Das INDAC-Interview mit Jon Favreau zu seinem Film THE JUNGLE BOOK (english version)

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 04:  Director/producer Jon Favreau attends The World Premiere of Disney's

Morgen folgt übrigens die deutsche Version!

Interview von Johannes Wolters, geführt am 12. April 2016



Jon Favreau:  Hello?

JW: Hello! Johannes here from Cologne, Germany!

Jon Favreau:  Hi Johannes! Nice to meet you. This is Jon.

JW: It is a great pleasure for me to be able to speak to you today.

Jon Favreau:  Very kind! Very nice of you! Yes, I am a little bit nervous on this call, I gotta tell you.

JW:  I think, I am a little bit more nervous then you are…

Jon Favreau:  Well, in preparation for the Jungle Book I met with people from all around the world and it seems that Germany is the one region where they have the most affection for the 1967 film. So, when I made this movie I was thinking a lot about this phone call when I was gonna talk to somebody who had seen the movie who is from Germany, because I felt the most pressure to make sure that I honored the old one and made sure that even so I did things differently here it still felt like as in keeping with the tradition of the old one, that the audience in Germany has grown to love so much over the years..

JW: Yes, I am not only very fond of the Disney movie from ´67, one of the very first film I saw in the cinemas as a little child, but I also love the old Alexander Korda movie from ´42, which I saw on television many times.

Jon Favreau:  Yes, the one with Sabu!

JW: Yes indeed. So I was very anxious to see your new movie and I have to say: Great Job! Congratulations! This is absolutely amazing!

Jon Favreau:   So you feel like the people who grew up with the old movie, loving it so much,  feel like you do, that it feels like it connects enough to the old movie for the German audience ?

JW: Yes indeed, very much, absolutely! But this must have been very tough for you, being aware that there is the old Disney classic or the old british movie with its hilarious plastic crocodile- it must have been very tough for you, to find your own voice, your own tone for the new movie?

Jon Favreau:  I enjoyed it, because it is a bit of a puzzle. I welcome it, it is not something that frightens me, but it is something, that when you are done with it and you do everything that you think it is right, you do care what people think, you hope that your instincts are lining up with your audiences instincts because you can only make one person happy when you are working on it and that is really yourself. And you hope that in making yourself happy that translates to the rest of the world. And I, like you, I grew up with it, I was born in 1966, so that was one of the first movies I ever saw, I saw it over and over again!!! I loved the music, I loved the characters. But there was a bit of a balancing act, because the head of the Studio, Alan Horn, he grew up with the Kipling stories. And when I came on board, this movie resembled the Kipling stories much more then the Disney version. I think they were using …, they have been making live action versions of their old movies to a very good effect for the last few years, and so that was a new property that they were seeing in the line of live action films and I think that their instinct was to make it quite a bit older and there was no music in it and to me it felt like we are missing an opportunity when I got hired because the music was important and the characters and the humor were important and  we knew we could do a g-rated kid´s movie or kid´s musical like the original was. But I then felt there was  a way with the photorealistic animals to bring something, a tone that felt in line with the tradition of Disney but was a bit more intense then the children´s cartoon and so we looked at movies like the Lion King which I think balance music and scariness and the idea that characters could die which I don´t think was part of the 67 film, but it was very much part of the big five, Snowwhite and Bambi, Pinocchio, Fantasia and Dumbo, those are kind of the five classic Disney films and those had variations and tones where you had music, and you had humor  but you also had very scary villains. Walt Disney was not afraid to scare the audience. He felt that it was actually part of having a very full experience. But you also doing that with a film with a movie called Jungle Book and most people´s memories are what you described and fortunately with the marketing material the people are getting a sense what this movie is. So they are walking to the cinemas understanding and certainly the youngest children are going to be probably be scared by it. But the trade off is, you get a movie that is geared towards the entire audience much in keeping with the tradition of Walt Disney´s earlier work.

JW: It is a tricky thing making a photo-real movie. Even rain or death get real too!

Jon Favreau:  Yes, that is why we needed to do things like keep the violence off screen. Because if you see your animals fighting each other, if you show that too graphically, this would be just too much for this movie. So we have what we call the PG-rating in the United States, means any age can go but parents should pay attention and know, if their child is too young to see it, if it is too intense. You see, I think 3D also contributes to this! The 3D is adding to this effect.   3D, Imax, it is loud and big and the animals sounds and all that. It can be very overwhelming, some of the sequences can be very overwhelming That has been the balancing act here. But I have to say for me personally I it does feel like there is a lot of impact that it has cinematically by being photoreal.  And so I do not think there was no real way to use that technology and these techniques and these designs to do a direct adaptation of the ´67 film. I think that would have been very weird. Because the characters were very cartoony and anthropomorphic and human and it won´t have worked with the photoreal animals. I think It would have felt strange. So this is the balance that worked for me and fortunately people seem to responding well to it. They are certainly curious about it. But I am waiting to see what happens when the film comes out. I can´t wait to see what the reactions of the audiences will be.

JW: I am pretty sure, that this will be a huge hit and there will be a part two! I hope, there will be a part two. But I would love to speak about the songs – you kept three of the ´67 movie in your film.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 04: Composer Richard Sherman attends The World Premiere of Disney's "THE JUNGLE BOOK" at the El Capitan Theatre on April 4, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Richard Sherman

Richard Sherman

Jon Favreau:  Yes, I felt, that those songs were a very big part of what I remembered and loved about the film. Idid not want to keep all the songs I did not want to make it a musical. If you put too many songs in it, it becomes a musical and the tone shifts! And I think that the sense of danger is an important part of it and I looked to the old Disney movies to see how they combine music with the intense moments and they used a formula that was also used in westerns. It was a more popular structure back in the earlier days of American cinema which is you use it almost like a set piece like you would use a comic set piece or anything, you take a moment outside the movie to have a song. And I felt that I had to include at least those two songs and “I wanna be like you!” and “The Bare Necessities”.  But I had to rework them a bit to fit into my story. ”Bare Necessities” fit in quite pretty well. But “I wanna be like you” I had to treat differently and we had to change the lyrics. 387814276,8AE102CDB48757C4AFEFortunately Richard Sherman, who wrote the song originally with his brother is still alive and working and he wrote some new lyrics for us to match our version of King Louie. And then “Trust in me” happens in the end credits that Scarlet Johansen sings. So that did feel like the footprints of the old movie and every other musical reference we work in through the score. John Debney, who is our composer who grew up on the Disney lot actually with Walt -when he was young his father worked on movies as early like Snowwhite , so he was around, his childhood was spent around the Disney lot. All classics that we grew up with he was actually there when they were making them as a little kid. So he was able to bring a lot of that tradition in, he has a deep understanding of the musical roots of that studio.

JW: The musical intro into the Kaa-Sequence with the music of George Bruns is absolutely stunning!

Jon Favreau:  Thank you! Also in the very beginning of the movie too, we play sections from the original score, so we really wanted to embrace it. These are the little things and since you are such a fan, at the end you noticed the book that closes?


JW: Yes I have seen that, what a wonderful idea!

Jon Favreau:  It is the same book! We found it in the Archives! And I had to ask over and over again at Disney´s ! They said: you can´t handle the book. You know, this is like a museum piece! And we got them to bring in the Archivist wearing white gloves and, of course we could have done the book digitally but when the book closes at the end of the movie it is the same exact book that opens up in the beginning of the first Jungle Book! So to me it felt like they never closed the book on their movie. The movie ends without the book. And our film ends with our book closing so it felt like for people that are fans of the original and of course it turns digital when it opens up  again in the credits! And we do all the fun stuff with it! I really love being there at Disney and have access to this stuff.  By the way, the opening logo with the castle? That is actually is a hand-painted multi-plane cel animation like they did in the old days. So it is like we start with a practical effect and we end with a practical effect. And everything else is just digital except for the boy!

JW: Of course we have to speak about Rob Legato and all the hundreds of artists and animators who did all this wonderful stuff.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 04: Visual effects supervisor Robert Legato attends The World Premiere of Disney's "THE JUNGLE BOOK" at the El Capitan Theatre on April 4, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Robert Legato

Rob Legato

Jon Favreau:  Yes I wanted to work with Rob for a long time! He has done it all! I love what he did with HUGO also,it was so wonderful. And another thing about Rob is, when he does designs for 3D, it does not feel like you are just being charged to pay more money to go to see the same movie. It feels like the 3D experience is actually an added value and that was the same I felt with AVATAR and have not felt that many times since I have seen Avatar. I felt that same with Hugo too. Because in designing the shoots and the movement, he really understands that, he has a cameraman´s mind even so he is a vfx genius. But also credits has to go to all the people who worked under him and with him  from the facilities: MPC , the London facility, they did tremendous work, Adam Valdez is the supervisor from there, WETA did the whole King Louie Sequence and it is the animators who are adding all the performance! Even so we used motion capture and video reference:  these movies are handmade films. Even a motion capture movie you hear of so much about, there are hundreds of artists whose jobs it is to make that captured data and that animation look like it is real and they are breathing their own humanity and their touch into it. And that is what it brings it to life! And this was something I did not understand completely when I started this. I worked on VFX movies before but never so close with the artists. I was assuming that the computers were doing a lot of the work but really the computer is just a tool! Just as the paintbrush was back then when they were doing cel animation. It is really the level of taste and the craftsmanship and the artistry of these people who are working behind the scenes and bringing all this to life. You know, if you sit through all the songs in the end credits, there are more than 2000 names there. It has never been a more human medium as it is now. Don´t let the technology fool you!

JW: So what kind of movie is it? It is not a live action movie and also it is not really an animated movie, or is it?

Jon Favreau:  It would qualify for either! You know, every shot is animated. So there is as much animation in this film like it is in every other animated film. I think the aesthetics though shifts so, because you have a live action character in the centre of it and so it appears to be live action if we are doing our job right.  And as a result, I think, most people would consider it live action! But honestly the line is blurring so much between the two, especially with a film like this, you can call it either one.

JW: It is amazing how Neel Sethi is selling this aspect to me while watching him interact with the animals.

Jon Favreau:  The kid is doing a great job acting. But also there is this level of interactivity that you have not seen before. There are shoots, most people won´t notice: Mogli is running his fingers through the fur of the wolf, that is extremely difficult to do! And the first thing I will try to do,you know,  I want to talk you out of the shot when I see the storyboard. And you say: No we are gonna try it!!! So we picked a half dozens of moments where there is direct contact between digital and practical elements and those are generally those you shy away from! Even a film like avatar does not really show that and we are either directly interacting or having a real character and a digital character share a frame which is a much higher standard than in a completely animated film.

THE JUNGLE BOOK (L-R) MOWGLI (Neel Sethi) and RAKSHA (voiced by Lupita Nyong'o). ©2015 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

THE JUNGLE BOOK (L-R) MOWGLI (Neel Sethi) and RAKSHA (voiced by Lupita Nyong’o). ©2015 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

JW: So it seems nothing is impossible anymore?

Jon Favreau:  I would not go that far! I think that there is … I think that I have done well with Visual Effects because I have not asked more of it then it is capable of. But I would not mess with a human face yet. That is the one thing where we are just too good in reading a human face. It will happen soon. But I would not trust it yet.

THE JUNGLE BOOK (Pictured) MOWGLI and BALOO. ©2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

JW: But storytelling is open for new frontiers?

Jon Favreau:  Oh year. Oh year. Well, look:  Gravity made me think I could do this! You know what I mean?  It could not be more different as far as what the setting is, but your imagination begins to  open up! And that is the way cinema has been developing for a  century . You have a filmmaker who has  an idea of a story they want to tell and then people are working with him and figure out together what piece of equipment  to develop, what kind of techniques to developed to tell that story. And then the next filmmaker sees that technique and that inspires them to tell a different story and then they wanna do something that nobody knows how to do and they invent a new way to do that! And that conversation back and forth between the creative and the technical that build upon one another and open up all these new horizons. I could not have done this without the innovations that Jim Cameron had done on Avatar.  In some cases we used the equipment he build And James Cameron came by the set and he really welcomed it, that we are using it. People have not used it that much since Avatar and it is a good system – so there is a very supportive community where people are happy to share their techniques with the next generation or another filmmaker and that is why I think that it builds and builds and builds, but you are absolutely right, it is time to reavaluate, looking back and again I think, it is always best when you look at the old stories when you look at the old time artists, the myths and what stories can you present in a new way. What do we have available. And I think the big one is the audience. ..

THE JUNGLE BOOK - (L-R) BAGHEERA, BALOO, MOWGLI and RAKSHA. ©2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

THE JUNGLE BOOK – (L-R) BAGHEERA, BALOO, MOWGLI and RAKSHA. ©2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

JW: It is amazing how it comes always back to a hero with a thousand faces…

Jon Favreau:  Yes, exactly. Joseph Campbell is who Lucas would reference to and I learned about him through that and it has become my playbook. You know, this story – that was another aspect here! We talked about, how we deviated from the ´67 movie. Part of how we deviated was how to make it more mythic and find the mythology in the Kipling (book) And Kipling´s mythology dates back even further then the 100 years that he wrote it. It is going back to Romulus and Remus, these are very old myths that crossed many cultures. And I think now, when you are telling a story that has to, you know, circumnavigate the entire globe and every culture has to be able to relate to your story,  the myths are a very respectable way to accommodate that market, because every culture relates to the old stories. It is part of who we are as a species. And our connection to nature is something that mythology contends with. That is one of the primary concerns of mythology: it is connecting man to nature. And so Jungle Book lends itself very, very  effectively to that and I think Kipling and his writings really reflected that as well and I think that is part of the upside of  taking liberties with the ´67 version is making it harkening back to something that is enduring. And certainly Disney understood the benefit of taking old stories, he would take old stories, old folklore, old fairy tales from different cultures and then used cutting edge technologies of his days to tell those stories in a way that were incredibly compelling, that is why it stands the test of time. The artistry and technology combined with the old myths is something  that seems to connect with people in a very, very deep way!


Unsere Studierenden sollen zur Entwicklung unserer kulturellen Identität beitragen – Das INDAC Interview mit ANDREAS HYKADE

Foto: Marc Lutz

„Andreas Hykade was born in the summer of love in Altötting, center of the Holy Mary cult.
Since he´s been a grown-up, he´s created animated films for grown-ups.
Now he´s a father, he creates animated films for children as well.
Since 2015 he is also director of the Institute of Animation at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg.

So stehts auf der Webseite von Andreas Hykade. Zudem ist er auch noch FMX Conference Chair und seine offizielle Anrede lautet: Prof. Andreas Hykade, Professor for Animation Film, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. Kurz vor der neuen Ausgabe der FMX hatte er noch Zeit für ein Gespräch, viel Spaß beim Lesen!

INDAC: Wie geht es Dir als Leiter des Animationsinstituts?

Andreas Hykade: Es ist anstrengend. Aber ich fühle mich sehr vital und lerne täglich Neues.

INDAC: Mit viel Macht kommt viel Verantwortung heisst es bei Marvels Spiderman? Bei Marvels Deadpool heisst es ja nun Mit viele Macht kommt auch viel Verantwortungslosigkeit… Was sind deine Prioritäten, was hat Dich bewogen den Job anzunehmen?

Andreas Hykade: Ich habe den Job nicht angenommen, sondern musste mich um den Job bewerben und gegen eine Reihe hochqualifizierter Mitbewerber durchsetzen. Darauf habe ich mich vorbereitet wie ein Boxer. Warum? Weil ich denke, dass ich im Augenblick der Richtige bin, um das Animationsinstitut in die Zukunft zu führen. Das betreibe ich so reflektiert und verantwortungsvoll wie möglich.

INDAC: Die ersten 100 Tage sind ja nun herum, was wird unter Andreas Hykade anders bei der Filmakademie?

Andreas Hykade: Wir werden uns weiterhin dem gesamten Spektrum von Animation, VFX und Games verpflichtet fühlen und offen bleiben für innovative Entwicklungen. Neu ist, dass wir das Prinzip „Learning by doing“ durch ein Lehrangebot erweitern, bei dem ein substanzielles Basiswissen in allen Bereichen vermittelt wird. So gibt es zum Beispiel den Kurs „Basics of Animation“, den alle Studierenden erfolgreich durchlaufen müssen. Wir merken bereits jetzt, wie die Studierenden und ihre Arbeiten davon profitieren. Außerdem haben wir das soziale Engagement zum Teil unseres Curriculums gemacht, was von den Studierenden größtenteils begeistert aufgenommen wird und zur Gemeinschaftsbildung beiträgt. Darüber hinaus wollen wir verstärkt Weiterbildungsmaßnahmen entwickeln, die den jungen Künstlern die Möglichkeiten geben, ihre eigenen künstlerischen, technolgischen und geschäftlichen Visionen weiter zu entwickeln. Als ersten Schritt setzen wir dazu die VR NOW-Initiative um, bei der das Thema VR inhaltlich und ästhetisch innovativ behandelt werden soll. Ziel ist die Entwicklung unterschiedlicher Prototypen. Offizieller Start des Projekts ist bei der FMX 2016.

INDAC: Was sagt der kreative Artists, Filmemacher und Animator Andreas Hykade zu seinem neuen Beruf?

Andreas Hykade: Er ist verwundert darüber, was hier vor sich geht.

INDAC: Wie siehst Du die Entwicklung der fmx, die ja nun auch in deinen Aufgabenbereich hineinfällt?

Andreas Hykade: Wir werden die FMX als eine erstklassige internationale Konferenz für digitales Entertainment erhalten und zur Stimulanz des Produktionsstandorts Deutschland und speziell Baden-Württemberg weiter ausbauen. Dazu werden wir weiterhin im jährlichen Rhythmus die spannendsten und wichtigsten weltweiten Player ins Haus der Wirtschaft nach Stuttgart holen. Neu ist in diesem Jahr, dass es einen verstärkten Austausch zwischen Speakern und Publikum geben wird. Besonders plastisch wird dies bei unserer VR-Stage, bei der die Besucher erleben können, wie in Echtzeit ein virtueller Film entsteht. Wenn man ein wenig Geduld mitbringt, kann man auch selbst einen Film dort drehen.

INDAC: Für wen bildet das Animationsinstitut eigentlich aus? (Die Abgänger müssen sich zwischen dem deutschen Markt und den internationalen Angeboten entscheiden).

Andreas Hykade: Wir bilden unsere Studierenden so aus, dass sie sich im Idealfall zu entscheidenden Impulsgebern ihres Feldes entwickeln. Sie sollen Projekte initiieren, die die Herzen und Hirne des Publikums erreichen. Sie sollen zur Entwicklung unserer kulturellen Identität beitragen.

INDAC: Welche dringenden Problemfelder gilt es zu beackern? Und was kann man tun (was kann  INDAC tun), um die Stellung der Animation in Deutschland zu verbessern.

Andreas Hykade: Mein dringendstes Anliegen ist es, den hochqualifizierten Nachwuchs hier im Land zu halten. Dazu müssen attraktive Angebote entwickelt werden. Wenn INDAC Wege finden kann, dies zu unterstützen, würde mich das freuen.


Das INDAC Interview mit den Zoomania-Regisseuren Byron Howard und Rich Moore

Schnitt und Regie: Alexander Jarosch

Ich hatte die Gelegenheit und die Freude, die beiden Regisseure von Zoomania zu interviewen, hier ist der Mitschnitt, der von Alexander Jarosch wunderbar geschnitten wurde. Großes Dankeschön an ihn! Bitte gerne weiterteilen, wenn es Euch gefällt!

jowo zooomania


„We are not chasing dollars, we are chasing good stories!“ – INDAC Interview with Producer Clark Spencer about Disney`s ZOOMANIA

I did this interview with producer Clark Spencer last October 2015, when he visited Hamburg and Munich to promote his new film Zoomania aka Zootopia.
He first walked us in a short presentation through the movie, showing us bits and pieces from the movie, around 15 minutes including the outstanding sloth scene, when Judy and Nick try to get information about the car license number early in the story.
Afterwards we sat down at the lovely Münchner Hof hotel and chatted for about 15 Minutes together with Amy Astley from PR. This is, what we talked about:


Johannes: There is this hilarious visual joke – the bitten carrot on Judys Laptop.

Clark Spencer: It was one of the great fun things to do in the film because we created a modern world created by animals but we still needed to be relatable to humans. Because John always says: Make the world believable!!! Make it a world, we do not know – then it becomes science fiction and that is not really fun in animation. So in the result to make it believable and grounded, we did things that made the world very animal and then placed something like the I-Paws instead of the I-Pads in the film and then we put a carrot on it just to give it the extra layer, that the audience may see or may not see… but it is like giving a lot of depth to the movie.

Johannes: Same with the hilarious „Prey-Da“ Label instead of PRADA, which you can see on the poster. Tells me, that the people involved making the movie loved the project!

Clark Spencer: They loved it indeed. For two reasons I think. We have not done an animal film in a very long time! An all animal film basically since the Lion King! So for the animators, for the visual developing team, for the character designers, they were just having a blast doing animal instead of humans. It was really using a different kind of tool set for them. And then for the story team and for the writers and the directors and even for the other artists as we started to develop the world, everybody came up with these great ways of incorporating things into it like Prey-da or Lulu Lemmings or Bearberry one of those things where you can just riff on puns and other ideas that we feel like really mix, hopefully mix, that people, when they look at it, realize that is going to be a really funny movie.

Johannes: I read somewhere, that there has been a gag board in the old Disney studio in the Thirties and Forties, where everybody was invited to put gags on for a short or a feature film for 5 Dollars or something, so that those gags could be incorporated into the movie. Zoomania is so rich of great details, you have to see it four, five times to get everything and later on you can go through the movie frame by frame when it will be released on Blueray or Dvd to find even more. This reminded me somehow of the old gag board.

Clark Spencer: And that is what the artists here have really done! They have thought about every single scene and „Whatelse can we add?“ So even when it was done in story and done in layout for the camerawork, when it went into animation the animators were thinking: „what can we do? Or when it gets into FXs, the effects team were thinking: is there another layer we can do? not just technically but in terms of actually having fun with this world that audiences may or may not see. And you know there are Disney references throughout the entire movie because we have fun with that. So I think, there are all those layers, but we had that same idea with the board like they had way back then. What we do, we say to anyone in the studio: Do you have an idea? Email it to the directors and we look at every email, we will get to see what those ideas are, because some of the best ideas come from unknown, no that is the wrong word…

Johannes: unexpected…

Clark Spencer: Yes, they come from unexpected places! I always have told this as an example – this is going back to Ralph for a second, where there is a moment, where we had to figure out how – end of the second act, Ralph is going back to his game and he is all by himself in the appartment building, he has to figure out why he thinks now, that there is something wrong. And what he does, is, he sees Vannelope´s Face actually on the side of this Game that she is in – „Sugar Rush“. And we could not figure it out in the first place. No! Storyartists could not figure it out. Writers could not figure it out. Directors could not figure it out, even the story trust could not figure it out. Nobody could give us a simple way to do it. And someone emailed us and said „What, if her picture was on the side of the game cabinet?“ And you think to yourself: „That is the most brilliant idea I ever heard of!“ Or why would she be on the side of the game cabinet, if she was not actually supposed to be a big character in the game! So to me that really opened up the sense of „You have to always encourage people!“, whether it is gags, storytelling, emotion, whatever it is, people, design, whatever it might be – people have great ideas! Those are all creative people. Do not assume that only twenty people can figure that out! Let the whole studio be a part of the creative lab.


Johannes: You called it this now the second Renaissance of Disney animation, there have been difficult times in the past for the Disney studios after the perfect storm of people came up with movies like Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King – the so called first renaissance. It is great to see that this communication of creativity has come back. Now I have to say this is a rare thing here in Germany too. So we need your advise here. How can you relearn this kind of creative communication amongst artists to make the movie better in every way.

Clark Spencer: I think, this is really a good question. It does not happen easily. And you cannot give up on it! Because when John (Lasseter) and Ed (Cadmull) came in and they talked about the idea of the story-trust and you have the idea, that the director shows the movie to the other directors and the other directors would give feedback… In the beginning, it felt like, that seems like a pretty good idea, like that is something you can adapt. But when you go into a room and all the people there tell you, that everything is wrong with your movie – they are talking about what is right too, yes – but they are telling you everything is wrong with your movie… In front of John Lasseter and Ed Cadmull! If you do not have confidence, you start to worry: „I am going to loose my job! I am not good! I do not know how to do this film. I do not know what the story is.“ You start to…. you can loose your confidence! The key is John Lasseter! He believes in the people. So John always believed in the filmmakers. In a way that made you feel like „I have the support that I need, to know that even I give feedback that is saying That is not working in the film it is feedback that is coming from a supportive place not from an attacking place. And I think that takes many years to build and that is why in the beginning it worked but it did not work as well as it is working right now. Because right now all the filmmakers feel like we are one together making these movies! We all felt like we were there making Big Hero Six, we all felt like being there making Frozen, the same with Wreck It Ralph – but it took us a few years to achieve that. Bolt was one of the first movies to do that, then Tangled. It took us a while for all the filmmakers to understand that this is a really supportive environment. So you kind of have to understand: it is a very long term vision, we are saying: we are going to get there and when we get there it will be unbelievable great! And it will be really fantastic. So it is worth the journey of getting there and have someone always saying I am here to support you, to let you know that even if you get a lot of feedback, alot of critical eyes on your film you are still good! You still are going to make this movie great! So do not give up on it!“ And I think that is what John Lasseter does in an amazing way. And we had all to go on that journey to realize it would be then very easy after one or two times. You say: You know what? It is a little bit uncomfortable I do not know if I love this. So, you know, I think I have gotten enough ideas I think I know the movie I wanna make. Thank you! But instead of this every three or four month you have to show your movie and have people coming in to collaborate. Now we see the results of it. So we all understand it now, but it took us a while, … ourselves to really understand it…

Johannes: Yes, I think you started this somehow alongside the production of „Meet the Robinsons. It is tricky, because I have seen Don Hahn´s beautiful documentary „Waking Sleeping Beauty“, if „Frozen“ is your „Lion King“ you could be in for trouble, seeing what happened after Lion King phenomenal success.

Clark Spencer: I think what the key is, and this is really important: Nobody believes, that we are as great…, , nobody believes that we hit our pinnacle, we have achieved our pinnacle. Nobody says we have achieved that – now we just can do that. Frozen is just a film building to greater things to us. Boxoffice cannot always be the determination of success because in the end of the day. films hit in different ways, in different moments in time for different reasons, we all know that aspect of it, but the key is, if every film is telling a great story and if the audience is going to see that film and love it, then we are doing our jobs correct, obviously: do we want our films to go out there and be that succesful? Absolutely. But you can´t assume that that you will do every time. That is not what John Lasseter says. He doesn´t say every film has to be that. What John says is that every film has to be great in terms of its storytelling with compelling characters and a believable world. And if we will do that, people will come. And people will do come in a way that we will still be creative, we will still hold on to the fact that people will say Walt Disney and Pixar are making great movies. That is what our goal ultimatively is. And the rest of it comes, when it hits on the right moment. Or it comes because the story is great or it is a combination of the two. And I think, that is it what it is really for me, what I appreciate about John. We are not chasing dollars, we are chasing good stories.

Amy Astley: You see, when we did Lion King, everything had to be muscials at that time. If you look at the projects we are doing right now? Frozen is the opposite of Big Hero Six, Zootopia is very different from Moana. Four films that are totally different from each other… So I think this is a great statement of the vitality right now as well.

Clark Spencer: We are not doing the same thing again. We are not saying, now let us repeat this. And also what is important to me, there is a lot more of animation out there. So as a result we know, that everybody… we have a lot of competition out there that we always have to be thinking about. And I think in the days of Lion King, well being there, you know it felt like Walt Disney Animation we made the Lion King we will make movies and the people will come. Now you realize there are great movies getting made, live action and animation both, in a way that says we have to continue to not become full of ourselves we cannot have just complete confidence so whatever we will do, will be easy and great. We have to really deeply dive in, we have to do the research. We have to figure out the characters, we have to know how to make the story great!

Johannes: You as a producer must feel like in heaven. You are at the right time at the right place. You stayed through the dark times and now you are there, everything pays of. No you have to control these really great creative people to not make this movie for 500 Billion Dollars, you just have a such and such amount of money. So you have to choose what to take and not to take. Is it hard to do?

Clark Spencer: You know it is hard on one side and easy on another side. So I always feel like the one of the things I have to do is to create a really open creative environment. And you can not tell people today you must be creative. You need to solve this creative story problem by five o Clock tonight or we will be in trouble, because you won´t get the best idea. That means, that if I go home at 5 o`Clock at night, – I don´t, but lets say I do go home at 5 o`Clock that night- …

Johannes: You never go home…

Clark Spencer: … then I go home thinking, we did not solve that problem. It is still in my brain. As a producer I am still thinking we have to solve that problem. But I know the ideas were just not good enough and fundamentally what drives me a s producer is we got to create the best idea. Once we do, everything else will figure its way out. So again it is sort of a longer term strategy rather then a short term strategy because it is very easy to check boxes and say we did that we did that we did that because that won´t lead to the best movie. On the other side of it to your point you have to balance the fact that you can´t just say we will spend nine month trying to figure out that creative idea. There has to be a moment where you say we have to at least to land on something. But I have one huge toolset I always can fell back on which is John Lasseter and the story trust. So if we ever get in a place where I feel we need another set of eys in here, we need somebody else to help us understand what we are mssing we can always go to them. And John comes to Disney to Burbank every week on a Tuesday and a Wednesday so we always have the ability to get another set of eyes in there to help us unlock something. So that as a producer that is my job. My job is to say I feel like we are in a place where we need somebody else. May be it is a visual developing artist. May be it is another story artist. May be it is a different writer coming in for a moment. For a day or two just to brainstorm some ideas. Whatever that is, this is my job as a producer. To say i feel like we hit a point where we need a few other influences in here that will help us to unlock something in a great way And that is one of the things we are lucky about, because we have all these talented people in a building that we can kind of draw upon. But you have to watch at what point you feel like that is the next step only to take.

Johannes: So it is essential to have everything under one roof.

Clark Spencer: Yes, absolutely.

Johannes: Here in Germany we have the attitude that animation can be done in East Asia while preproduction can be done in Italy, here we will fund the money, we are giving the money. And its all dislocated, its all over the place, spread out. It is a very hard thing to communicate between an italian and a german guy, you can imagine how difficult it is for a german guy to discuss things in english with an eastasian guy living in a different cultural setting and timezone… You have so many countries under your roof, but you have one roof.

Clark Spencer: And this is really a gift! You know there a many ways to make a filmto your point and it is much more complicated when you make parts of it in different places around th world or even in different parts of the United States, that would become very complicated but we a re lucky because we do have everything under one roof. Yet we still get a very international feel to it because people come from all over the world. People from Asia, from all parts of Europe, all over South America and even Africa We have people who have come to the studio in a way to build in and bring in those other ideas which is also important so we are not just one type of mindset. We have other creative minds in there that come from all the other parts of the world and they can unlock other things or are familiar with other things we ourselves in the United States might not be familiar with and I give again a lot of credit to John and Ed who really feel like it is the strongest way to make a movie. Because if everyone is under one roof communication is immidiate. And it is clear and the minute it is not clear you immidiately know that it is not working. Right, you know, like somebody got the wrong idea as supposed to I have communicate something in a week or two I see something that now tells me, that idea did not get communicated quitecorrectly you can actually see it in the work in a moment. This working method is really beneficial.

Johannes: How much time do you need to stay on the edge of development and new trends.

Clark Spencer: Again we are lucky, we work in this great company that has all these great smart individuals who are thinking about this. They are thinking about Virtual Reality, they are looking at the interactive games, they are looking at mobile phones in terms of what games can be played on mobile phones. And what types of merchandise exist out there. What is the cutting edge in the toy department, if you will. So we as filmmakers don´t have to worry about technically where those worlds are at or even what other people are wanting out of that. We just have to think about: how do we creatively make sure, that whatever is going into that, is something we think is building on our own story and our own characters. That´s where we come in. They come in with a platform, they come in with the ideas and then our role is to really sit there and make sure that it still feels like it is all from the same movie. That it is all the same characters. From that standpoint we are pretty lucky, because we have again this huge wealth of amazing people and talent within the Walt Disney Company. Much bigger than us, But it is one of those fun and incredible parts of the process: we are busy making the movie. We are trying to solve our story. We are building our characters and animating our film. And then we start meeting with these other groups It is like sort of saying well
What is the toys can look like what would be an idea for the theme park what is an idea for a game and you start realizing it ios way bigger then just this one story but in the end of the day you still have to figure out and give the time to make sure that all that is of the same quality of the movie.

Johannes: Will we still have linear storytelling in the future or will that change?

Clark Spencer: That is really a good question and I feel like I am not enough on the cutting edge to give the exact answer but my gut tells me that cinema has existed through all of these evolutions of technologies, so there is something about linear storytelling and great storytelling that still makes the people wanna see movies in a way that people saw 60, 70 years ago. That will not change. That does not mean that more people want to see in other ways and virtual reality could be a new way to go do that. But there is something to me, personally, something about the communal idea of going to a theatre to sit with all these people and the laughter and the emotion, the tension, that people hold in their seats – there is an energy to that, that I feel like will always be the thing that draws people to the cinemas or -knock on wood- draws people to the movies because I like to see movies on the big screen.



„Jeder fühlt sich hier zu Hause, wir vertrauen uns allen komplett und jeder zieht jederzeit mit und gibt alles.“- Das INDAC Interview mit Benedikt Laubenthal von BigHugFX aus München



Benedikt Laubenthal

„Unsere Philosophie ist es, mit unseren nationalen als auch internationalen Kunden gemeinsam herausragendeWerke auf die Beine zu stellen. Wir sind hier, um jede Vision mit Qualität, Kompetenz, Stil und Können zu beantworten. All dies, weil wir lieben, was wir tun!“ So steht es auf der Webseite von BigHugFX, der Firma von Benedikt Laubenthal und Tommy Krappweis. Und weiter heisst es dort: „BigHugFX GmbH ist ein dynamisches und erfahrenes VFX-Studio mit Sitz in München nahe der Isar, umgeben von Natur und Frischluft. Spezialisiert auf die Herstellung von High-End-Effekten für die Film- und Medienindustrie, wird das Studio von erfahrenen und kreativen Filmemachern, Animatoren und Designern angetrieben. Leidenschaft und jahrelange Erfahrung in den Bereichen VISUAL EFFECTS, 3D-ANIMATION und CGI, als auch MOTION DESIGN, machen BigHugFX zu einer renommierten Adresse für Konzeption, Kreation, Design und Veredelung von TV-, Kino- und Web-Commercials und für die digitale Postproduktion und Effektbearbeitung bewegter Bilder.“

Ich hatte das große Vergnügen mit dem Mitbegründer von BigHugFX, Benedikt „Bene“Laubenthal ein Interview führen zu dürfen – viel Spaß beim Lesen. Und wie immer freue ich mich über Eure Rückmeldungen!
(Bene: Benedikt Laubenthal)

INDAC: Was machst Du gerade? Darf ich stören?

Bene: Bin ganz bei Dir, trage grade neue Projekte auf der Webseite von BigHug FX ein

INDAC: Ich nehme an, nach den Ereignissen der letzten zwei Jahre hat sich BigHug auf der Landkarte der VFX etabliert. Seit wann gibt es die Firma?

Bene: Die Firmengründung war im Jahr 2013. Und ja, es hat sich viel getan, nach unserem ersten Großprojekt „Mara und der Feuerbringer“, das wir Mitte 2014 finalisiert haben, können wir stolz auf einige weitere tolle und auch internationale Projekte sein.

INDAC: Bevor wir zu diesen kommen, erzähl mir rasch, was dich zu den VFX gebracht hat, was du vorher gemacht hast.

Bene: Nach einer Ausbildung zum Audio Engineer und einem Einstieg ins Fernsehbusiness in einem Fernsehstudio habe ich mich selbst als 3D Artist weitergebildet und bin nach einer kurzen Freelancer Phase als Head of 3D bei D-Facto Motion gelandet. Dort habe ich knappe 5 Jahre gearbeitet. In dieser Zeit habe ich quer durch alle Produktionsmöglichkeiten der VFX und Digital Produktion Erfahrung gesammelt. Das letzte Jahr bei D-Facto habe ich viel Producing und Planung gemacht. Nach meinem Ausstieg dort habe ich mich wieder selbstständig gemacht und bin nach ca 1,5 Jahren Freelancer Tätigkeit als 3D Artist und meinem Freelancerbüro „centipede effects“ Tommy Krappweis über den Weg gelaufen, der mich für seinen Film „Mara und der Feuerbringer“ begeistern konnte. Da dieses Projekt eine größere Dimension hatte, haben wir den Entschluss gefasst, eine GmbH zu gründen, die BigHugFX GmbH.

INDAC: Gab es einen besonderen Moment, der dich von Audio hin zu den Visual Effects gebracht hat?

Bene: Audio war immer mehr Leidenschaft als Beruf, ich bin auch Musiker und nutze meine Kenntnisse nach wie vor für die Produktionen mit meiner Band. Ich wollte bei Audio immer totale Freiheit haben und es nur kreativ nutzen, keine Tonproduktionen für andere Leute machen. 3D habe ich durch meine erste Digital Produktion kennengelernt. Das hab ich aufgesaugt und von dem Moment war klar, dass ich damit zu tun haben will. Ich bin wie wahrscheinlich jeder, der die Liebe zu 3D und VFX entwickelt, erst einmal Nächte lang vor dem PC gesessen und habe gelernt und ausprobiert, bin auf Fortbildungen gerannt und habe einfach geschaut, dass ich Leute kennenlerne, um irgendwie den Einstieg zu bekommen. War ein langer Weg aber hat sich gelohnt!

INDAC: Wie genau ist Dir Tommy Krappweis dann über den Weg gelaufen? Fügung? Schicksal, Zufall?

Bene: Wahrscheinlich von allem ein bisschen… Ich habe ihn kennengelernt, als ich auf der Suche nach neuen Büroräumen war und da hat er mir eine Untermiete in den Räumen der bumm film GmbH angeboten. Kurz drauf war durch den nahen Kontakt natürlich eine Zusammenarbeit nicht mehr so abwegig.

INDAC: Aber man muss da auf der gleichen Wellenlänge sein? Dieselben Träume träumen? Oder habt Ihr gegensätzliche Ansichten und daraus entstehen kreative Prozesse?

Bene: Er hatte das Projekt Mara in den Startlöchern und ich wollte definitiv noch mehr aus meiner beruflichen Situation machen als zu diesem Zeitpunkt der Fall war. Klar, wir haben uns gut verstanden und er hat mich mit seinem Feuer beflügelt. Ich ihn, glaube ich, mit meiner Art, die Dinge straight und konkret anzupacken. Ich wusste z.B. genau, wen ich in so ein Projekt mit involvieren wollte, weil man sich als Artist natürlich untereinander kennt, so konnte ich alle meine Kontakte aktivieren und ein tolles und passendes Team zusammenstellen.

INDAC: Ein Projekt anzugehen wie Mara und der Feuerbringer bedingt ja Vertrauen in die Fähigkeiten des anderen! Wie baut man das auf?

Bene: Wir haben in der Planungsphase für Mara diverse Projekte der bumm film miteinander gestemmt. Die berühmten „Nachtschleifen“ mit Bernd das Brot zum Beispiel, oder eine Reihe aufwändiger Kinospots. Klar waren die nicht so groß wie Mara, aber man hat gemerkt, dass die Form der Kommunikation stimmt. Ab einem gewissen Punkt war einfach klar, wir wollen das beide, egal was kommt. Ist dann wohl auch eine Mischung aus Mut, Vertrauen, der Glaube an sich selbst und einfach nur Wille. Bei so einem Projekt kann man nicht alles im Detail vorher wissen, das lässt man dann einfach zu und tut sein Bestes. Hat ja letztendlich auch geklappt

INDAC: Die Leistung, die Ihr mit Mara dann auf die Beine gestellt habt, war sensationell!

Bene: DANKE!

INDAC: Das war wie ein Paukenschlag!

Bene: Freut mich sehr!

INDAC: Das heißt, deine Kontakte führten wirklich zu einem großartigen Team. Man merkt auch, wie Ihr Euch da unglaublich hinter das Projekt gestellt habt. Wie schwierig war das angesichts des deutschen Budgets?

Bene: Das Projekt war sehr individuell, und von daher konnte ich die Leute, die ich im Team haben wollte auch überzeugen und begeistern. Tommy ist auch ein Typ, der Leute machen läßt und nicht nur seinen Stiefel durchzieht. Und ich hab auch bewusst auf gute Leute gesetzt und darauf vertraut, dass sich das ebenso wie die Professionalität der Beteiligten auszahlt und sie alle im Rahmen meiner Berechnungen und Kalkulationen ihre Arbeit erledigen können. Das hat geklappt und macht mich natürlich sehr stolz. Ich bin auch sehr dankbar, denn alle haben bis zum Ende ohne Stimmungseinbruch mitgezogen und alles gegeben. Das war unfassbar wichtig!

INDAC: Kein Raum für Fehler?

Bene: Schwierige Frage, aber in der Tat sind keine wirklich bösen Fehler passiert. Der übliche technische Hickhack natürlich, aber es war für jeden Bereich ein Vollprofi mit an Bord, so konnten wir alle Ecken und Kanten zügig in den Griff bekommen. So unglaublich das bei so einem Monsterprojekt auch klingt, aber es gab tatsächlich nie den Punkt, wo man das Gefühl hatte, dass das in die Hose geht. Wir mussten halt sehr flexibel sein, als es dann in die Umschnitte innerhalb der VFX-geladenen Shots ging, aber zu diesem Zeitpunkt stand die Pipeline schon 1A und wir konnten schnell reagieren.

INDAC: Wie wichtig war die Preproduction, ein Segment, dass meiner Meinung nach bei Förderern, Redakteuren etc. nicht genug Raum im Denken einnimmt?

Bene: Da geb ich Dir generell Recht. Allerdings hat uns in diesem Fall Co-Produzent RTL vorab eine Preproduction finanziert, was uns zum Beispiel Rough-Animatics von mehreren Szenen ermöglicht hat. Das Projekt hatte außerdem einen etwas längeren Weg bis zum finalen Startschuss – die Zeit haben wir natürlich genützt und so waren wir dann schon sehr weit gekommen in Punkto Preproduction, Character Development, Pipeline Planung etc… Außerdem haben wir natürlich den Vorteil, mit dem Regisseur Tommy unter einem Dach zu sein, das spart lange Abnahme- und Entscheidungswege. Viele Sachen konnten in wenigen Minuten abgeklärt werden, was bei externen Produktionen manchmal Tage in Anspruch nimmt. Zum Zeitpunkt als dann die Plates vom Dreh kamen, waren die Character tatsächlich dann schon „ready to go“.

INDAC: Wie lange sollte die Preproduction bei einem solch VFX-driven Movie sein?

Bene: So arg „VFX-driven“ ist Mara ja nicht, da steht eher die Story im Vordergrund. Aber meine Idealvorstellung ist, dass man ALLE Sequenzen die VFX-lastig sind, vorher als Rough Animatic anfertigt, so dass sich alle einig sind und die gleiche Sprache sprechen. Wir haben das bei Mara für die Character und Vulkan-Sequenzen gemacht, für uns wäre es natürlich toll – aber ich weiß, das ist Wunschdenken, – wenn man das so genau betreibt, bis alle Entscheider sagen, „Ja, so machen wir das!“, und zwar genau so. Man kann auf neue Ideen auch viel besser reagieren, wenn man auf einer stabilen Basis steht.

Shot_004_04 Shot_004_05Shot_004_06 Shot_004_07

INDAC: Und worauf bist Du bei Mara besonders stolz?

Bene: Stolz bin ich natürlich drauf, dass es alles geklappt hat wie von mir geplant und kalkuliert. Ich bin aber auch sehr stolz auf mein BigHugFX-Kernteam, die nicht allein während Mara, sondern auch gerade jetzt sehr gute Arbeit machen und mit dafür verantwortlich sind, dass wir jetzt da sind wo wir sind.

INDAC: Jetzt musst du mir verraten, wie du John Nugent an Bord geholt hast.

Bene: Ich habe ihn auf klassischem Weg im Internet kennengelernt, denn Tommy und ich wollten von Anfang an einen Supervisor mit internationaler Erfahrung, vor allem im Bereich Fantasy. Er war einer von denen, die auf meine Anfrage hin Interesse zeigten. Ich habe dann mehrmals mit ihm gechattet, geschrieben, telefoniert etc. und dann waren wir an dem Punkt, wo wir ihn einfach mal hergeflogen haben. Das war natürlich spannend und hat dem Projekt eine neue Dimension gegeben.

INDAC: Inwiefern eine andere Dimension?

Bene: Naja, John hat sozusagen alle namhaften Fantasy Filme in seiner Vita, das hat auch vielen Kritikern etwas den Wind aus den Segeln genommen, denn, dass man hierzulande bei einem Fantasyfilm mit knapp 800 VFX Shots auf Skepsis stößt, ob man das packt, ist klar. Und ich fand es für mich selber toll, weil John ein sehr netter und im besten Sinne normaler Mensch ist, mit dem es viel Freude macht, zu arbeiten. Wir sind super miteinander klar gekommen und haben uns da gegenseitig gepushed.

INDAC: An welchem „Know how“ fehlt es deiner Meinung nach bislang in Deutschland?

Bene: Im Punkto VFX auf jeden Fall an der Planung. Viele Sachen werden erst später klar und müssen dann dennoch gemacht werden, und das wird aus Budget-Angst ausgeblendet. Aber es hilft ja nix. Wenn ich mir anschaue, wie wir in unseren jetzigen Projekten arbeiten, also zum Beispiel „Creed“, da wird von Seiten der Produktion alles vorbereitet und man bekommt genau serviert, was zu tun ist – per Lineup sheet und framegenau! Das ist hier nicht immer so und oft sogar das Gegenteil. Dadurch, dass man VFX vorab ausblendet, geht es aber nicht weg oder wird billiger. Im Gegenteil. Und Tommy war von der Art der Set-Supervision völlig begeistert. Denn oft wird am Set ausschliesslich nur auf die technische Seite geachtet, was zweifelsohne sehr wichtig ist, und nicht so sehr auf die Story, was grade bei Mara für Tommy extrem wichtig war. Und John ist ein echter Filmemacher. Das ist schon ein großer Unterschied.

INDAC: Klingt, als wäre dies ein längerfristiges Projekt, um es in die Denkprozesse der Entscheider hierzulande zu bekommen. Wie seid ihr mit „Creed“ in Kontakt gekommen? Die Stimmung muss doch nach der Kinoauswertung von Mara im Keller gehangen haben?

Bene: Ist halt einfach ein Budget Problem, denn man will und muss sich mit den US-Produktionen messen, hat aber nicht die gleichen Mittel…schwierig.
Für die Macher war nach „Mara“ die Stimmung natürlich nicht so super und uns hat es leidgetan, dass es an der Kinokasse so untergegangen ist. Wir hätten uns natürlich auch sehr über einen größeren Erfolg gefreut. Vor allem sieht man ja an den Reaktionen, an den Kritiken und auch an den DVD-Verkäufen, was der Film für ein Potential hat. Tommy hat den Film letzten Sommer auf großen Fantasy- und Mittelalterevents gezeigt und die Leute haben Mara mit Standing Ovations gefeiert. Für uns als VFX Firma war es ein super Projekt und es hat uns viel gebracht. Zum Beispiel eben „Creed“. Das kam durch den guten Kontakt, den ich weiterhin mit John Nugent halte. Er ist nach seiner Rückkehr in die USA aktiv mit mir in Kontakt geblieben, denn er hat das große Potential von BigHug sehr deutlich gesehen. Außerdem haben wir eine sehr ähnliche Einstellung zur Arbeit und VFX. Wir haben also erst einmal zusammen an „Hot Pursuit“ mit Reese Witherspoon und Sophia Vergara gearbeitet und uns dadurch in dieser Form der „transatlantischen Zusammenarbeit“ eingegrooved. Zum Beispiel haben wir unsere Pipeline auf die amerikanischen Delivery-Bedürfnisse angepasst und die Kommunikationswege ausgiebig getestet. John hat gute Kontakte zu MGM, und als die ihn für Creed als Main VFX Supervisor angeheuert hatten, hat er mich gefragt ob wir mitmachen wollen. Wir haben die komplette Preproduction bei BHFX gemacht, während John am Set war. Danach haben wir eine große Anzahl der finalen Fight-Sequenz bei uns bearbeitet.


INDAC: Erneut eine beeindruckende Arbeit, die sich unsichtbar – und das ist das größte Kompliment, was man machen kann – in das Geschehen einfügt.

Bene: Ja, ist gut geworden, wir sind auch sehr stolz drauf. Und der Film ist auch toll. Nimmt einen wirklich mit rein ins Geschehen und mir als alten Rocky-Fan hat es natürlich große Freude bereitet, da meinen Beitrag zu leisten!

INDAC: In diesem Fall korrespondierte Leistung wunderbar auch mit Publikumsresonanz, wie fühlt sich das an?

Bene: Sehr schön, bei einem erfolgreichen Film dabei gewesen zu sein! Ist natürlich on top zu dem Job nochmal ein tolles Extra.

INDAC: Das Reel zeigt euer Können, nichts scheint unmöglich. Wie lange habt ihr daran gesessen, worauf seid Ihr bei „Creed“ besonders stolz?

Bene: Wir haben fünf Monate an Creed gearbeitet. Ich denke die Full CG shots sind die besten geworden, zB der Introshot, wo sie in das Stadion laufen. Der ist fast 1:30 min lang und hat alle Herausforderungen beinhaltet, die uns später noch ein paar Mal begegnet sind. Als wir den geknackt hatten, wußten wir: Es läuft. Der Shot war auch ansonsten der Wegweiser für alle anderen, an dem wurde sozusagen die Look Entwicklung betrieben. Besonders stolz bin ich auch hier mal wieder auf alle meine Artists, die dabei waren, wir haben die ganze Projektdauer ohne Überstunden und Wochenenden gestemmt, so dass auch hier die Stimmung im Team immer großartig war.

INDAC: Keine „crunchtime“?

Bene: Nope.

INDAC: Habe ich ja noch nie gehört, tolle Planung!

Bene: Danke, ja, freut mich selbst am meisten. Ich finds auch toll, wenn ich mir mein Privatleben erhalten kann. Das war bei Mara ja nicht anders, als wir pünktlich abgegeben hatten, gab es bei nur bei einem einzigen Shot von hunderten eine Reklamation und keiner war genervt oder ausgelaugt. Klar, am Ende gab es auch bei Creed ein paar Shots die immer und immer wieder mit neuen Anmerkungen, Ideen und Wünschen zurück kamen, aber die Artists waren sehr geduldig! Der Trainingskampf in der Mitte des Films ist übrigens komplett real umgesetzt. Einziger Fake hier ist die Augenwunde von Adonis nach dem einen Punch, aber das hat John mit seinem Team realisiert.

Shot_001_01 Shot_001_02 Shot_001_03 Shot_001_04 Shot_001_05 Shot_001_06Shot_001_07

INDAC: Wie bleibt man demütig bei einer solchen Produktion?

Bene: Ich bin eher nicht der Typ, der ausflippt oder größenwahnsinning wird. Ich bin einfach dankbar, dass das alles diese Züge angenommen hat, freu mich sehr über mein tolles Team und über die angenehme und professionelle Atmosphäre, die wir in der BigHug haben. Jeder fühlt sich hier zu Hause, wir vertrauen uns allen komplett und jeder zieht jederzeit mit und gibt alles. Wir sind alle sehr dankbar, dass wir so tolle Filme machen können und stolz auf unsere Leistungen. Uns ist klar, dass es in der VFX Branche auch anders laufen kann, das wissen alle, die damit zu tun haben. Deshalb schauen wir zu, dass sich das erhält was man hat und dass man in einem gesunden Tempo vorankommt. Dann steht uns ein toller und langer Weg bevor.

INDAC: What´s next?

Bene: Direkt nach Creed haben wir mit John schon „Barbershop 3“ abgearbeitet, eine Doppelfolge „Mordkommission Istanbul“ fertiggestellt und die VFX für ZDF Sketch History finalisiert. Und aktuell starten wir wieder mit John in die VFX für eine Produktion, über die wir noch nicht sprechen dürfen!

INDAC: Unglaublich! Herzlichen Glückwunsch!

Bene: Danke! Yeah!

INDAC: Warum eigentlich BigHug?

Bene: Das ist so beim Herumblödeln entstanden, anfangs ist ja jeder Name doof, aber auf einmal wird es eine Marke, siehe bumm film… Wir hatten auch keine Lust auf die üblichen, technisch angehauchten Posernamen. Ich finde etwas Humor bei sowas irgendwie sympathischer. Bierernst wird es alles noch früh genug.

INDAC: Vielen Dank für das Gespräch!


Und hier das aktuelle Showreel von BigHugFX:

„Gute Animationsprojekte entstehen aus Visionen und nicht aus Geschäftsmodellen“ – INDAC-Interview mit Studio Film Bilder-Leiter Thomas Meyer-Herrmann

Thomas Meyer-Herrmann ist der erfolgreiche Leiter des Studio Film Bilder in Stuttgart. Die Biographie des geborenen Kölners findet sich auf der Webseite seines Studios, auch die Erfolgstory des 1989 in Stuttgart gegründeten Trickfilmstudios läßt sich dort sehr schön nachvollziehen. Für INDAC nahm sich der vielbeschäftigte Produzent und Regisseur, der einer bestimmten Trickfilmfigur seines Studios verblüffend ähnlich sieht, die Zeit für ein Interview.
(TMH: Thomas Meyer-Herrmann – JW: Johannes Wolters) Read more

THE WALK – English Version of my Interview with Director Robert Zemeckis

Interview über THE WALK mit Regisseur Robert Zemeckis

by Johannes Wolters (c) 2015


Is it true, that you stumbled upon the story by reading a children´s book?

Robert Zemeckis: hmmmhmm yeah, that is true! It was a small illustrated book called „The man who walked between the towers“ and I had no memory, you know, when this happenend. I wasn´t aware of it. I guess, I was in filmschool, so I was not connected to what was going on in the world. And that is where I first heard about this. From this childrens book. And I read on the back of the book, that it really happenend. And I then started to research it and I was amazed by the story. Read more

INSIDE OUT – Regisseur Pete Docter und Produzent Jonas Rivera im Gespräch mit Johannes Wolters

Interview mit Regisseur Pete Docter und Produzent Jonas Rivera über ihren Film Alles steht Kopf – Inside Out

(c) Interview und Niederschrift Johannes Wolters – alle Rechte vorbehalten!

Read more

Indac Interview: Emilia Clark zu Terminator Genisys

Emilia Clark in Terminator Genisys © Paramount Pictures

Dies ist der letzte Teil der Terminator Genisys Interview-Reihe. Diesmal mit Emilia Clark, die die Rolle der Sarah Connor verkörpert. Dem breiten Publikum wird sie wahrscheinlich als Daenerys Targaryen aus Game of Thrones bekannt sein.

Read more

Indac Interview: Arnold Schwarzenegger discusses Terminator Genisys

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator Genisys © Paramount Pictures

Keine Rolle hat sein Bild in der Öffentlichkeit stärker geprägt als die des Terminators. Arnold Schwarzenegger im INDAC Interview über Terminator Genisys und über den Wandel der Trickeffekte der Terminator-Reihe. Read more


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