Ships Of Years Past is a short stop-motion animation film about a sea captain and his final voyage. This is a film about old age that looks like youth and about death that does not end your voyage.
The film is a result of many peoples’ work each with a different art profession and each of whom brings his own artistic vision and talent to the process.
Our shooting crew is international. There are director of photography from Germany, set designer from Ukraine, American composer and Russian director. We are making this movie together and we just wanted to mention that even though we’re concerned with political situation between our countries caused by last events in Ukraine and Crimea, our animation is absolutely apolitical and made by good friends from all over the world.
We started preparatory work in the spring of 2012 and have worked for a year and a half without any financial backing.In autumn 2013 we were awarded a grant, which was sufficient to rent a studio with equipment, and pay a small salary for five key members of the team for a small part of the filming period. Volunteers, art-schools students and our film's friends do large portion of work for which we did not get any financing.
We still need funding for:
- Sets, decoration materials, costumes and props
- 6 months of production
- Music production
- Sea expedition
- Public release and festival submissions
- The salaries of the set designer and the director of photography do not cover the entirety of the film-making period; in May we will run out of money to pay them, yet the film-making will not be over until October. Without them the filming can not continue.
- The Grant money can only go towards the film-making – it is presumed that the film’s distribution is the author’s business. This is perhaps one of the reasons why new and interesting Russian films hardly reach large audiences. By crowd-funding, we hope the film will have a better chance to be seen - with your help we will be able to release DVDs, posters, postcards, etc.
- One of our main actors is the sea, and solutions for working in that environment are one of the key issues of the film. Working with water in animation is a difficult task, and there are many ways people have done it - with cellophane, tinfoil, mirror surfaces, glycerin, silk stretched on rollers, projection, chroma-key and many others. These methods have their pros and cons, but what our film needs is the real sea – watery, salty, with spray carried by the wind. Our trip from Moscow to the Black Sea is to take place in September, but we must begin preparations immediately. The larger portion of the money that we are raising will be spent on this trip. The whole team must travel, together with equipment, puppets and decorations, weighing nearly one ton.
- Another portion of the the money will go towards taxes and for the services of kickstarter.com.
When calculating the budget for the film we were considering the most essential items and only minimal expenses. The actual minimum that we need to raise is USD $21,000, but since our project is international in nature, we've decided to split the required sum into two parts, whereby one half is to be raised in Russia (http://planeta.ru/campaigns/4932/) and the other half here.
We plan to submit our animation widely to film festivals, both animation-specific and general interest. We also plan to make the film viewable online and free, once it's finished with its festival run.
We've tried to come up with a variety of rewards that we ourselves would enjoy receiving, or would love to present to our nearest and dearest. Please peruse the list – there are gifts such as postcards and of course DVDs with the film and its soundtrack.
Moreover, there are things that may interest even the most discerning of animation lovers and collectors, such as props, sketches and even some of the puppets used in the film.
A drop falls into a puddle and rings radiate on the surface. They vanish before than we can count them. One would see similar rings if we were to cut down a withered tree, only here the years are frozen in time, not seconds. We can delight in its beauty, but a dendrologist, casting a glance, would learn a lot about this tree’s life – somehow all the rains that watered it, all the birds that nested in it, all the bugs that gnawed it – all leave a mark on this tree’s ring pattern. Humans fall somewhere in between this drop of water and the tree’s rings - what will we leave behind besides a few bones in the ground and a meager pile of out-of-fashion belongings?
If case of an animator, may it be his films? His days turn into movie frames. Some days there can be fifty frames, some days seventy and some, if you are lucky, a hundred. This is three or maybe five seconds of screen time. In an unintended blink of an eye, a viewer may miss an entire days of work.
Life has its own pace, some things disappear from memory, even more flash by without registering, but all this time spent making a film somehow ends up inside it… in the film, in its entirety. So just like that, a year and a half passes, all is done and all this time is lived... and it is 13 minutes in duration.
There is a hypothesis that if we take an antique vessel, attach a sound recorder to it and rotate it at the speed of a pottery wheel, we should hear voices of ancient potters and ambient sounds of their workshops. The touch of the potter's fingers was so gentle that the slightest sounds and vibrations reverberating through his body may have been recorded in the clay.
Something similar happens to an animator. Somehow all the handshakes, hugs, doors opened and closed, pages flipped, words and music heard, are reflected onto the film. This minutia cannot be seen, yet it is there.
But what of our captain? What shall be left behind of him? Or the ships he captained? Together they voyaged far and wide, but no tracks are left on the sea. And now, that no one sails the ships, they can be placed in a row on a shelf.
One day our captain will likewise take his place on the shelf, because he is a puppet from an animation film, and such puppets rarely get a second chance to play another role.
Risks and challenges
A film is always an inherent risk. Of course, there is a risk that the film won't come out the way it was supposed to be, or that someone won't like it. That being said, we can promise you the following - we will put all our love and efforts into this work and will do our absolute best to make it come out as we want to see it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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