Animation 30 Oct 2006 09:12 am

More Fierlinger

- Since visiting with Paul & Sandra Fierlinger last Thursday, I’ve been obsessed with their films. I can’t stop thinking about them.

Almost immediately upon meeting him, I was given a DVD copy of the most recent work he’d done on his feature, My Dog Tulip.

(Click any image to enlarge.)
I had planned to look at it immediately on my return, but I held off a bit. It was like getting a gift you wanted and were slow on opening the package. The thrill comes, really, only once. So it took until Friday night before I put it into the player.

The film starts out as most Fierlinger films do, placing you right into the story. His introductions to the characters is always so painless. There they are, find out what you can.

Tulip is a German Shepherd belonging to an elderly British man, living alone.

In some ways, it seems to be the doppelganger for the voice on Paul’s other dog film, Still Life With Animated Dogs. That voice was, of course, Paul’s in what was one of his autobiographical films.

In Tulip, the narrator is voiced by Christopher Plummer. Paul was upset at the way these recording sessions went, but I find the voice extraordinarily beautiful – it just pulls you into the film with a vulnerability and an intimacy that would have been hard to get with most actors.

Sandra Fierlinger is painting some very atmospheric background paintings. They’re taking the style to new extremes in a very very finished and lush style. They’ve always used muted coloring to good effect; here there’s a rich look which goes beyond the wash/watercolors used in the past. (The buses above look almost as though they’ve been painte with acrylics.)

There’s no doubt that this is going to be a masterwork.

I was interested in how the Bauhaus/Mirage system has affected the animation Paul is doing.

After watching the clips from My Dog Tulip several times, I went back to Still Life With Animated Dogs. That film was done on cel and photographed.

There seems to be more of a looseness and more sophisticated coloring done on the paperless system. I’m sure this is a choice they’ve made in exploiting the system.
Paul gave me bits of pencil test and animatic on Tulip, and the look of that PT is definitely digital – as I think all line tests done digitally are, but it loses that feel when it’s painted and cleaned up. I’ve been convinced that I have to try the software again.

Paul’s the best salesman for the product – not through the high praise he gives the software, but through his films. I’m taken.

(In NY, Still Life With Animated Dogs will air at 3AM on Nov. 30th on WNET. Go to the ITVS link to find out about your area’s screenings.)

2 Responses to “More Fierlinger”

  1. on 30 Oct 2006 at 1:58 pm 1.David N said …

    I’m looking forward to seeing this feature film, “My Dog Tulip” .

    Some of Paul’s pencil tests are posted on the Mirage User Gallery :

  2. on 30 Oct 2006 at 6:26 pm 2.Alisa said …

    I didn’t know about this project! Fierlinger’s work in “Still Life with Animated Dogs” and “A Room Nearby” was so powerful and painful in the telling of personal stories.

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