$2,345
pledged of $9,500pledged of $9,500 goal
17
backers
28days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, January 13 2019 2:24 AM UTC +00:00.

$2,345
pledged of $9,500pledged of $9,500 goal
17
backers
28days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, January 13 2019 2:24 AM UTC +00:00.

About

 Gotterdammerung – Classically Animated in Cinemascope 

Gotterdammerung ~ Conception  

Gotterdammerung is a short film done to be completed as a classical stop motion animated production. Armatures are to be created and utilized on a miniature set, in front of a projected sky background, much in the style of Ray Harryhausen and in appreciation of his art and method. This film will be shot with an anamorphic lens from the 1950’s and may be the last Cinemascope film made. 

Along with investing my own money, I hope to use the funds raised here to take my stop motion animation to the next level of production, to preserve the art of animation on film and to promote interest and history of animation on film for future education. From your generous support, this film can help save an animated process, one of skill between animator, camera, models and film, before being lost to the march of technology.

The film will eventually be printed/transferred and submitted to various film festivals here and abroad. 

 The Story 

The story as such follows two tribes of skeletons and their struggle for dominance of the high ground. 

Skeleton Tribe ~ The “Low Land” Tribe – They are smarter but don’t have the perceived environmental advantages.   

Skeleton Tribe ~ The “Mountain” Tribe – They are more primitive, but occupy the high ground, which is a strategic advantage.  

This is a story about the haves and have-nots. The turning point occurs through divine intervention or circumstance, which enables Low Land tribe to make a tool, to make a weapon to slay the others. Aside from the behavioral/philosophical underpinnings, this film will incorporate animated action and visual splendor. 

Without narration or spoken words, the story is told through composition and angle, amounting to a visual equation.

The Animator – Theo Pingarelli Stefanski 

I studied animation and cinematography, graduating from Pratt Institute of Brooklyn New York. 

Before relocating to California, I worked as Animator and Lighting Cameraman, shooting table top commercials for John Gati Film Effects of New York. 

Theo with John Gati
Theo with John Gati

Since that time, I have worked professionally in the industry for over 25 years. As well as an animator, I have acted as both Director of Photography and Camera Operator on a wide variety productions such as commercials, documentaries, music videos, as well as feature movies and television productions. 

As someone who creates and edits my own films, I am mindful of how shots relate to each other in the finished product. I draw upon my art school background for the optimum in image composition and scene set up. 

The Animation Studio – Humble Beginnings and Donated Equipment 

Silent City Animation Studios started in Los Angeles, California, in a dark sub-basement with low ceilings and a dubious electrical supply. With the march of computerized animation and effects, the “ancient” artifacts of film cameras and associated equipment where saved from the dust bin and found a new home at the studio. Thanks to the vision of those associated with the craft such as Bill Hansard, equipment has been donated or is on loan for this project. The Cinemascope lens is also on long term loan. 

The studio has since been moved to an industrial space on the Central Coast of California. With your donations, the studio can undertake much needed repairs to its roof and ventilation system. 

In some months, it has been difficult to animate between the rain drops. 

 Why Film? – The Technical Challenge to Create Each Frame  

For this project 35mm film will be used because of its worldwide acceptance as a presentation format. Why spend days and weeks on an animation shot only to have it recorded onto a hard drive. In this scenario the camera original is essentially worthless. On film, one can print again as needed. Digitally, there are unknown future limitations to the quality of the format. Also, on film, you can do double exposure work in camera. With digital, this would be delegated to some unknown third party. 

The film camera to be used is a Mitchell Standard Camera, from the 1940’s, it was used by the Air Force. I animate at one frame per movement. A moving sky backdrop will be achieved by rear projection. The projector elements were donated by Bill Hansard. The projector utilizes a Bell & Howell 2709 camera movement, to transport pin registered rolls of pre-filmed sky shots. Sometimes filters will be placed in front of the projector to give color effects. My exposure calculations include the camera exposure of one second, the line voltage of 120 volts AC, and the film speed which is 200 ASA. This usually comes out to T8 or T11, as the light reading on set is dictated by sky background brightness. This film is intended to be finished photochemically without DI in Cinemascope format. 

However, with film, as such, the expense of purchasing and development of the medium requires a significant monetary commitment. Well worth the investment, part of your donation will be used towards the purchasing of film and its processing. 

 Budget breakdown  

Your funds will go towards: 

Creative studio space – upkeep, repairs and upgrades to the studio space, including lighting elements and bulb replacements as needed  

Film and processing – film purchasing and processing at Fotokem in Burbank, California 

Model making supplies – paint, resin, metal, mold making supplies

Set making supplies – paint, wood, resin and plaster

Armatures – creation of armatures and components, done by an outside machinist

Post production – editing and soundtrack 

Promotion and Marketing – Film festival submission fees, release materials and advertisement

 How You Can Help  

This project, along with subsequent animated shorts in development, is a lifetime’s work. If you have a desire to see the technique of stop motion model animation on film continue and be kept alive, please donate. If you cannot contribute with money, you can help by spreading the word about this project and its campaign through social media. 

Risks and challenges

Main risk: I am in a race against time regarding film, processing and printing.

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    A 8 by 10 printed still from the movie, autographed by the animator, with your name “in appreciation”, framed

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    General Mandible

    A skeleton model, built and painted by the animator, mounted on wood, and associate producer credit at the end of the film

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