From the creative production studio Carbon comes Repeater, the story of a world in which creatures speak in symbols and can transform those symbols into realities. The vibrant animated short is the title of this year’s film OFFF Dach creativity and design festival in Vienna.
With original orchestral music recorded live and sound design by Antfood, it’s a story of nonconformity and rejection that turns into a kaleidoscopic ceremony and the uplifting power of finding your place.
“We were extremely excited when OFFF approached us with such an open brief” Says Carbon Director Ian Bradley. “They said the brief was just the theme of the festival. “Misfits”. A word. Who doesn’t like a brief like this? So we did everything possible. We knew we had an incredible opportunity to go wild as much as the briefing allowed while telling a story people could relate to.
Repeater is the story of a world in which creatures speak in symbols and can turn those symbols into realities. A ruling class of Sayers forces Repeaters to speak only in squares, creating endless cubes with which the Sayers can build their towers. A Repeater, banished from his tower for creating a forbidden anomaly, wanders the wasteland and discovers a band of unsuitable rebels in the midst of a savage ceremonial ritual. By joining them, they discover the true potential of these forbidden forms to change their world.
In preparation, the team delved into research around the occult, the dark arts, mythology, nature, metamorphosis and transformation. “Sayers and Repeaters use shapes to communicate, so we opted for a Cyclops-style eye as the most prominent feature, with a shape-shifting bioluminescent iris,” explains Ian. “The power of the Sayers comes from control of forms and they rise through a self-adorned royal or ritualistic costume. Their towers were designed to be both a prison, a temple, and a conveyor belt assembly line. The space must have felt austere, dystopian and oppressive, without diagonals or curves. The walls censor the natural world and obstruct any outside views the repeaters might have, allowing only a glimpse of the sky behind the Sayers above.
“In contrast, we wanted each character in Misfit to bring a very different personality or obsession into the mix. Not forced to conform by the Sayers, the exterior of each Misfit was an opportunity to display their individuality and unique perspective. It brought wild design possibilities, drawn from the natural world. Unlike the towers, the Misfits are surrounded by stones in harmony with the sand and ever-changing flora. No permanent construction, just a stone cauldron and fanciful sculptures scattered throughout the stones. We’ve worked with an amazing group of designers, each pass of concept art has become more and more beautiful, balancing minimalist geometric shapes with rich, organic details. When we got to kaleidoscopic hallucinations, we were really able to let our imaginations run wild and play with different shapes and colors.
True to the spirit of the film, Carbon decided to use a new visual style that they had never seen before. The resulting illustrative hybrid of 2D and 3D is the result of collaboration between designers and CG artists. “We have developed techniques to render 3D characters in a slightly flattened, painterly manner, designed to match the handcrafted feel of 2D backgrounds and the beautiful appearance established by our designers.” adds Deputy Director and Head of CG, Frank Grecco.
“It has been extremely inspiring to hear all of the ways the film has connected with audiences so far.” said Ian. “Some identify with the stifling of their creativity, excluding social circles, while others have found parallels with their family’s reactions to their sexuality, and even current political and social divisions. I love that we’ve created something that touches people emotionally in this way.
Conjured and made by Carbon
Written and directed by Ian bradley
Music and sound design by Ant
Assistant Director / CG Head – Frank Grecco
Executive Producer – Phil Linturn
Executive Creative Director – Liam Chapple
Senior Producer – Krystle Timm
CG Supervisor – Dan Fine
VFX Supervisor – Tobey Lindback
FX Supervisor – Ryan Hussain
Artistic Direction and Design – Ian Bradley, Claudio Araos Marincovic, Felipe Fiori, Kim Dulaney, Lena Vargas, Katrina Zimmerman, Reece Parker, Megan Palero
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