About the Film
An elderly woman living in an abandoned town finds a camera, which becomes a means for her to recreate her past life and remember a lost love.
Christina Manrique (Kiki) and I (Brendan Clogher) have been dating since freshman year of college. We both majored in animation at Loyola Marymount University and when it came time for me to make my undergraduate thesis, I saw this as an opportunity to work together in a production team. Our goal is to some day co-Director animated films together at our own studio, but for now we want to make shorts.
I came up with the initial broad idea, which was to have a 20 something girl wondering through a post apocalyptic wasteland taking pictures of places from her childhood. Looking back I must have wanted to get across some craving for the past, that growing up has left me with. I presented the idea to Kiki and she said it was good, which is unusual. So naturally I became very excited about the project.
We sat down and planned the thing out using drawings and one-line sentences describing what was going on. This acted as a kind of first draft script that later became the basis for our storyboards. During this process Kiki pointed out my idea was missing an emotional center the character was flat, also the setting and her age made no sense. How could someone so young have survived an end of days and now have the time to look back on it? So the setting became an old town and the character an elderly woman, who has in time, lost the people she loved. Kiki only wanted to have to animate one character, so placing her in a ghost town was a logical decision.
The medium of animation requires everything on screen to be made by hand. Thousands of drawings were made for our film, requiring many hours of intense work. This could have easily become a severely tedious activity but I was lucky to have collaborated with Kiki. Through the production we were able to keep each other on task, our lives were focused on finishing our film. Needless to say we did not get out much, we had to put friends and family on hold. She handled most of the animation and I dealt with layout drawings and backgrounds. Every shot had to be planned out in advance so we know what the film will look like scene by scene. To do this we build a storyboard using rough drawings and time it out in an animatic, which is essentially a blue print of the movie. To get the animatic to where we want it took several months, but by having our entire story figured out we were able to start animating with confidence.
It took a year and a half to make this film with the two of us animating, and some friends coloring and compositing. During that time I graduated, and began working at the WB as a storyboard revisionist. And Kiki had a summer internship at Sony Image works. We would work by day and return home at night to our film. I remember many hours spent in front of a computer, but the satisfaction of completing our film was worth it. And its seams to do relatively well for a student film, I mean we're here on KCET, which is fantastic, and we've had a good festival run too. I would love to make another film with Kiki someday soon. She is a very honest and understanding partner, but for now we are taking a break so we can have our lives back for a bit.
Brendan Clogher: I grew up in Lafayette, California east of the San Francisco Bay. My reasons for going into animation I feel are very common ones, I like drawing and I like movies. When I first viewed the Film "Spirited Away" as a freshman in high school I became obsessed, watching it every Saturday for 2 months and when summer began every day for 2 weeks. It had dawned on me then that I could draw and make movies at the same time. That's when I knew that I wanted to make animated films for the rest of my life.
Everything else fell into place after that, high school drawing classes, summer animation classes, finding a liberal arts college my parents would allow me to go too. My father didn't like the idea of art school so Loyola Marymount was a fair compromise. It offered the undergraduate degree in animation and a Jesuit education.
The summer before I left for college I began spending a lot of time with Christina, we took a summer animation class together and drank a lot of star bucks. I sold her on the idea of animation school. She had a year left in high school and was thinking about Journalism. A year later she is at LMU with me. Our friend ship is really a biography of my life to this point, we started dating in college and our reason for making "Photographs" was to work together. Our goal is to make movies so we tell stories and have the means to live a good life together.
Christina "Kiki" Manrique:
I decided to pursue animation in college after I was lucky enough to be granted a full academic scholarship to Loyola Marymount University in LA. Unlike most of my classmates, I had very little experience with animation, drawing, or film before coming to college, but I quickly realized how much I loved animation--and also how much hard work and dedication it was going to take. My parents (who both immigrated to the US many years ago) instilled in me a strong work ethic, and always emphasized that in order to succeed at something, sacrifices had to be made and priorities had to be set. Throughout college, I dedicated all my time to improving as an artist and learning from my peers and professors, as well as any individual whose skills I admired.
My family, more than anything, inspired me to become a storyteller. From a young age, both my parents (as well as my grandparents and numerous aunts and uncles) would tell me stories of their childhood. Whether true or "slightly exaggerated" for dramatic effect, to me they were real. They were experiences that I had never had in places I had never been, but they became very much alive for me through their stories. I decided that I wanted to become a storyteller as well, and as an animator, to become part of a team that creates characters and stories that people can relate to, empathize with, and care about.
I graduated in May, and shortly thereafter, I started working full time as a character animator on my first feature film at Rhythm & Hues Studios in El Segundo.