André Bergs

André Bergs is a Dutch ani­ma­tor cre­ator of the popular-gone-viral short ani­ma­tion Pivot, designed and ani­mated by Kevin Megens, Floris Vos, Arno de Grijs and Andre Bergs, it was nom­i­nated for best short film at the Dutch Film Fes­ti­val, won the “Best Local” award at the Play­grounds Fes­ti­val and was screened at the Anima ani­ma­tion film fes­ti­val in Brus­sels. André trained at the Hogeschool voor de Kun­sten Utrecht, he coaches a Maya work­shop on a vari­ety of sub­jects and runs his own ani­ma­tion Com­pany called Plas­tiek.

How did you and your team come up the con­cept and the unique style?

In 2008 I was asked to make a short ani­ma­tion on a Dutch poem. The pro­duc­ers at ilLus­ter gave me com­plete free­dom to exper­i­ment, and what fol­lowed was a gritty short where I exper­i­mented with a low-poly style and ani­mat­ing on dou­bles. (you can view that short here).

It was a very rough exper­i­ment, but it did show that a 3D low poly style can actu­aly have a more ‘real’ feel­ing than some more real­is­tic 3D ani­ma­tions. When ilLus­ter sent me the sce­nario of Pivot, we imme­di­ately agreed that this kind of story could work realy well with the low-poly style. I then asked Arno de Grijs, Floris Vos and Kevin Megens if they’d like to work on it with me, and take the con­cept and style to a higher level.

Where do you get your inspi­ra­tion from when work­ing on a film like this?

We had a cou­ple of evenings where we would all bring in visual inspi­ra­tion from illus­tra­tions, photo’s, ani­ma­tion and films. This was really help­full to think and talk about the direc­tion where we were going with the film.

Big inspi­ra­tions were old films, like ‘M’, the ‘third man’, and ‘das cab­i­net des Dr. Cali­gari’. Graph­i­cally the work of Saul Bass, Oskar Fischinger and the Hell­boy comics were a big inspi­ra­tion. All in all we col­lected around a thou­sand images and movieclips for inspi­ra­tion, so the pool of inspi­ra­tion was very deep.

How big was the team?

The core of the team con­sisted of four peo­ple. Arno de Grijs, Floris Vos, Kevin Megens and myself. We share a stu­dio in Utrecht and man­aged the project as a team. The music and sound­de­sign was made by Alex Debicki. Fur­ther­more we had tech­ni­cal assis­tance from our intern Bram Vleugel. And when time was get­ting tight, Patrick Chin helped us out with some char­ac­ter ani­ma­tion. So all in all seven peo­ple put their backs into it.

How long was it in pro­duc­tion for?

Half a year from start to end. We had a strict dead­line, since it was planned to be pre­miered at the Dutch Film­fes­ti­val. And of course we didn’t want to miss our own premiere.

How did you end up as the direc­tor of Pivot?

We had a big bat­tle royale where the last man stand­ing would be boss over the rest. And I was the one who faught the dirtiest.

No, really we picked up the project very much as a team. I was respon­s­able for the film as a whole, but vir­tu­ally all the choices made, were made by the team. And all the con­flicts of ideas and dis­cus­sions we had really brought out the best in the film.

What tools did you and your team use when mak­ing Pivot?

The sets and char­ac­ters were made in 3D stu­dio Max and Cin­ema 4D. We then imported them in Maya, where we did all the rig­ging, ani­ma­tion, effects ‚light­ing and cam­eras. The final com­posit was done in After effects, and the edit in Premiere.

Do you have any sug­ges­tions for other aspir­ing ani­ma­tion film­mak­ers on how to pro­duce a high qual­ity film like this?

We spent a lot of time on the mood­board, sto­ry­board design and R&D phase. Allthough it made the actual pro­duc­tion time a bit tight. It really did pay off in the end. We had a very clear image of where we were going with the film, didn’t have to make big adjust­ments on the shots from the sto­ry­board and knew which effects would work, and which would not. So we had a very clear path to fol­low, this way every­body was on the same page and we could really pick up the pace in the production.

As a film maker myself I know that it’s tempt­ing to start mak­ing the film as soon as pos­si­ble. But the time you spend in the begin­ning will defen­itly pay itself back later on. So take your time at the start, and know where you’re going before you actu­ally go.

I under­stand the film has been get­ting some pos­i­tive feed­back around the world at var­i­ous ani­ma­tion fes­ti­vals. Where can peo­ple look out for it?

We’ve had some great feed­back on the film from a lot of peo­ple and fes­ti­vals. On Vimeo the views even passed the 160.000, wich is pretty awe­some, and it’s really nice to see all the extra effort we’ve put into it being picked up and appre­ci­ated so much. For now I know for sure that the film will be played at:

    Vladi­vo­s­tock, New Wave Cin­ema, Rus­sia — 27th March
    Rome, Roma Inter­na­tional Inde­pen­dent Film Fes­ti­val, Italy — 8—16th April
    Novosi­birisk, Cin­ema Pobeda, Rus­sia — 17th April
    Ams­ter­dam, Imag­ine 26th Ams­ter­dam Fan­ta­sic Film Fes­ti­val, NL — 14—24th April (nom­i­nated for a Sil­ver Méliès)
    Stuttgart Inter­na­tional Ani­ma­tion Trick Film Fes­ti­val, Ger­many — 4—9th May
    Barcelona, FICOMIC, Spain — 4-9th May
    Treplice, Ani­fest 2010, Czech Repub­lic — 18-23th May
    Eind­hoven, TAC, The Nether­lands — 28th May
    Eind­hoven, Plaza Futura, The Nether­lands — 10th June
    Hel­mond, Filmhuis Hel­mond, The Nether­lands — 10th June
    Eind­hoven, Broeinest, The Nether­lands — 11th June
    Breda, Chassé Cin­ema, The Nether­lands — 17th June
    Tilburg, Film­foyer, The Nether­lands — 17th June
    Oss, Filmthe­ater De Groene Engel, The Nether­lands — 20th June
    Den Bosch, Verkade Fab­riek,The Nether­lands — 26th June

  1. Pivot Offi­cial website.
  2. Plas­tiek André’s Company.
  3. Soul­base Floris Vos.
  4. Art­ib­ite Kevin Megens.
  5. Alex Debicki Music production.
  6. il Lus­ter Distribution.

A pro­fes­sional ani­ma­tor work­ing in the games indus­try, since 1999 Will has been ani­mat­ing for sev­eral major game titles in South Africa, Eng­land and cur­rently Denmark.