In 2018 the Swiss animation association GSFA (Groupement Suisse du Film d’Animation) has been around for 50 years. To celebrate this, over 50 Swiss artists from all generations – animators, directors, musicians, character designers etc. – took part in a project in groups of various sizes to create an omnibus film which reflects the wide spectrum of Swiss animation that is around today.
They had complete carte blanche for their contributions, there were no limitations in terms of style or content, and only rough recommendations for the length of their films. The filmmakers produced 15 short films that came from all regions of Switzerland. These are sometimes homogenous, but mostly they themselves are a patchwork of multiple directors and their individual styles. Additionally a 16th group was made to implement a frame-work: a story connecting, embedding and even leading up to some of the 15 other projects.
With segments clocking in between one and five minutes, they accumulated into a
40 Minute showcase. The result is a wild ride through the unknown, an eclectic mix
of visions: ranging from playful birthday celebration antics, over dynamic chases, or alternative interpretations of Swiss traditions, to the down-right wild and wacky!
50:50 was also a unique personal experience and I was able to view the project from a variety of angles: That of a participant as director and animator, but foremost that of a member of the core team, effectively conceptualising, organising and mentoring then overall and individual projects. I shared this position with five colleagues, working closely togehter, spending many hours and many pages of notes and drafts at our weekly skype meetings.
Working on two of the films gave a wonderful counterbalance. The whole idea behind BLACK ICICLES was born out of some wacky brainstorming with Franziska Meyer who led that group and in the end, I also could get my hand s dirty when I animated one brief moment of Pingu during his metal concert. My involvement in PETROL STATION was more holistic and together with its unique development process, it’s worth dedicating an article of its own.
After its premiere on October 11th during the Animatou Festival in Geneva, it has been screened on various occasions both in Switzerland and abroad, despite of its difficult format and unusual concept.