It’s a stark reality of life that very few of us make it from cradle to grave without enduring a few scars along the way – be they of the physical or emotional kind. And while these personal cataclysms may lay waste to our carefree lives, typically it is our reactions to these setbacks, rather than the events themselves, which determine our future happiness. Taking on directorial duties with filmmaker Emiliano Sette, Raúl Koler’s adaptation of his original short story Anacronte uses striking 3D animation to personify humanity’s struggle against the forces of misfortune. Premiering on DN today, we asked Sette to explain how the pair’s “fantastic synergy” paid creative dividends which extend far beyond the creation of Anacronte.
How did the two of you decide to work together as co-directors for this project? Was there a distinct separation of responsibilities?
A common friend pushed the first piece of the domino and introduced us, Raúl had this idea and I had the fortune to know him and be part of this. We worked together on each part of the process with a fantastic synergy, which was a path of big personal and professional growth.
Anacronte began life as a short story from Raúl, did transforming that written narrative into an animated film alter what was originally on the page?
For us, Anacronte represents those events that transform our lives forever. All of us received many arrows during our lives and the unique difference is what we do with that. Some people can pull out the arrow and continue with their lives with the scars, meanwhile, others live carrying the heavy arrow forever.
The challenge was finding the art and the correct technique for telling this story.
I believe in the potential of teamwork and the creative process with many voices, this always alters and offers some new paths. But Anacronte arrived with a very clear concept, the challenge was finding the art and the correct technique for telling this story. We worked with Nelson Luty for the art direction and little by little we found the look of the two universes, the real world and the oneiric one in which Anacronte and his arrows appear.
Did production limitations or technical challenges have any impact on how you decided to realise this story?
It was difficult to find the Anacronte´s character, we had the premise that his look couldn’t be similar to anything in the real world and finally, we landed at a version by Nelson with a unique structure where Anacronte deforms his own body into a bow and arrow with a skin of acrylic paint. That was definitely a big technical challenge of the modeling and animation phase.
Could you walk us through the animation process you followed?
We began the creative process by developing Raúl’s original idea and building the firsts steps in the script with Sabrina Pace. We worked on all the creative processes in Argentina at our studios mr. bug and Celeste. We worked on the script, character design, environments and storyboard and then we travelled to Guadalajara, Mexico for the start of animation with our friends at Exodo animation studios.
I believe in the potential of teamwork and the creative process with many voices.
Working on the storyboard we saw some problems that we could see being a little catastrophe in the future phases. In the film, big crowds walk on an infinity plain and we needed to be smart to make this possible. Each frame had to show what was necessary while hiding the elements that would make the final render too difficult. As you can see in the conceptual art, all our images proposed big environments to tell a story that conceptualised humanity’s scars. We had to find a way to tell that with creative frames and in some cases huge efforts of technique.
Daniel Tarrab and Andres Goldstein worked on the original score and Mercedes Rivas on the sound design. They have a gorgeous studio and make a fantastic and professional team. We found them to be a great creative support because we needed to give materiality to the intangible world with questions such as, “What’s the sound of that event in your life which means that nothing returns to how it was before?”
This brave adventure took 2 years of production and has been a gorgeous learning process for us, both personally and professionally.
Has this collaboration inspired you to work on any new projects together?
The beautiful reception that Anacronte had as a short film – winning awards at 80 festivals and receiving 260 selections worldwide – inspired us to start the journey towards a feature film. We’re currently looking for the universe of the story. Meanwhile, we continue working in some animation and live-action projects for TV.