, this took a turn when they started attacking us for food! Their mission succeeded, when they stole Elenas sandwiches (twice!!) After burying the hatchet with the ducks, we went for another swim to the small island in the middle of the lake, before heading back to the Fromatt.
The trip was a well-timed break and gave us just the right amount of distance from our projects. In the evening, we presented what we’d been working on with a fresh perspective.
We had some vague ideas about what people were doing, since we always surrounded each other. But actually seeing everyone’s progress gave us a new boost of excitement for the remaining time.
The last two days were spent mostly on our computers, where we processed the material we had gathered. All 20 people cozied up in one room and worked to the humming sound of the generator. We closed the last evening with a final screening of our progress.
With that, out of home came to an end. We played our last few rounds of Brändi Dog and got ready for bed.
In the morning, after everything was packed and the hut was cleaned, Godi came to pick up our luggage as we began the hike downhill. Shortly before arriving at the train station, some of us took the chance to buy some yummy local cheese. Then it was already time to say goodbye.
Some of the students from abroad stayed in Lucerne for a few more days. We made some fondue for the full Swiss experience, showed them around the city and doodled together for one last time.
Now summer is over. The semester has already started again, and I’m sitting in my atelier writing this text. The screening of the final OOHA films is only a month away and (although my own film still needs some work) I’m very much looking forward to seeing how everyone’s project came out in the edit!
I hope to carry as much of the OOHA spirit as possible into our graduation year. It was such a great experience, and I would 100% go again if I could! Thank you to everyone who participated, but especially Maja, Elena and Felix for making this so special!
(PS: In case you’re reading this before the screening: Be at the Rex the 26th of October at 17.00 to see our films!)
What the participants had to say about OOHA 2023:
«Out of home animation was the best summer experience! I really got the chance to find myself in this beautiful mountain nature and to learn to understand better my emotions and use them in my art. This workshop really helped me in exploring my boundaries in animation and made me become much more confident in experimenting. But the best part was definitely the people I got the chance to meet. They were all really cool and kind and accepting which made me feel like I could really open up to them.» Eliška
«Meine Woche im OOHA in der Berner Bergwelt war das reinste Träumli. Jeden Morgen eine heisse Tasse Kaffee mit der wunderschönsten Aussicht, jeden Tag eine eiskalte Dusche aus dem Brunnen und jederzeit umgeben von ganz tollen und kreativen Menschen. Wie üblich im OOHA haben auch wir Filmprojekte umgesetzt. Dies jedoch ganz ohne Druck und mit sehr vielen Freiheiten. Es hat mir sehr grossen Spass gemacht und ich werde noch lange von dieser Zeit zehren. Vielen Dank!» Laura
«t was one of the most beautiful experiences of the whole year. In the middle of the Swiss mountains, I completely lost track of time and just enjoyed the joy of creating with amazing, smart and funny people. Thank you very much for the opportunity to participate in this workshop!» Klára
«For the project during out of Home I was in a team of two. That was very nice because we were not pressuring ourselves and just had a lot of fun working together, using the phone to make some pixilation of each other with the wide angle lens (I dunno if that’s the actual English word for it?).
Also It was lovely to meet so many new and awesome animation people from other countries. I really enjoyed the time in the mountains with them:)» Luzia
Von kurzsichtigen Krabben zu Ballerinen in Rüstung
Auf einer spärlich bewohnten, idyllischen Insel in der Nähe der norwegischen Kleinstadt Bodø befindet sich eine Gruppe seltsamer hölzerner Kabinen, in denen jeweils eine Künstlerin arbeitet. Gegen Ende des Sommers hatte ich das Glück und die Gelegenheit, zusammen mit zwei weiteren Kolleg*innen aus der Animationsbranche für drei Wochen in eine dieser Kabinen einzuziehen, um an meinem persönlichen Filmprojekt zu arbeiten.
Die Menschen, die ich während meiner Zeit im Arctic Hideaway kennengelernt habe, waren genauso inspirierend wie die einzigartige Umgebung. Da war zum Beispiel Trond, ein norwegischer Künstler, der mir viel über die norwegische Kultur und Geschichte erzählt hat, oder Misha, eine rumänische Metallbildhauerin, deren elegante und tiefgründige Werke mich genauso beeindruckt haben wie ihre Persönlichkeit.
In meiner Arbeit suche ich nach dem Absurden und dem Überschreiten von Grenzen. The Arctic Hideaway bot mir einen abgelegenen und inspirierend schönen Arbeitsplatz, der jedoch nicht an Vielfalt und skurrilen Interaktionen und Situationen mangelte. Es treffen sich verschiedenste Personen an einem von der Welt abgeschiedenen Ort, wo sie sich gemeinsam auf ihre Arbeit und das Zusammenleben konzentrieren.
Das Arctic Hideaway ist eine Residenz, die von der grenzenlosen Leidenschaft der Besitzer und Helfer sowie von uns, den Kunstschaffenden, belebt wird. In Zusammenarbeit mit der HSLU Design und Kunst ermöglichte uns das Arctic Hideaway, unsere Kreativität an diesen Ort zu bringen und in den naturnahen, wilden und dennoch stilvollen und harmonischen Alltag auf der Insel in Fleinvær einzutauchen und uns von ihm inspirieren zu lassen. Jetzt bin ich zurück in der Schweiz und teile meine Eindrücke begeistert mit allen, die zuhören möchten. Ich hoffe, dass ich auch andere ermutigen kann, eine dieser hölzernen Kabinen für eine Weile ihr Zuhause zu nennen.
Another year, another LuMAA!
This time around with air-conditioning. The course and its structure stayed the same, but on hot days, the air-conditioning was a blessing – since PC-stuffed rooms aren’t known for their inherent coolness, temperature-wise. As per usual, we opened the doors of the course to fellow students from partner schools, namely Jirio and Harry from Filmakademie Baden Württemberg, Violette and Robin from MOPA, and Astrid, Sofie, and Liva from TAW. Oh, and us, of course, a rambunctious bunch from HSLU, with first years in the majority.
The location, the PC room of our dear animation department. The students, a wild bunch from all over, eager to learn. The software, Maya, a difficult beast to master. The teachers, a great many with years of experience under their belt, ready to guide us to new heights of animation. So here’s how that went down.
Week 1 – Walk cycles with Yves Ruprecht
Beginnings are difficult. Especially if you have never touched Maya before. Luckily, Yves was there to help us newcomers start off on the right foot, so to speak. He recommended a return to the basics–so we all hopped on a treadmill and shot references of each other. Later, we analyzed our walks as preparation for animating our walk cycles. This task was a familiar one—but this time around, we were able to push them further with Yves’ feedback, be it a vanilla walk or one with more personality.
Yves is not only a kind and motivating person, but also a great informant on everything regarding the animation industry and what to expect as we enter the field. One especially important piece of advice: you need patience to find the right job in this industry. But in the end, that patience pays off.
Week 2 – Lip-sync with Ramon Arango and Noah Demirci
In week two, Ramon and Noah returned to LuMAA–not as students, but as the teachers up front. They told us they were nervous–but seeing how passionately they spoke about the subtleties of facial animation, we would never have known if they hadn’t said so. Two pieces of advice stood out in particular. Firstly, blinks can be wonderfully diverse, and very effective in showing the inner world of a character. Secondly, not every sound has to have its own mouth movement in order to feel believable—a hint is often enough.
“No matter how many years of experience you have in this industry, each new shot is a new challenge … and to realize that was eye-opening. “ – Noah Demirci
Week 3 – Creature Anim: Walk cycles with Lukas Niklaus
Due to a scheduling mistake, Ramon was kind enough to teach for the first two days of the week before Lukas took over. Armed with experience working on creature animation at Weta, the studio behind the VFX of Avatar and LOTR, he was the perfect teacher to help us tackle the quadruped’s walk cycle. Most of us animated a tiger, so he was able to concentrate on teaching us in-depth detail and knowledge about how this marvelous creature moves. Thanks to him, we all managed to incorporate even the smallest details, down to the subtle rotation of the core and the squish of the paws. Alongside teaching, he showed us examples of the impressive professional projects he has taken part in–including work from the studio “floating rocks”, which he is co-leading.
Week 4 – Creature Anim: Body mechanics with Michael Aerni
We all know it to be true–everything in animation is a bouncing ball. Armed with this golden nugget of knowledge and guidance from Michael, we made simple shapes move around. Since Michael animates mainly in a layered fashion, we took it upon ourselves to try it out, with great success. Many liked this layered approach so much, they continued to use it in the following weeks. For the uninitiated, layered animation is a method where you focus first on the movement of the character’s core, and then “layer in” the limbs and other secondary elements. Instead of making one full pose after the other, you slowly build the animation from the core. This has the advantage of making the weight of the character look and feel more believable in less time than a pose-to-pose approach. It is a process that takes a bit to get used to, but is certainly worth learning.
Week 5 – Acting shot with Nicole Ridgewell
The week with Nicole started even before the week began, as we were tasked with finding good dialogue–a quest much more difficult than initially presumed. All recognizable samples (those which are already overused in acting shots) were immediately struck out, and we were sent on a search for our own characters and their stories. That involved daily observational drawing, looking both into ourselves and at the people around us. Adding all of that together, we pitched our shot and got started. Our goal? To reach IP by the end of the week. IP (short for “in progress”) is the stage of production where, although many things are still rough and need to be polished, the central idea of the shot is already clearly communicated and can be built upon with more work. By Friday, we were fully invested in the characters we had built up over the course of the week, and were looking forward to Week 6—when we would finally flesh out the animation in more detail.
Week 6 – Acting shot with Dan Nguyen
Not only did Dan bring his vast understanding of character acting, but also a calmness that perfectly complemented Nicole’s energy from the week before. With his wise words and insightful feedback, we started to polish our acting shot. It takes a lot of time and a good eye to spot which small subtleties require correction, but with Dan’s help, we made great strides in this vital skill. With that we were learning the last lesson of LuMAA, true patience. It takes a lot of time to go from the initial idea to polish. Every curve is cleaned out, all arcs are accounted for, the small deformations of hands are added, cheeks are squished into appealing shapes … all the small details are refined truly bring the performance to life.
“If you don’t have that connection to people who are actually doing the job, it can seem kind of abstract and distant.” – Dan Nguyen
Ping pong and other worthwhile activities
Unbelievably, we did not just animate for six weeks straight, but also lived our lives to the fullest. With such an amazing cast of characters, how could we not have fun? (Besides when we were screaming at our computers.) We cooked together, had weekly barbeque parties, and screened each other’s graduation movies as well as inspiring films and series in the REX (the school’s mini movie theater). Some of us got so good at ping pong that they graduated to playing with dustpans instead of paddles. We learned drinking games and had chocolate and beer tastings.
The weather was wild, from very cold rainy weather, where the aircon was our doom (we could not set the temperature, so it got rather chilly at times), to scorching heat, where the only escape was the river. We went swimming often, floating along with the current, and even enjoying a boat ride.
With all these experiences behind us, Maya almost trauma-bonding us together, and just being around each other for six weeks, it was hard to say goodbye. But time marched onward, and the experience ended. For some, school would commence again soon, while others had to start searching for a job, and yet others were beginning internships. Before we all went our separate ways, we promised we would see each other again soon, be it at festivals, in the industry, or—perhaps—even at next year’s LuMAA.
Thanks to Nicole, Dan, Michael, Lukas, Roman, Noah, and Yves, we now understand that a fulfilling life working in film is not only possible, but likely. Great opportunities await us in the entertainment sector, and we are lucky to be a part of it in these exciting times! One thing all our teachers agreed on: they are happy with their decision to enter the film industry. Even after 20 intense years of working on big movies to independent productions, they couldn’t imagine doing something different. We cannot imagine anything else either.
The AniGrill and an overview over 3 years of studying Animation
Interviews with Isabel Pahud, Caroline Laville and Isabel Clerici It’s after a long year of sitting behind desks working on various projects that the whole animation department here at HSLU, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts comes together to eat amazing grilled veggie-burgers, to discuss the recently premiered bachelor movies and most of all, to enjoy each other‘s company before a long awaited summer break.
On Thursday the 29th of June, three classes of students and staff meet on the school’s terrace to have a last meal together before leaving for the summer or definitively for those finishing their studies. It’s a long held tradition from the animation’s department: a true farewell to our third year bachelor’s and a last chance to get together with all their peers after a very exciting but also busy premiere the day before. It’s under a cloudy sky that it all takes place and even though everyone’s very emotional, we can see the sun shining through the student’s smiles as people laugh together over their shared memories. Watching it all come to surface, I see the perfect opportunity to ask a few of the recent graduates about their time spent here studying animation, who knows when a little secret might be spilled.
Three years have come to an end, this is the last time you’ll be with the whole bachelor together as a student, how do you feel about it?
Isabel Pahud It kinda sucks because the three years were really nice and although we were covid kids, we still managed to build a nice class atmosphere. Now it’s the reality of having to step foot into the big world out there where nothing is sure and nothing is secure. You’re leaving this comfortable bubble, and also being a student where shit is free, I’m not going to have that adobe pack anymore…
I know! Usually if the studio is good they provide you the licenses but yes, it’s exciting and also very depressing at the same time.
Isabel Pahud, director of this year’s bachelor film Forza, Rea!, started her studies here in September 2020 right before new public health measures were imposed due to Covid-19 cases rising in Switzerland. Having to study from home affected the class dynamics but not necessarily in a bad way, as Caroline Laville explains:
Caroline Laville The lockdown started again around November so we had three months to get to know the class. Then we all moved to Discord* until the end of our first year. I think it was hard on some people but it worked out for my side of the class really well. We * instant messaging social platform, usually used for video calls and private chats met everyday, we had such a tight bonding experience through staying up until 2 am chatting or playing games together, that formed a really strong bond between us. It‘s in the AniGrill that the third year class gets to say goodbye to this school. It’s a special event that can get quite emotional as it takes place directly after the bachelor film’s premiere, the day before. For Isabel Clerici, the second Isabel from team Forza, Rea!, this year’s grill is different because it’s her last:
You’ve been to quite a few AniGrills, what makes this event special in your opinion?
Isabel Clerici It’s the feeling of everyone being excited because some really cool movies are done! It‘s also the last time you get to see some people and talk to everybody, not just your class. It’s exciting to have everybody together, it’s hard finding time for everyone to hang out. The AniGrill is like: “we the animation students are having a party”, it’s really cool.
We always have a lot of things organized only for animation students, it’s so great.
It’s just really nice because it’s like a send-off. You get to send somebody off and know that next year it’s your turn, you can prepare yourself for that. As a third year, something ends and it’s sad but in a good way. It’s important, if we all just left and there was nothing it would be hard, this helps. So that’s the main purpose of the AniGrill: not just eating for free but also closing an important chapter in the student’s lives. It’s a time of discussion and reflection, where everyone can go over their evolution during their studies.
With your studies finished, what do you take out of the last three years?
Caroline Laville I started studying here not knowing if I wanted to do 2d or 3d and now at the end, I know very specifically what I will focus on. It formed me by giving me directions. The studies here also gave me realistic expectations for what happens after school. But most of all, we have a community now with this class where we’re proud of each other, everyone is very skilled. I know that a lot of us are gonna be in the industry and it will be amazing seeing people that I studied with work on really cool projects. Maybe in the future we get to work together again, it would be a dream. Caroline Laville worked on her personal portfolio during her last year instead of teaming up to make a movie. However, that did not stop her from stepping into many different projects in different roles like for Summer Rain as Compositor and Oh No as Producer. Connections are one of the most crucial possessions that students take from their bachelor in Lucerne. All the time spent together creating strong bonds contributes to better teamwork and an overall greater time working as a group.
What are the best memories you keep?
Isabel Clerici AH you’re making me choose! I don’t know, maybe lunches in the atelier, just eating together, having a laugh, watching movies in the Rex* or hanging on the terrace, it’s the small things. Obviously seeing my name in a big cinema made me cry, it’s a pretty big moment. Aside from that, I’d say the third year because it’s such a collective work. I don’t think it was a specific moment, it was getting to work on a project and seeing everybody work on their project, updating and helping each other. I don’t think I’ll ever have something like that again. It was pretty incredible.
Such emotional answers! Okay so-
Also pancake day was fun.
Pancake day! Was that a new thing this year?
That was because Bee (Isabel Pahud) is British and it’s a British holiday!
That’s so funny, I saw it on your schedule!
Yes, so carry it forth next year, do pancake day.
Sure, great memories are formed during the studies. And even though the students wouldn’t change a thing about those, there are still specific moments where they feel like they could have done things otherwise, especially with the knowledge they have now.
What would you have done differently?
Isabel Pahud Now with a whole year behind me of being director, I know what I can do differently in that role. I have a clear idea of what is expected of me and what I should bring to the table. When I pitched my story, I didn’t realize exactly how much I should have done beforehand, style-wise and story-wise. It’s good to have a clear idea of what you want instead of just a concept. Concepts are great but if you don’t flesh them out, you won’t find anything tangible. Also, If you have a concept, make sure that you have people that are very eager to bring ideas to the table! Around the tables outside, between the alumni, staff and current students, a few new faces can be seen. The next first years have already been accepted, some are here tonight. There’s no better time to drop a piece of advice, I’m sure they’d be as eager to hear it as me. * Hslu’s own movie theater just next to the cafeteria
What piece of advice would you give to the newcomers?
Caroline Laville I remember my first kükenfest* I was sweating because my new classmates were so much better than me. I got in from the waitlist so I wasn’t sure I deserved my place here. I talked with a third year back then at the grill, their piece of advice stuck with me: even though you compare yourself in the first year, as soon as you start working in a team, you stop the comparisons because everybody is equal. The better your teammate is, the better it is for you!
Isabel Pahud Don’t be too hard on yourself. Take these three years as practice, don’t expect to have portfolio worthy work walking out of it. Always move on to the next project instead of sticking to one trying to make it better. Sometimes starting from scratch or doing something different is way more helpful to advance in your skill. Also, make good friendships and have a good time, don’t take the teachers too seriously! Grades don’t matter, you just need to pass. It’s all about your skill, not grades.
Isabel Clerici Follow your gut and do what you like. If doing what you like means not doing an all-nighter but instead hanging out with your friends, then do that. It’s probably the only time in your life where you’re gonna get to do that. If it means that you really want to finish this specific thing then do it! As long as you follow your gut, you’re going in the right direction.
Thank you Isabel 1, Isabel 2 and Caroline, we’ll be sure to put all of that into action.
So there it is folks: as the night ends, the beloved third years pass not only the salad, but also the torch to the next batch of students. And as we all eat and drink together, this evening serves less as a goodbye but more as a welcoming party to all the amazing projects to come by our new graduates.
photos by Jessica Meier
*grill organized in the first week of school to introduce the new animation students to the Bachelor
The Animation Premiere
Meeting the students behind the stories Interviews with team Crevette, team Summer Rain, Kirill Gromadko and Justine Klaiber
I’m sitting among hundreds of people, the room is overflowing with excitement. Today is the HSLU’s Animation premiere, where films made by the students both in Bachelor and Master Animation during this last year will be screened.
It’s all taking place in the Blue Cinema here in Emmenbrücke. As I walk in, maybe fifteen minutes early, I can already see multiple small clumps of people talking. There’s the graduates’ families and friends, alumni, students, school’s staff and many Swiss professionals. I now understand why it couldn’t take place in our own cinema room in school, the Rex. I mingle a bit before going to the ticket stand where I receive a bracelet for my reservation and I walk into the screening room.
The room is enormous but I still struggle to find a sitting place in the middle, who even wantsto sit on the sides? The space gets filled pretty quickly. In the crowd, the people graduating this year stand out: dresses to suits, professionalism seems to be the theme, bulls-eye, every single one of them looks amazing! After all the greetings, they also take place and when every single person is finally sat, the atmosphere changes. Jürgen Haas, Hslu’s Bachelor animation’s director, walks on stage accompanied by Tina Ohnmacht, Master animation’s coordinator. A not so little speech is made, which I unfortunately can’t forward to you as it was held in german, but I assume it’s about the year of work behind and the pride felt for the students. That’s what I would have written. Then, it’s the students turn to speak, Sven Bachmann from team Crevette talks for the whole bachelor: he thanks every person involved in the films and gives away bags prepared for the school’s staff. Pretty similar words are said by Pedro Nel Cabrera Vanegas, on behalf of the master students. When all the important thanks are finally in the air, the lights dim and the true event starts.
Movies for all tastes are shown. DIfferent techniques, from stop-motion to hand-drawn animation to 3D are used and various stories, from the fear of pregnancy to a lemon thief, are told. People laugh during the funny moments and are quiet during the sad ones. What I’m sure of is that no one slept.
Soon enough, it all comes to an end. Jürgen Haas speaks a few more words about the amazing movies just presented: Henry’s hand, Oh no!, Forza, Rea!, Summer Rain, Crevette, Fork, Kill Your Darlings, NonSense, Searching for the Fifth Direction, Sonnenhuegel, Tapir Memories and Catch The Mouse!. And finally, the students graduating are welcomed on the stage for a strongly deserved round of applause.
The official screening is over and everyone starts getting ready for an apéro before calling it a night. However, all I can think about is finding a few of the graduates to ask them somquestions. The teams behind Crevette and Summer Rain, Kirill Gromadko from Catch the Mouse! and Justine Klaiber from the master’s, all agree to take a little interview.
What does it feel like finally seeing on the big screen the movie you’ve been working on for the last year?
Elina Huber We’ve seen it before in the Rex but the animation moves differently in this even bigger screen. It doesn’t look worse, I just notice other details. It’s really cool because it gives me a fresh perspective on the film.
Sven Bachmann It was interesting to hear and feel the audience. Before, we had only shown it to people who already knew the film and the story. I liked seeing the reactions of the ones that had never seen it before.
Elina and Sven worked on Crevette with Jill Vágner and Noémi Knobil. Even if seeing their project in a movie theater was a big step from working on small screens or watching it projected on school grounds, what mostly stuck with them was finally seeing the audience react genuinely. Which also seemed to be the case for the Summer Rain crew:
Marlene Low It’s crazy to be in such a huge cinema but also, I’ve seen the movie so many times that I’m a bit numb to it. However, at such a big event like the premiere, you can hear so many new reactions which is really nice.
Johanna Kern Or not hear reactions, a lot of people were very quiet.
Marlene Low But that’s also a reaction! Summer Rain, telling a story about grief through a child‘s point of view, was met with a strong silence when the credits rolled. The film, created by Marlene Low, Johanna Kern and Julia Krummenacher, touched the audience so profoundly that everyone hesitated to applaud. Fortunately, after one first clap the whole room joined as the team surely deserved.
Tell us a bit more about your teamwork, what would you have done differently?
Jill We had a super dynamic team, we all worked on everything. We had a very democratic way of deciding what we wanted to continue with. It had its benefits and its downsides, it takes a lot longer to work that way. Noémi and Elina started with the story but we could all bring our things into it. We had to have a lot of discussions and meetings, it took way more time. It’s not very industry standard.
Elina I’m not sure what I would change, I have more things that I definitely will keep on doing: like setting clear deadlines. Certain development stuff you can continue forever and keep finding more details, it’s dangerous. While for some, teamwork relied a lot on trust and friendships, for others this wasn’t the case.
Kirill Gromadko worked alone on Catch The Mouse! so he had to approach his project differently:
Kirill Working alone allowed me to go at my own pace, I put more hours on it then I would’ve if I were in a team. It’s a movie that I’ve been wanting to do for four years so I was also kinda addicted. If I were to do it again, I would’ve had less characters. Right now, the movie has five and they’re all four-legged creatures, which I had never animated before. Working alone has its own perks such as independence and complete choice. But in a group setting, a story can change drastically, especially when you constantly get input from your teammates.
How did the movie evolve from your original view?
Marlene When I pitched the story I had a few images in my head. Looking back, if it were a solo project, it would’ve turned out so different. It doesn’t mean it would’ve been better. I had a few visuals that I think would’ve been heavier story-wise and mood-wise, being in a team really helped me find that bittersweetness that we were going for. I wouldn’t change anything about the story that we have now, it’s perfect in my eyes.
Every graduate is very proud of their movie and they’ll carry on that feeling towards the new projects they’ll contribute to. While some are continuing their studies here at Hslu or elsewhere, others are stepping directly into the industry either through an internship or a full-time job. Justine Klaiber, master graduate, will be looking for funding for her story, as she entered her master degree in the concept track and spent her studies preparing the pre-production for a short-film.
What is the movie about?
Justine It’s the story of Amelia who is stranded in space on a space-ship. She’s completely alone and struggling with the isolation and grief of losing a colleague partner. It’s about human and physical connection, being able to touch and feel another person. We as humans need that physical connection with people that are important to us, even if it’s not a love-relationship or a sexual-relationship. That’s why I tried to keep it ambiguous.
If everything goes according to plan, we should expect Lost Touch to premiere in festivals towards the end of 2024.
Another year goes by and we can once more be satisfied and fulfilled with the amazing work done by the animation students here in HSLU – Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. The premiere is a success, it’s fair to expect more reservations for the next one, especially if they keep up the apéro treatment. It’s great seeing so many animation-passionate people connecting and having fun in the same place.
Looking at all the filmmakers being created here in Lucerne, we can’t help but to look forward to the numerous original stories to come from the Swiss Animation industry.
Blogpost by Daniel Neto Dias photos: HSLU Premiere Animationsfilme Emmenbrücke, den 28.06.2023 Copyright: HSLU/Priska Ketterer