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Interview with “Murderer Alias X” Director Antonio Veiras

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Amongst a great range of last year’s brilliant short films was the weird and utterly charming Murderer Alias X (Monsieur l’assassin X) by directorial duo Antonio Veiras and Lynn Devillaz. The film follows a small, lonely girl as she befriends the local serial killer. Plagued by her unpleasant mother and the local hipster children, she finds solace in the company of the naked, porcine-featured killer who is terrorising her home town. A dark tale of friendship found in the most unlikely of places, this stop-motion film creates a unique world with brilliant character designs which lend themselves perfectly to this macabre form of story telling. Skwigly were able to catch up with co-director Antonio Veiras and discuss the circumstances which led to this modern-day Grimm’s fairy tale.

With a background in comic books and illustration, what made you make the jump into animation?

When I finished my course in illustration I wanted to do an internship (training course) to work in a professional environment. I’ve loved animation for a long time so I was attracted to the job. I had seen several Claude Barras movies and I knew that he was in Geneva, so with a bit of courage and I went to ask him if he was willing to take me on as an intern. He loved my drawings and I started two months later. From there I worked in the team on several movies until I got the opportunity to make one myself. 

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How did you meet your co-director Lynn Devillaz?

We met at Helium Studio, I believe that it was our Producer Claude Barras’s idea , which we really liked, so worked with it.

At the center of the story is a lonely little girl, was the premise a personal one to either of you or simply a concept you thought most people could relate to?

We already had the characters for Murderer Alias X whom I had invented for different project. So then we had to develop the scenario and the characters’ purpose within it. The idea of very caricature-designed characters came to us spontaneously.

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The storyline for the film is a little twisted, yet somehow charming. How far did you feel you could push the narrative?

We would have been able to push it even farther, but we wanted it to remain somewhat approachable to a younger audience. As for me, I don’t think it’s enough compared with the rest of my work.

I noticed you were also the voice of Quentin, why did you decide to do his voice?

We were going to use real teenagers, but we found out it was difficult for them to have a sense of humour about themselves. I have a nasally voice and am really still kind of a teenager (laughs). I don’t know if I did it well but in any case, I loved doing it!

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The characters themselves have a very intriguing style to them, where did the character design come from?

Me and Lynn discussed it a lot, then when we had fully agreed with the characteristics of the characters, I created drawings, then we eventually modeled them. We were a team of three – Lynn, Claude Barras and myself, but for clothes the needlewoman (Christel Grandchamp) made brilliant work, she went as far as knitting teeth! It was fascinating to see.

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The aesthetics of the movie pleased me a lot, I think it’s the most beautiful thing in this movie.

What are you working on now/next?

Since we finished Murderer Alias X, I have stopped working at Helium so I could dedicate myself to my comics strip and illustration under the name of Buster Yanez. At the same time I opened a studio and I’m also currently working for a music label and on an series of underground comic strips, which I have co-founded with a friend Willy Tenia. Recently we made the poster for the animation festival Animatou in Geneva. I’d like to return to animated films one day, it would be great!

To learn more about the works of Helium Films visit heliumfilms.ch

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100 Animated Shorts Greats - "The Family Dog" - from Brad Bird, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, pure gem in comedy! t.co/gb9JSKxqTg
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