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Comments on "The ABC of ROFFEKE" Screenings (September 2015 at iHub)

I liked all the films especially the one for Superman [“This is Joe”] and the last one which was longer [“ Frontman ”]. I look forward to at...

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Interview: Kurt No.5 - directed by Aleksandr Kirienko

ROFFEKE: Why Kurt Vonnegut? Why not a Russian author?

Aleksandr: Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite American writers. I have used an extract of a text written by Vonnegut at the beginning of my song "Kurt №5". It is a fragment of his autobiography "Fates Worse Than Death". When I read this passage for the first time, i was very impressed by that. I was born on the bank of a big river too. Therefore it is very close to my world view. It was the main source of inspiration for my song. Suddenly I've got a puppet "Kurt Vonnegut". So I came up with idea to make an animated clip for this song with the puppet Kurt in the title role.

ROFFEKE: What animation techniques did you use?

Aleksandr: I used puppet animation, shooting on location and shooting with a chroma-key. Some of the objects are painted by Vonnegut himself: a stork, a live chicken and a fried chicken, a house, a cow, an air ball, a car and a little dragon. So I've borrowed them from some of his books. The first scene of the movie takes place in Vonnegut's room in New York. Now there is his museum.

ROFFEKE: What parts of the video were the most difficult to animate?

Aleksandr: It was difficult and interesting to shoot at the Baltic Sea in St. Petersburg. On that day there was a strong wind, almost a storm. It was necessary to shoot many shots with Kurt sitting at the seashore, looking at the sea and moving like a real human - turning his head for example. But the puppet was falling all the time because of the strong wind. Despite this, I'm glad that there was a storm that day: it helped us to make a very exciting scene with strong waves, rugged cliffs, gloomy fast clouds and a small plush Kurt - it's very cool.

ROFFEKE: Why a puppet instead of CGI or drawings?

Aleksandr: The puppet itself inspired me so much, that I definitely wanted to make it the main character and I've got no idea of shooting the clip somehow differently. At one film festival in the Russian city of Kirov there was a funny story. It was a festival of feature films. There was only one movie in the animation contest - my "Kurt №5". One of the members of the jury expressed doubt whether it was correct to take my cartoon to this festival. In response, another member of the jury said that the puppet in my cartoon was acting even better than many actors in the feature films. It was very funny, everybody was laughing.

ROFFEKE: In what ways does the music complement the film?

Aleksandr: The main role of my film was played by the puppet Kurt. But the minor role was played by the Water. My video has a lot of Water in its different shapes: the sea, the rivers, the lake, the harbor and even the puddle. I tried to express this feeling of Water in my music. Guitars, synthesizers, voice and even drums are kind of water. Listen the song: all the time it flows, drips, streams and leaks. All water on Earth makes the World Ocean. In my movie, the music and the video are merged into one big sensual Ocean.

Interview: Measure of a Man

Melvin: Hi. My name is Melvin. I was the lead actor in The Measure of a Man short film.
Danny: And my name is Danny Sketch. I was the director, DP, writer and editor of the short film The Measure of a Man.
Melvin: Mil had invited us to come and speak at the screening of this short film but unfortunately due to busy schedules we were not able to make it. So we thought we would do a short video and answer some of the questions she would have wanted us to answer if we attended.

How and why did you become a director?

Danny:

First of all, let me clarify that my main profession is being a DP and not a director. But in the case of shooting Measure of a Man, I knew how I wanted to shoot it and how actors were going to portray the characters. So I figured, since I know all this stuff, let me just direct the thing myself and get it done. As for how, I do not like being in front of the camera.
Melvin: I know.
Danny: I can't act to save my life (laughs). I decided to focus more on behind the camera and technical side of film-making. The artistry of acting and all that stuff, I see it from an outside perspective. I learn how to converse with actors, give them directions and stuff but that's as far as it goes. Most of the times, I'm behind the camera, shooting.

How and why did you get into acting?

Melvin:

Why? I like film. I've always liked film. I'd go to the cinema and I'd watch, I'd think "that's what I want to be doing with my life." I've always liked the idea of playing characters who are very different from me because in my personal life, I'm very reclusive, very boring, so the chance to play people who are very far from my character is really entertaining. And I just like performing and film.

How I got into it. I always had the interest. At first, I didn't know how to go about it. I went for a couple of auditions at Kenya National Theatre but because I guess I was shy and maybe not too confident, I didn't enjoy that process of auditioning. So I thought maybe it would be easier if I just start making my own content so that I can have the chance to try and fail and learn in a safe environment.

What challenges were encountered while shooting the film and did you have any special preparations leading up to filming?

Watch the rest of the interview here: