VIFF 2018 Interview: ANIMAL BEHAVIOR animators David Fine & Alison Snowden


“It’s an animated comedy about a group therapy session with animals. We thought that animals are not criticized for behaviour which we typically associate with them, but what if they were? So we put them in a group therapy session and had their behaviour analyzed. It’s obviously analogous to human behaviour too.” Creators David Fine and Alison Snowden on ANIMAL BEHAVIOR which screens at the 2018 edition of the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Congratulations on your film playing and welcome to VIFF! Is your first time here and are you planning to attend your screenings?

We live in Vancouver so we have been to VIFF.  We will be attending the second screening as we are out of town for the first one.

So how did you get into this business? Talk to me a bit about how you got your start and what you have worked on in the past.

We have been making films together for many, many years. We have done other short films as well as TV series and worked on other projects. We made the short film Bob’s Birthday and the TV series based on it, Bob and Margaret. We also did a kids series for Nickelodeon and Teletoon called Ricky Sprocket, about the world’s most famous, and ugliest movie star.

How did this project come together for you? Give me a rundown from the preparation, to shooting, to post-production to now!

We had been working in TV series and thought it would be nice to go back to making a short film again. The last one was over 20 years ago. We missed putting pen to paper, or as in this case now, pen to graphics monitor. We produced this with the National Film Board of Canada from our home in Vancouver.

What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you? How much coffee are we talking about here?

Taking lots of tea and coffee breaks and petting our cat. Animating is insular and takes a long time, in this case, three years to make this film, so we need to get out and take breaks, but we work very hard.

What was your biggest challenge with this project, and the moment that was the most rewarding to you?

Biggest challenge was just getting the darn thing done. The most rewarding thing was getting the darn thing done and seeing it with audiences who have responded really well to it, thankfully.

I’m about to get technical, but I would love to know about the the visual design of the movie; what camera did you film with, your relationship to the director of photography and how the movie was photographed.

We used TVPaint software to create the animation in a way which replicated traditional hand drawn animation. We didn’t want it to look like any kind of CGI. We used a more limited colour palette to give it more maturity.

What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie here in Vancouver?

Because we live in Vancouver, it’s especially nice to be able to share the film on the screen with friends.

After the film screens at Vancouver, where is the film going to show next? Theatrical, online, more festivals?

It’s going to a number of festivals.  Eventually it will be on the website.

We have a lot of readers on our site looking to make movies or get into the industry somehow. What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business?

Make a short film which shows your ability to tell a story and engage and surprise and get it out to festivals. That allows you to make connections. Don’t obsess about the technical proficiency of your work over the storytelling and emotion.

And final question: what is the greatest movie you have ever seen?

Can’t really name just one single favourite movie, but we both love THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, amongst many others.


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