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Interview with Nadine Buss, Cinematographer on Oscar® Nominated Stop Motion Short Film "Negative Space"

“These are my guidelines for lighting,” Nadine Buss, the cinematographer of the Oscar®-nominated short film Negative Space, tells Stop Motion Geek, “feel, re-explore sensations,” she says, only to then lightheartedly add, “and remember the lights you saw.” Feel. If Buss’s creative fingerprint on Negative Space could be described in just one word, it would be just that.
A beautiful and heart wrenching story, Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter’s Negative Space – a stop motion short film based on a poem of the same title by Ron Koertge – is, in many ways, one story presented as two: One half of the narrative is of a young man – Sam – as he packs a suitcase for travel before then driving to the funeral home where his late father’s viewing is being held. It’s a narrative colored by Buss in the hard, icy light of winter, which contrasts sharply with the sunny, warm light in which the second story is painted – that of the relationship between Sam and his father throughout Sam’s childhood, told thro…

Interview with Marika Aakala, Model Maker on Aardman's "Early Man"

“As a child, I was always making something or drawing something,” Marika Aakala, Finland born and bred model maker on Aardman Animation’s recent stop motion feature film, Nick Park’s Early Man, tells Stop Motion Geek. “I drew my own comics,” Aakala continues, “sculpted things with clay, sewed my own toys, and later built a dollhouse with furniture and dolls while I actually should have been studying for my high school exams.” Yet, despite her inherent knack for making things, Aakala’s journey to the puppet making industry was an indirect one, and the title she now claims – “model maker” – was a destination that took her many years of working in many other industries to discern.

“I have lived most of my life in Finland where I was born in a relatively small village called Hollola. There are no practicing artists in my family, and pursuing an art-related career just did not seem sensible. Certainly, I did not think that I would be good enough to work in the animation industry,” says Aa…

Interview with Sylvain Derosne, Lead Animator on Oscar® Nominated Stop Motion Short Film, "Negative Space"

If there’s one steadfast truth about the medium of animation as a whole and about the inspired act of animating, it is that the probability for novelty is infinite, the possibilities boundless.

In animation – unlike in the medium of live action film – the laws of physics don’t apply – or at least they don’t have to. The potential for strange new worlds to be conceived of and explored has no ceiling, nor does the expressiveness with which characters walk, talk, and emote. So whenever an animated film – particularly a stop motion film – of artistic excellence is released like Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter’s Oscar-nominated short film Negative Space – which is a film that explores a father-and-son relationship and the burden of grief through a lens that is, more often than not, grounded in a reality not unlike ours – it should imbue us, the audience, with the ardor to observe, and the attentiveness to ask the question that is immediately provoked in the back of our minds: Why?

In regards …

Interview with Frank Harper, Model Maker on Aardman's "Early Man"

From a young age, Frank Harper – a model maker on Aardman’s latest stop motion feature film, Early Man – was fascinated with practical effects-driven films like Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and Dark Crystal, as well as the work of the legendary special effects artist Ray Harryhausen. Harper, however, doubted that work in the practical effects industry could prove a sustainable career. “So for ages I just went through the motions,” Harper tells Stop Motion Geek. “I left school, got a rubbish job (in a factory that made glasses!) and thought that that was my lot in life, sadly.” It wasn’t until this chapter in his life had gone on for several years that he came to the realization that he wanted to craft a career for himself doing something that he was truly passionate about.


This burning desire to search for a career he was passionate about led Harper to enroll at the City of Bristol College in an Access to Higher Education course. It was during this time that Harper realized that what he was…