Director and line producer Denis Walgenwitz gave an essential masterclass on the intricacies of animation production during the 2020 ITFS Festival.
Denis Walgenwitz has a long track record of working within the films, from both the inside and the showy, directorial fashion. He started as first assistant director of Persepolis, he worked as assistant director in MIchael Dudok de Wit' The Red Turtle
He is also co-founder of CICLIC Animation residency programme , ecturer with Animation Sans Frontières (the European training programme for young animation professionals), has worked on both films.worked as line producer in Ari Folman's The Congress, and he co-directed (along with Vincent Parronnaud) the short animation film, The Death, Father & Son (Jury Prize, Annecy 2018). He's currently employed as a line producer in Ari Folman's Where's Anne Frank?
In his ITFS 2020 Masterclass, Walgenwitz chose to talk on two very different but still connected films: The Red Turtle and The Congress.
Digging through Google Spreadsheets for the film (for which he worked during the development), Walgenwitz gives a breakdown shot list, and reveals how when everything is precisely measured, new issues appear -which would have appeared at a later stage. In The Red Turtle, he tells how the calculation of visual effects in animation led to a separate allocation of resources to match that need -which was not visible at the first place.
The animatic itself for The Red Turtle was used as a creative tool to calculate needs and measure the amount of work needed: would the additional painting work be handled by another studio or even outsourced to a different country? Creative work which can be promptly communicated is a source of many production solutions.
In Ari Folman's The Congress, Walgenwtiz reveals the complex artistic styles (semi-realistic for actor figures, surrealistic for all others), but also the co-operation pipelines in animation production that can get stuck -and need to get fixed. In all cases, collaboration in animation production is easier when it comes down to numbers: they are easy to share, they ease tension, and move the animation production forward.
The full lecture on Vimeo:
The event was organised by the Creative Europe Desks Munich and Strasbourg.