Saturday, April 30, 2011

Get Environmental - "The Incident At Tower 37"

In just 10 minutes, the CG-animated short film (in HD) "The Incident at Tower 37" merges beautiful, evoking visuals with a crucial message about water conservation and saving the environment.

The movie was released in 22 March 2011, in conjunction with World Water Day and has won many awards in various film festivals.

"The Incident at Tower 37" starts with a special ops by a race of small, amphibious creatures against a man-built water station called Tower 37.

The purpose to their dangerous tactical maneuver? To release their main mode of survival - Water - which had being slowly siphoned off by the tower from their lake.

Inside the giant tower, a lone human steward does his comfortable but monotonous job manning the water station. He happens to meet the fish-like insurgents for the first time, and his ignorance turns into sudden realization of Tower 37's impact on its surrounding environment.

Lest one judges this as yet another emotional message from a "greenie", Red Dot Diva says "The Incident at Tower 37" is more than just that. The film also manages to tell an engrossing story. One that can help to open discussions about the important issue about Earth's water resources. Plus, the CG animation is just gorgeous, and the music more than serves its purpose in both poignant and suspenseful moments.

To see what she means, view the animated film here:

The man behind "The Incident at Tower 37" is Chris Perry from Bit Films. Chris has formerly worked at Pixar for a number of years.

Red Dot Diva just had to find out what lurked behind the brains who wrote and directed this piece of animation art.

Red Dot Diva: How and when did you decide to start Bit Films? Was there a special "aha" moment when the idea happened?

Chris: I taught a collaborative animation class in the fall of 2002 that produced a short film. When it came to releasing the film, I wanted to somehow identify it as emerging from this unique arrangement we've got going at Hampshire College, but not just say "produced at Hampshire College." That didn't seem to keep the emphasis balanced between academia and the industry, where I felt we were trying to exist. So Bit Films was born!

Red Dot Diva: How did you first get interested in the art of digital animation?

Chris: I was always a computer and a film nut. I got into computer graphics and animation early, mostly because I had been into video games as a kid (Atari 800, Apple ][+). I picked up classes and instruction here and there, but mostly tried to do it on my own. It was a hobby. But then something amazing happened. I was in college when I took a tour of ILM during the production of Jurassic Park. It was the first time I saw a career path that might work for me, given that I knew of no other way to make a living by combining my love of things like physics, computers, and film. That was a big AHA moment for me.

Red Dot Diva: What did you have to do/ sacrifice to get where you are now?

Chris: Plenty. But perhaps the most challenging choice I faced thus far in my career was when I left the Bay Area and moved to Massachusetts. The love of my life wanted to move to MA and I wanted to follow her. This was on the heels of finishing "A Bug's Life" at Pixar. I made the move, and soon after I had relocated, I was offered an opportunity to take on a pretty big leadership role in an upcoming Pixar film. It was an exciting promotion, but I opted to stay where my heart wanted to be instead. It was the right choice for a number of reasons, a big one being that the new opportunities in MA afforded me the chance to do more writing and directing. Which led to "Displacement", "Catch" and "Tower 37". All films I would have never been involved with had I taken the Pixar offer.

Red Dot Diva: Which films did you work on when you were at Pixar, and which movie did you enjoy working most in?

Chris: I worked on "A Bug's Life", "Finding Nemo", and "Monsters Inc". My IMDB credits will differ on that answer because of particularities in how credits are officially awarded. Anyway, I think ABL was my favorite production experience at Pixar. I was able to work in so many different capacities on that show with outstanding managers who really taught me a lot, it was my first show at the studio and a terrific one to be a part of.

Red Dot Diva: How did the idea of "Tower 37" come about?

Chris: In a dream. I woke up with an image of two suited figures crossing a desert towards a glass ball full of water. I drew it out, and slept on it for a few years before I realized what they were doing: going to get it back!

Red Dot Diva: Where did you draw your visual inspirations for "Tower 37" from?

Chris: Ultimately I left the visual development up to the concept artists who worked on the film. I tried to steer them towards what I was thinking when I had strong opinions, but mostly I let them translate their understanding of the story into a visual form. I remember referencing the film Three Kings many times for the look and feel of the desert in the opening sequence, but that is one of many things we discussed in our meetings.

Red Dot Diva: What specialized machines and software packages did you use for "Tower 37"?

Chris: We have a Mac lab for interactive work, and a linux cluster for rendering. We used Maya, RenderMan, and Shake with some forays into After Effects.

Red Dot Diva: What do you hope viewers of this animation film will take away with them?

Chris: The idea that if we keep abusing the natural world we better watch our backs, as our actions may very well come back and get us.

Red Dot Diva: Do you have a favourite film or a movie that you find particularly unforgettable, which relates to saving the environment? And why?

Chris: "Princess Mononoke". It tells such a chilling tale of humanity pillaging the natural world. But the humans doing the damage are written with great care so that they're not just one-dimensional villains. And the characters of the natural world are as richly textured and complex.

Red Dot Diva: What do you specifically look out for when accepting applicants for your internship program?

Chris: First and foremost, does the applicant fit our immediate needs? Sometimes we see great candidates for positions that we just aren't offering at the time. If there is a good skill/interest match, then we examine how the applicant's goals align with what we can offer. It's important to me that our interns get as much out of their involvement on a show as the shows get from them.

Red Dot Diva: Are you already working on a next animation project. Can you give us some teasers what this will be?

Chris: Bit Films has two shorts in active production. One is Caldera, the other is Tube. Info about each can be found here:

I'm also developing a longer film, but it's far too early to say anything about that!

Red Dot Diva splashes a watery Red Dot on this lovely short animated film that reminds humanity to take action before it is too late.

She urges that one help to spread word about "The Incident At Tower 37" to one's family, students and friends. Share the film on one's social networks. Ask for "The Incident At Tower 37" to be screened at events in order to bring more awareness about saving the environment.

Gaia. Mother Earth. Blue Planet.
There is only One.


Follow Chris Perry on Twitter, and learn more about BitFilms at their official website.

No comments:

Post a Comment