Oscars 2013: A close-up look at the animated short nominees


Image Credit: Lodge Films

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Adam and Dog

Before Adam met Eve, Adam met dog.

Adam and Dog director and writer Minku Lee told EW: “The idea itself came from a National Geographic article that I read about the origin of dogs and that kind of got me thinking about the story.” But this isn’t your typical animated film. The former Disney animator wanted to create something tranquil and peaceful – a striking departure from normal American animated film, which Lee describes as “manic and very plot-y and jokey.” Instead he looked to filmmakers like Andrei Tarkovsky and Terrence Malick for inspiration on how to sculpt time outside of plot and, what he calls, “the ticking time effect.”

Free of dialogue, and scored mostly by the ambient sounds of nature, Lee said he turned to nature photography to help design Eden. “I dabbled around with Eden being somewhere that looks like the Alps, or Madagascar, or Africa. But I decided in the end that Eden would be all those places, and that the emotional state of the dog would inform what Eden looks like around him. When the dog was feeling more natural in his environment, I used natural light, but made the more emotional moments – like when he first meets Adam – much more stylized,” Lee said, who hand drew all the frames directly onto a computer.

To create Adam and Eve, Lee found inspiration in the text of Genesis. “God took dust from the ground and crafted Adam out of it,” Lee explained. “In a lot of traditional paintings we see Adam as this beautiful Aryan porcelain figure but I really wanted him to feel like he just popped out of the ground. In the initial visual development stages, he was muddier and dirtier. He had sticks and leaves on him at all times, but we had to simplify that for time and budget reasons.” Eve, however, was described as being constructed out of Adam’s rib bone, so Lee gave her a milky, porcelain complexion to make her Adam’s complete opposite. “Eve is a pure innocent,” Lee added.

Lee is a fan of hand drawn animation, but feels that it’s been unnecessarily constrained. He said, “I’d like to push the medium to tell different types of stories rather than confining it to more family friendly, kid friendly storytelling.” The elegant Adam and Dog does just that.

-Lindsey Bahr

The full film is on youtube for the next few days only. Click here to see if it is still available.

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