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Short of the Week: The Elephant’s Garden - Q&A with Felix Colgrave

Sunday 24 August 2014, by Lucile Bourliaud

This week’s film trippy offering is animator Felix Colgrave’s The Elephant’s Garden, brought to our attention by the Annecy Film Festival.

Colgrave has created a colourful, strange, vaguely nightmarish world in which we watch the food chain unfold in all its cruel glory to the tune of Alex Calhoun’s (aka RedM) soundtrack.

To be watched on a big screen for optimal hallucinatory effect,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlUR09yRHZU

This is a student film - did you have to respect specific rules? How much time did you have to complete it?

I made the film over the course of 6 months. We were meant to submit a script and storyboard and such at the end of the first 3 months, but I instead submitted a description of the general concept and atmosphere, and a statement saying I was going to make up the film as I went rather than plan everything out.Automatic word wrap
The majority of the creatures were made specifically for the film, however the design of the elephants themselves was something I’d arrived at about half a year earlier. I was going through some personal changes at the time, and so a lot of my old ideas and designs didn’t feel relevant to me anymore. I wanted to make a completely new world.

What inspired you to make the Elephant’s Garden?

At the time, I was looking back to the art that had inspired me the most as a child. Specifically the illustrations of Peter Pavey and Wayne Anderson, animated films such as Bruno Bozzetto’s Allegro Non Troppo, Harry Nilsson’s The Point, and traditional Balinese art.

Music plays a big part in the film, underlining its humour and oddness. When did it come into the creative process?

The music was made alongside the film. My unstructured way of working probably wasn’t that collaboration-friendly, but my brilliant and tireless composer Alex Calhoun was very patient with me. We corresponded almost daily, and as I told him new ideas I had for the film, he would send me constant snippets of relevant song ideas, and I would tell him which ones to develop and what I wanted changed. He made a lot of amazing music that never made it into the film, and so we released an extended soundtrack which can be purchased here:Automatic word wrap
http://redm.bandcamp.com/album/the-elephants-garden-original-soundtrack

Are you currently working on any projects?

Since the Elephant’s Garden I’ve worked on a handful of commercial projects, including a music video which I think will be released this September. I hope. In any case I’m really happy with it and anyone who enjoyed The Elephant’s Garden will probably enjoy this one as well. I’m also just starting work on a new personal film, but these are very early days.

Any message or comments?

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