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Juan Pablo Zaramella Sheds Light on “Luminaris”: Interview

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Argentinian director, Juan Pablo Zaramella, is no stranger to directing animated shorts, with ten years experience and over 100 awards under his belt. Luminaris, his most ambitious project to date, premiered in February 2011 and has shone brightly on the animation circuit ever since, including making the 2011 Oscar short-list for Best Animated Short Film.

In Luminaris, the main character lives in a world controlled and timed by light. Every day as the sun rises, he is awoken from his bed and drawn to his place of work at an electric bulb factory. As the sun sets, he falls away again back to his house. Growing tired of living in a world ruled by the sunlight, he concocts a plan to change his destiny.

Using pixilation and combining animation with sunlight, shadows and timelapse, this is Zaramella’s most ambitious production to date. A real labour of love, the project took over two years to produce, with unpredictable weather conditions being the main culprit!

Here’s the trailer:


Recently, Skwigly got the chance to interview Zaramella about the project, plus find out what he’s working on next…

Director, Juan Pablo Zaramella

Luminaris is a pixilation film and many of your previous films are clay stop motion films, was there a reason you decided to create Luminaris in this way?

I love to try new things in each film, not only technically but also creatively. In this case, I wanted to make a film in which the technique was directly linked with the story and the mood of the short.

What inspired you to create a world controlled by light and how easy was it to film the outdoor scenes as the sun was rising/setting?

I was inspired by some tests that I made with sunlight. I made those tests quite easily, so I thought that it would be easy to make the story I wanted to tell. But it was much more complicated than I thought – it took a whole month to get the first shot right!

Behind the scenes of Luminais

How did you find working with actors as opposed to working with puppets? How much control did you have over the casts actions?

In some aspects it’s quite difficult: an actor speaks, so if he’s upset you will hear about it! Jokes aside, my actors were great and really understood what the film needed. A big advantage of having actors is getting their talent added into the animation.  Frequently they suggest better expressions than the ones that I thought originally.

As well as stop motion and pixilation you created Lapsus in 2D. This film takes full advantage of its 2D setting to get the most out of the film. Do the story ideas come to you before the techniques are decided, or do you decide to work in a particular technique before having the story ideas?

In the case of Lapsus the idea came first, and then I decided to work in 2D because I realized that it was the best way to express the concept. But it depends on the film. Luminaris, as I told you before, was exactly the contrary: the technique suggested the story.

Behind the scenes of Luminais

You have clearly mastered the techniques you work with, do you have a favourite that you prefer to work in?

I love stop motion, because it’s the technique I know best. But my first love is the idea, I don’t mind if I have to change the technique afterwards. I may work on CGI one day if I have a good idea for that.

What are you working on at the moment and what is the technique this time?

I’m working on a TV series. The idea is a combination of stop motion and live action. At the moment I’m writing it. It will last 1 minute per episode, and I’m planning to make 26. I hope to start shooting it soon!

Here’s a behind the screens video:

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