The Moment, student short film from Filmakademie

The Moment

The Moment is a charming animated film for the International Festival of Animated Film from Filmakademie students Csaba Letay and Verena Fels. I’ve been aware of the short for a long while now, but it has only just gone up online (in 720p no less!) after doing an extensive tour of festivals world-wide including SIGGRAPH08, Anima Mundi ’08 and SICAF 08.

Its a good example of a student short done well: ambitious – but not overly so – well researched, designed, produced and the students have gone the extra mile to make sure it is seen by a huge audience by pushing it in festivals.

I took a moment to ask Csaba and Verena few quick questions about the short:

So, who are you guys? How many of you worked on the project, and in what capacity?

Hi, we are Verena and Csaba, two ambitious animation students at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg who collaborate on animation shorts, digital crafts and general small-town-survival in Ludwigsburg. The leading core team was the two of us, but we had assistance from a couple other students on special tasks, like particles or fluid simulations. You’ll find the complete team credits on the website.

What was your process for this project?

After having the task assigned to produce a trailer for the International Festival of Animated Film in Stuttgart, we came up with a little conceptual idea for this movie. It’s about the moment of awarness and in which ways it could come to you. So we were pretty much keeping our eyes and minds open for different ways this could happen. We thought a car accident definetly can open one’s eye. For awarness. For crazy multicolored horses. There were several other ideas, too, how this could happen, and intitially we wanted to  make a mini-series out of it, but working on this one took up all the time.

Its an interesting trend that a lot of European schools give their students at least one long form project like this – how did you approach it?

Yes, it is a blessing, that at Filmakadamie we get the opportunity to do our own projects, not only one, but during our studies at least two or three. The production process is according to highly professional industry standards. So, every film here runs through each phase of preproduciton like concept, design, previz, production and post-prodcution. The strong emphasis on team work at our school is really helpful realizing

a short film, and of course,it is for the benefit of all team members building a portfolio. With a training like that, the jump into real life production conditions is easy as pie.

How did the story come about?

In this case the plot is a very minimalist one with a little surprise at the end. I think it is as much story as we could tell in a trailer with the length of 50 seconds and as much as it needs. In our graduation movies we get the chance to tell more elaborated storylines, that’s why we also take script writing classes during our studies.

How was your experience, and that of the people who have seen it,  while touring the film around a lot of major festivals?

It was a great experience for us seeing the reactions of a broad international audience to our little animation piece, which were always very positive and you could tell people got a little bit of a motivating energy out of it. The film seemed to induce emotions in the audience, viewers were cheerfully stimulated after watching it. This, besides creating a visual experience, was one of our major goals.

Finally, what has the team gone on to since you finished the project?

Right now we are working on a new 4 minute short film, which is Verenas graduation project at Filmakademie. It will be a colorful and brightening piece of animation. By for now, back to work.

Best of luck! Thanks, Csaba and Verena.

See the site for development work and credits

Watch the film in glorious 720p