Negative Space | Oscar Nominated Stop-Motion Animation | Short of the Week
Negative Space is an Oscar-nominated short film animation that depicts a father-and-son relationship through the art of packing a suitcase.
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A Film by Tiny Inventions (Ru Kuwahata & Max Porter)
“Right at the outset, let me lay my cards on the table—this is a nearly perfect short. I qualify that statement with the “nearly”, only because I do not believe that art is a competition towards a platonic ideal. Though our site has taken on the challenge of serving as an arbitrator in questions of artistic and entertainment value, I still tend towards relativism in these matters. Taste is personal, and besides, perfection is often incompatible with innovation and risk-taking. Some of my favorite short films are decidedly imperfect and all the more enjoyable to me because of it.
But back to the point—Negative Space is practically perfect. Like so many shorts I admire, the film incorporates multitudes of seemingly contradictory qualities: at a mere 5 minutes, there is really no wasted space, and yet it is exceedingly spare. Based off a celebrated Ron Koertge poem that clocks in at only 150 words, it allows for moments of subtlety and contemplation that are so necessary in visual storytelling—those perfectly blocked shots, held for an extra moment, that drive home the rich emotional interiority of its characters. It’s simultaneously one of the most humanistic films of recent memory, but it also stars no humans. Its stop-motion animation is expressive, detailed and grounded, and yet it has no compunction about taking off on flights of fancy, segueing via delightful transitions into fantastical asides that play with scale and setting.
And, most remarkably, none of these elements are simply stylistic choices, excuses for technical bravado, or kludgy compromises to the process of adaptation. They are all deep reflections of the film’s core themes, representing and enriching them. Adapting work from another medium is rare for shorts, but rarer still, in any medium, is an adaptation that exceeds the original. Negative Space fills in the subtext of Koertge’s poem, but doesn’t bludgeon it, and the insights and personal experiences the film’s creators bring to the source material prove additive rather than incongruent, elevating the work.” – S/W Curator, Jason Sondhi
Director / Writer: Max Porter & Ru Kuwahata
Production: Nidia Santiago & Edwina Liard
Co-production: Jean-Louis Padis
Original poem: Ron Koertge
Set Decoration: Ru Kuwahata, Marion Lacourt, Victoria Tanto, Max Porter
Puppets: Ru Kuwahata, Satoru Yoshida, Tomas Gebcyznski, Max Porter
Animation lead: Sylvain Derosne
Additional animation: Eric Montchaud, Ru Kuwahata
Cinematography lead: Nadine Buss
Additional cinematography: Simon Gesrel, Max Porter
Production / Post-production management: Nidia Santiago & Edwina Liard
Production Assistants: Philippe Baranzini, Walid Païenda, Fred Borja, Lucile Pellerin, Maxime Lebalanc, Juluien Renrad, Willy Fair
Post-Production: Max Porter, Sami Guellai, Pierre Morin, Ru Kuwahata
Editing: Max Porter
Music & Sound Design:Bram Meindersma **posée et enregistrée avec le soutien de la SACEM en association avec Ciclic
Voice Recording: Keviln Hill, CAS
Color Grade:Thibaut Pétillon
Sound Mix: Matthieu Langlet
Voice recording facility: Studio Unknown
Decoration: Ciclic Animation
Puppets: Moving Puppets
Animation: Ikki Inc., Manuel Cam Studio, Tiny Inventions
Post production: Ciclic Animation, Ikki Inc.
Color correction: Royal Post
Sound mix: Eclair
Insurance: Gras Savoye
Accountant: Lebrun Audiovisual
Distribution: Miyu Distribution
Publicist: Fumi Kitahara
Avec la participation du Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée – Contribution Financière
Avec la participation d’Arte France – Unité de Programmes Cinéma
Avec le soutien de la Mairie de Paris en partenariat avec le CNC
Avec le soutien du CNC (Nouvelles Technologies en Production)
Avec le soutien de la Procirep et de l’Angoa
Puffin Foundation Ltd.
Marcella Brenner Grants for Faculty Research Development from Maryland Institute College of Art
La Maison des scénaristes
Negative Space has been supported in production by Ciclic-Région Centre Val de Loire, in association with the CNC. It has benefited of the support for original music creation by the SACEM in association with Ciclic. It has been hosted in Vendôme (France) from June 2nd to September 2nd, 2016, and from December 1st to January 31st, 2017. Ciclic is a public institution for cultural cooperation created by the Centre-Val de Loire Region and the French State. www.ciclic.fr.
© Ikki Films / MANUEL CAM Studio / Ikki Inc.
This film is reproduced on this channel with the permission of the rights-holders.