VIFF 2017 Interview: MANIVALD director Chintis Lundgren
By Jason Whyte
Posted 10/04/17 11:40:10
"MANIVALD is about a gay fox in his early thirties who still lives at home with his mother. One day, a young hot wolf comes to fix their washing machine, and things get out of control." Director Chrintis Lundgren on MANIVALD which screens at the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival.
Is this your first VIFF experience and will you be in Vancouver to attend your screenings?
This is the first time one of my films has screened at VIFF, and I will not be attending the festival in person.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your background, and how you got into the whole filmmaking business.
I never intended to become an animator; it all happened quite accidentally, thanks to a creative crisis I was experiencing. All my life I wanted to become a painter, and that's what I did for about seven years, until suddenly all my new paintings seemed to only evoke an urge to smash them against the wall. I decided to take a break from painting, and during that time I played around with animation, just for my own amusement. But during those experiments, I realized that I really enjoy animating, and that also many people around me liked my silly films. I decided to temporarily switch careers. It has been nine years now, and I don't think I will ever go back to painting. Although who knows; maybe I will have another creative crisis, and who knows what happens then.
While you are working on a movie, what keeps you going? What drives you, creatively? How much coffee are we talking about here?
About three cups of very foamy latte, sometimes four. It used to be six cups, but that made my hands shake so much that I couldn't effectively animate. Another thing that keeps me going is my addiction to computer games. I try to limit myself to only playing for a few months after finishing a film, so if I become slow and unmotivated, I just think about how close I am to that cozy feeling of slaying dragons and collecting digital herbs, and that usually works.
Great, now I want another coffee. What was your biggest challenge with MANIVALD?
The biggest challenge was finalizing the script, and I never overcame it. We made last-minute changes even less than a week before finishing the film. It was quite stressful, since animating is very time-consuming and every change in the script adds from days to weeks of work, unless it's about removing something altogether.
If you had to pick a single favourite moment out of the entire production, what would it be?
My favourite moment always is drawing that last frame.
For the aspiring filmmakers who read our site, I would love to know about the technical side of the film!
Manivald was drawn on standard A5 copy paper with Faber-Castell 6B pencils, then shot with a photo-camera. Colouring and editing were done digitally.
I usually start by making an animatic, using the pictures from the storyboard. I start animating from the very beginning and process through the film linearly. I have tried animating in a different order, but usually it shows, because for some reason the characters tend to slowly change in design throughout the production, so it can happen that two consecutive shots of the same character look different.
Making animation is quite lonely compared to working on live-action; I spend most of my time during the production alone in a dark room, bent over a light table. The only film-related interactions I have are discussing the script with my co-writer and script consultants. I send them the updated animatic regularly and then we have Skype meetings, which usually end with me having to redraw something.
Where is MANIVALD going from here?
Manivald will screen next at the Milano Film Festival in Italy. After its festival run is over in about a year and a half, we will put the film online. Before that, it will be shown on a few TV channels as well. My preferred way of distribution is to just upload online and let people watch it for free. However, this will depend on the distribution plan for this film. Selling short animated films is not a very profitable business, but having your work out there for free can bring in some other paid work.
Movie theaters are the best place to see a movie, but sometimes they can be distracting! What would you say or do to someone who is talking, texting or being overall disruptive during a screening of your film?
I would just think that my film must be very boring. Whether I would say something or not would depend on how many shots of vodka I had before the screening.
There are many aspiring filmmakers reading us for our articles and reviews for inspiration. If you could offer a nugget of advice to them on how to get their start, what would you say to them?
Just do it. If you don't have money, find some friends who can help you in return for some home-made pancakes. Don't spend too much time; if the film doesn't come out perfect, it doesn't matter, you'll make another one soon, and at least you learned something. Also, put as much stuff as you can online, that way you can grow your fan base and maybe even find some work.
And finally, what is the best movie you have ever seen at a film festival, and why?
My best film festival experience was at the most recent edition of the Turku Animated Film Festival in Finland. It's quite a small festival, and all the visiting filmmakers stay in a tiny villa near the sea. There's a Finnish sauna every morning and evening, and the festival opening party happened in it too. The highlight of the evening was 22 naked foreigners from all over the world in a sauna so small that it would normally fit maybe six people. When I opened the door to go in, I saw something that resembled a Japanese train at rush hour. I thought no one else could fit in there, but several people still managed to squeeze themselves in. Afterwards, there was semi-naked karaoke in front of the sauna and a tasting of many different kinds of alcohol from the participants' countries. I made so many new friends.
This is one of the many films screening at the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival taking place in beautiful Vancouver from September 28th to October 13th. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to www.viff.org.
Jason Whyte, efilmcritic.com
Twitter: @jasonwhyte / Facebook: jasonwhyte / Instagram: jason.whyte