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