Willy Hartland Interview

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Animator Willy Hartland's stunning film New York City Sketchbook blew audiences away at this year's festival and went on to win the coveted Film of the Festival award and Best Animation.

Willy took time out from his current project to chat to OXIFF about the film and animation.

What was the process of making the film and how long did it take?

Making New York City Sketchbook was a labor of love that took 3 years to execute.

The process was unconventional by traditional animation standards because I worked without a script or a storyboard. Instead I let my sketches of New Yorkers in public spaces inspire the  scenes in the film, and allowed myself to think freely and follow my own creative instincts. For this reason the film has a visually driven narrative structure that is free flowing and dreamlike.

To achieve the 3D effect I used the application Cinema 4D, which allowed me to build the 3D linear world of the film.

What inspired the stories within the film?

My sketchbooks inspired many of the scenes in the film, as well as my own life experiences and personal observations of living in New York City.

How do you see the future of hand drawn animation?

Hand drawn animation is a technique that will Iive on because there will always be an audience for drawings that move. The same reason why people go to art museums to look at paintings and drawings. The public will always have a fascination and appreciation for good drawing and draftsmanship. 

Computers are not a threat to hand drawn animation but rather another tool for the animator. However they are a double edge sword. They make hand drawn animation easier to execute, but they also encourage the animator to cut corners. This can result in films that lack vision and the human element, if the animator is not careful at the outset.

Are you working on anything at the moment?

Yes I have recently begun a new animated short that is also set in New York City. This one will be in color!

What advice would you give to anyone looking to make an animated film?

Have a great idea that is original. Don't make something derivative. Make sure it is well crafted, with great design, timing and sound. Keep it under 6 minutes.

For more info about Willy and New York City Sketchbook visit www.willyhartland.com