Weeds (Unkraut)

A little tale about a snail

The five-minute film UNKRAUT deals with the destruction of nature by man, seen through the eyes of a snail. The little animal lives on a little spot of weeds amidst grey paving stones. What seems wondrous and paradisiac to the snail is cause for road builders to repair a huge surface of concrete slabs. The road construction threatens the life of the snail.

 

The cartoon animation film fascinates with three-dimensional effects and a “slimy” character.

Customised Production

After several puppet animation films UNKRAUT was my first coloured cartoon film, made during the second semester at the Kassel College of Art. I developed the story, did the direction, animation and the camera shooting on an animation stand. The production took 1,5 years. The shooting of the 4500 hand-coloured cells took four weeks. Six sound tracks were mixed together with the music of Edgar Knecht.

 

For some scenes I used rotoscopy. I build a little set of a meadow made by white paper and bold black contours. I shot its rotation in stop motion and traced the shape of the grasses and flowers frame by frame onto animation paper.

 

I filmed the movements of real construction machines and a road builder on 16mm film stock. With reproducing the contours onto animation paper, roughly tracing them with black wax pencil on animation cells and colouring it with different grey acrylic paint, the scenery was given a cold and uncaring appearance.

 

In contrast to to this look I animated the snail by freehand and painted it and its surrounding with bold and bright colours to accentuate its peaceful and joyful world.

 

To get a three-dimensional effect I constructed movable multi-plane layers, like Disney, to achieve an image depth by unfocused elements. For some shots there were nine cranks to wind frame by frame to simulate a camera movement (see excerpt) or the depth of cloudy sky.

 

The shooting of the 4500 hand-coloured cells took four weeks.

 

Six sound tracks were mixed together with the music of Edgar Knecht.

Special Recommmendation

Certificate: “especially commendable”, German Film Quality Assessment Board (FBW), Germany

www.fbw-filmbewertung.com/film/unkraut

Suitable for ages 0+, Voluntary Self-Regulation Organization of the Film Industry (FSK)

 

Recommended for educational use.

Festivals and Awards

Gold Medaille, Union Internationale du Cinema non Professionel (UNICA) 1991, St. Gallen, Switzerland

www.unica-web.com

 

2nd audience prize, student film days 1991, Babelsberg, Germany

 

selected for the film role “Best of Ottawa 92”, International Animation Film Festival Ottawa, Canada

www.animationfestival.ca

 

Shown at the world environment conference 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

Best Animation Film, Film and Video Festival 1995, Badalona, Spain

 

selected for the film role “Animation Celebration” (Editor: Terry Thoren, L.A., USA)

Credits

idea, animation, camera and sound
THOMAS STELLMACH

 

music
EDGAR KNECHT
www.edgarknecht.com

colouring
ANDY HUBER
THOMAS LOOSE
DIANA MUELLER
MONIKA STELLMACH
GRANDMA STELLMACH

technical support
KAZIMIERZ BENDKOWSKI
NORBERT HOBRECHT
PETER LEMKEN
SIEGFRIED WOLF
H.P. WEINZIERL

 

consultant

PROFESSOR PAUL DRIESSEN

KASSEL COLLEGE OF ART

 

copyright 1990
THOMAS STELLMACH ANIMATION

Duration

5 minutes

Director

Thomas Stellmach

Production

Thomas Stellmach Animation, 1991

Technique

2D animation on cells, shot with an animation stand

Film format

mp4 1080p stereo, DCP 2K stereo

Film excerpt

Category
Short Film
Tags
weeds, Snail, nature, environment, stone, cartoon, short film