What inspired you to make Garden Party ?
We are all animal enthusiasts in general. And we chose to base the film on a film Gabriel made a few years ago, a story about two toads who chase a fly in a stream. We wanted the film to be light-hearted. At the same time, we wanted to add something original and offbeat to the scenario, something out of the ordinary, so we had the idea for the crime scene. That led us to a decor and an atmosphere that we liked.
How did you work on the animation and create the aquatic and light effects in the film?
For the animation, we did lots of observation to analyze the movements and facial mimics of amphibians. We scoured the Internet in search of the best references possible. We even brought vivariums into our house to observe and film frogs on a daily basis. It’s a bit as if we lived with our characters. We wanted an extremely lifelike animation, with the flexibility that animation offers to exaggerate the personalities. The female frog was a difficult one to approach for the animation as well as the design. To make her a bit sexy and graceful, we had to cheat a little bit to reinforce our intentions.
All the water animation (sprinklers, swimming pool, etc.) were simulated in 3D, and required lots of time calculating. Simulations are always difficult to manage, between the desired effect and the result obtained. It took quite a bit of patience.
We tried to achieve the natural and realistic aspect of documentary films. We tried several tricks to enhance the images (chromatic aberration, dust particles, smudging of the lenses, film grain, etc…). All of that greatly contributed to the film’s aesthetic quality.
How did you share the work among six heads and twelve hands?
We were a fairly homogeneous team, where everyone could contribute to each stage of the project. We were at ease during busy periods when we needed the manpower to focus on one aspect of the film (storyboard, modelling, animation, etc.). The rest of the time, we split the tasks up in accordance with the schedule and our priorities, putting each person’s skills to the best use.
We were lucky to have the whole group involved in the creation of the scenario, making it possible to bounce ideas off of each other. That helped a lot.
Are you interested in documentary films? Why did you choose frogs and toads to be the guests at your Garden Party?
We really like the vision that animals have, which is simpler and more direct than our own. And toads fit quite well with that primitive aspect. Because they are rigid and binary, that makes them naturally more comical. The idea to create a contrast between the lightness of an amphibian’s life and a murder scene was very appealing to us. That allowed us to pace the film between lightness and tension.
So, which films make you laugh the most?
We don’t all have the same tastes, but in general, we like unusual or somewhat gratuitous humor, like the kind you can find in viral videos on the Internet or in web series. It’s a good source of inspiration for us. In cinema, we can cite the Coen brothers (Burn After Reading, Fargo), films by Tarantino, all those mixtures of violence and second-degree humor.
If you’ve already been to Clermont-Ferrand, could you share with us an anecdote from the festival? If not, what are your expectations for this year?
We are aware of the festival’s reputation. We expect some wonderful encounters and high-quality short films. We are very proud to have been selected. We are also delighted to visit the city, which looks magnificent.
Are any other screenings of Garden Party scheduled?
It will be shown at the Court Mais Bon Festival in Puy-en-Velay on 11 February 2017, and at the festival of fantasy cinema in Porto, Fantasporto, next March.