Ian – 5 Questions for Film Director Abel Goldfarb

Image from the animation short film 'Ian'.

Winner of the Best Animation Award at the 2018 L.A. Shorts Fest

1. How did you decide on the design and animation style for this project?

We tried to work so each one of the elements on the scene adds up to the general concept of inclusion and integration to which we were aiming for. From the most structural level to the smallest detail. During that, we decided to explore an unusual mix of technique: the combination between sets of Stop Motion and CGI, this union of different universes and labor forces allowed us to enrich from both fields. The CGI characters allowed us to play with the main concept of the little pieces that we are made of. The idea is that many small things are the ones making us who we are, and those things such as values and decisions also give us the possibility to change, redefine, grow and modify ourselves. Seeing this repeated in each one of the characters, even if they look different or come from different backgrounds, works as a factor that shows that we are unified on a more essential level. The things that unite us are much more significant than what divide us. In essence we are all made the same way. The physically constructed Stop Motion sets allowed us to create a lot of details with elements from different universes that mix together a new form, new shape and a new meaning for it: screws becomes benches, guitar strings, lanterns, disposables trays, hills, among many others. 

2. What’s the most important aspect of directing an animation film? 

The most important aspect of directing an animation film is the concept. The concept is vital in having a very strong and developed unity throughout the production. Being someone that is so used to doing Live Action, I must say the hardest part to assimilate the first time that I was in an animated production, editing the final cut before it has even gone into production and also the need to think, design, model and shading every single part of everything that is going to be on screen. But once you get used to that exercise, you end up loving it because it gives you absolute control, allowing you to achieve a level of coherence (if you have a strong concept) that in other ways are impossible to reach.

3. Why did you feel this story needed to be told?

Ian is a very powerful and inspirational story which has the potential to influence society in a positive way.  Ian is more important than any of us as individuals. We had the possibility to make a small contribution to a bigger cause. So we had to honor that opportunity with everything we could and more. Everything make sense when you realize that it is for a bigger and meaningful cause.

4. What/who has been your biggest inspirations?

With a doubt, the biggest source of inspiration for this project were Ian and Sheila, his mother. They were a huge motivational force for the team during the entire project. Every time things got difficult (the budget wasn’t enough to cover the needs), connecting with both Sheila and Ian was vital in remembering the essence of the project.

5. What do more filmmakers need to be focusing on in today’s climate?

I would say that as a storyteller, it`s vital to be looking for stories that are meaningful to society. The film is much more powerful when you approach themes that enrich the audience, opening an interesting discussion between them.

Related: 5 Questions  | Interviews with Up-And-Coming Directors of Acclaimed Short Films