1 – “Selection Process” uses a rich artistic proposal to explore a realistic yet cliche situation. ¿How did you choose the situation at hand? ¿Was it based on any real life situations? ¿Did the original idea transform a lot during the process of making the film?
The script for the short is based on a comic that I drew for a friend’s fanzine, Peter Jojaio, a few years ago. The only premise of the fanzine was that mice should appear. The story itself never happened in real life, but the question about silent film actors is actually a real question that was asked to a friend of mine during a job interview.
2 -The story owns its simplicity and makes it work like a charm. ¿Was the cyclical subtlety always planned? ¿What was the effect you hoped to achieve with this narrative tool? ¿Do you think a more complex storyline would achieve that same effect?
The idea was to generate cognitive dissonance in the viewer, for example by using very vivid and saturated colors and mixing them with ugly aesthetics and a strange and unpleasant environment. I especially like it when the viewer encounters two conflicting emotions and is forced to question or reformulate his beliefs.
In this short film there is only one shot and counter shot. As the cat grows more and more nervous, the camera gets closer and closer. On the other hand, the mice always stay at the same distance; far and safe. With that we wanted to reinforce the atmosphere of threat. In addition to that, for the mice shots, Juanfran Jacinto (workshop manager) devised and manufactured a room with forced perspective. This allowed us to show a room that seemed grotesquely elongated, therefore of course bigger and empty.
3 – The art direction is truly remarkable. How did you design the location where the whole scene takes place? Did the final result match your original idea?
The idea was for the cat to seem out of place and increasingly cornered, so the camera gets closer and closer to him until the final shot where a compensated traveling shot (or vertigo effect) ends up in a close-up of his face. On the other hand, the plane of the mice is always the same, slightly offset to make them more threatening. He wanted the atmosphere to be that of a run down office, a bit run down, and he wanted to communicate it through the details. For example placing a fan running next to the air conditioner covered in cobwebs, implying that it has been broken for a long time and nobody has bothered to fix it or seem to have intention. Also the clothes on the floor that have fallen off the rack, the trash can full of plastic cups on top, the vacuum cleaner that nobody has bothered to put away … etc. Another way that I came up with to generate concern was to leave the office door slightly open.Another example is the painting of the volcano in the background, which changes as the cat’s mood changes, until the final shot where it is an erupting volcano. It is a detail that goes unnoticed by many people but it makes me happy to know that it is there, to think that perhaps I managed to transmit information also at an unconscious level.
4 – The character design is probably one of the aspects that sticks in the viewer the most after watching the film. Tell us about the process of choosing the animals in each role and the journey in general of creating these colorful creations.
Well, on the one hand I had to tell a story with mice and I knew that they should be present, on the other hand I wanted to talk about a very harmful behavior pattern that I have a tendency to repeat and that I inherited from my mother. The main purpose of the story was cathartic, and it served its purpose. The idea of the interview I don’t remember how it came about, it would serve as an excuse. I know that at some point I decided to reverse the roles and that it was the mice who were intimidating for the cat, that contrary to the usual it was the cat who felt threatened by them.
As for the colors, I used the adjacent color scheme, to generate discordance. I wanted the cat to look very out of place. On the contrary, the look and feel the mice have, adapts to the environment around them. I loved the idea of getting this concept established through the use of color.
5 – ¿Why use stop-motion instead of other animation techniques? Tell us about the hardships and benefits of making a film with this method.
I do not know, the truth is that when choosing an animation technique I never question it, it has to be stop motion. For me it is the most magical of all techniques. It is witchcraft and I am totally fascinated by it.
6 – The explanation sequence is absolutely breathtaking and shows how much was dedicated to the project. ¿How did you plan the transitions and different ways to show the main characters emotions during it? ¿How long did it take to record?
The idea of making the cats monologue by using a multiplane table I think came from Daniel Amar, one of the animators involved in the project; he handled all that sequence. He is an absolutely brilliant artist. In the original comic the monologue scenes were drawn differently, so we decided it was important to establish a difference.
7 – ¿Should animation be seen as a media for family entertainment only? ¿What would you do to change the way animation is perceived by most adults?
Ideally, more filmmakers would be encouraged to use the technique, without linking it to any genre, and not to fall into the error of being slaves to what the technique allows us to do. If you have a contemplative script where the characters only talk to each other, for example, go ahead and choose stop motion. It is not necessary to resort to it only when you want to flaunt your virtuosity. Its a technique that can be used to tell absolutely any type of story.
8 -¿What’s next in your filmmaking career? ¿Would you continue working with this type of films, or would you rather try to work with a different experience?
At the moment I can’t imagine doing anything other than stop motion. Maybe in a few years I will want to experiment with other techniques but right now I am completely mesmerized by this one.