Monday, June 11, 2007

New Animated Shorts By Rebecca Whipple (Interview)

Rebecca Whipple, who I interviewed last year about her amazing "Language of War" watercolors, has begun working in animation. She produces individual drawings or paintings and then scans and stitches them together into animated sequences, and has so far been creating shorts which recreate short scenes from films. The first series she's showing is a pair of related film sequences, one from George Lucas' Star Wars and one from Akira Kurosawa's 1958 The Hidden Fortress, each showing the film's respective hero on the attack. Her process echoes that of Jeff Scher, but the end result is in a visual language and rhythm that is uniquely her own.

TiP: How long did these films take you to produce? What is the frame rate?

Rebecca: The Hidden Fortress animation took me about a month, but only because it was the first animation I did, so I had to learn the program. I could do the same piece now in about two weeks. The Star Wars sequence took longer because the drawings were more exact, about a month and a half or two (once again I was still learning the programs.) The frame rate is 15 fps, the same as the original film.

TiP: How did you select the films and scenes you used? What is the relationship between the two?

Rebecca: George Lucas admittedly took inspiration from the characters and story of Hidden Fortress for Star Wars. I picked the two scenes because the movements were parallel, the hero running in pursuit of the enemy; I wanted to compare the motion.

TiP: Any more in the works?

Rebecca: This project is in collaboration with Mark Bartlett, theorist and critical analyst, who is going to write an essay about the same material, i.e. the film scenes. There will be a few more film scene pairs, based on related kinds on motion, comic, action, dance, etc. This is a side project for me, and therefore, as I am working on it between other projects, it will take a while to complete. I would also like to stress that the version available of this work online is low resolution. I wish I could put a full resolution version online, but questions of ownership prevent me.

A note on another animation work: I have just finished a five-minute animation of a very different sort; it is a dream animation starring Steve Martin. It has taken up all of my energy over the last 5 months and is quite exciting. The music is not finished, so I can't show it yet. Benito Meza, a breathtaking clarinetist who plays with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, is writing and producing the score.

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