What can hold their society together when a new leader divides them?
ABOUT THE FILM
In a forgotten village, where everyone is cut from the same cloth, a new, self-proclaimed leader arrives changing the local way of life. Dividing lines are carved out as the once unified society is torn and segregated.
THEM is a cautionary tale of misguided ideologies, destructive leadership and of being an outsider. But most importantly, it is a film about celebrating what we have in common rather than what separates us.
THE MAKING OF
THEM is an independent short film produced in Berlin, Germany. Combining digital and analogue techniques, a unique look was created for the the world in which the film is set. Rich in detail, the landscapes, houses and props were crafted by our very talented model makers allowing most of the background plates to be captured in camera. The characters were added in postproduction, combining motion capture and animation, making the characters seem almost life-like but still maintaining a handmade look and feel.
While the world of the film is entirely fabricated and deliberately artificial, the inspiration for the story was very much grounded in the the real and the present. From problematic leaders to the culture wars, from racism raising its ugly head and becoming mainstream again to the exploitation of natural resources, it can sometimes seem as though our world is becoming more divided than ever.
I wanted to tell a simple tale in a complicated way so that it could resonate with any culture and be understood by a child. The actual beliefs and values of the leader who takes over the village are irrelevant, and merely symbolic of ideologies in general.
After a few months of testing with some basic miniatures and rotoscoped silhouettes for characters, I teamed up with Mika Ceron (Director of Photography) and Mathias Schwerbrook (Producer) and the project slowly gained momentum. The miniatures that I had previously built were remade into bigger and better versions (Berton Pierce, Claudia Brugnaletti, Alex Friedrich), and we went on to shot for 5 days in a small studio. Here we shot a large portion of the background plates of the village and the landscape, capturing as much in camera as possible, before going into the first round of editing.
Only after the shoot and some more research did I decide to create the characters in 3D using motion capture. I had no previous experience with character animation or motion capture so the learning curve was steep. Using a system designed for VR, we captured all the motions in one day with actor Ryan James, before going into an intense round of postproduction. After finishing some scenes, I built some extra models and did another 6 days of reshooting on my own in my apartment.
As the film started to approach picture lock, Thomas Moked Blum began composing the score with a combination of world instruments and electronic sounds. Although there is no real language spoken in the film it was clear early on that adding spoken word would the characters come to life. I had several recording sessions with friends who would improvise or read bits of made up sentances that I had written after listening to various tribes and foreign languages. Foley artist Carsten Richter created all of the sounds to bring the world to life and everything was fine tuned and mixed by Frank Kruse.
The process of making this film was a long one and I invested a lot of time and energy into many of the details, but in the end it would not have been possible without all of the support that I received from everyone who helped to make this film a reality, it takes a village. Thanks to all of you!
FESTIVALS AND AWARDS
31st GALWAY FILM FLEADH (Official Selection, Galway, Ireland)JULY 9, 2019
1st VISIONI FANTASTICHE (Official Selection, Ravenna, Italy)OCTOBER 21, 2019
DUBLIN INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM AND MUSIC FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Dublin, Ireland)OCTOBER 4, 2019 *BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM*
7th INDIE CORK (Official Selection, Cork, Ireland)OCTOBER 6, 2019
5th WEIRD FILM FEST (Official Selection, San Francisco, CA, USA)OCTOBER 22, 2019
6th GOA SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Kothrud Pune, India)NOVEMBER 7, 2019 *BEST ANIMATION*
1st HOLLYWOOD BLOOD HORROR FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Los Angeles, USA)NOVEMBER 9, 2019
FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DE CINE DE AUTOR (Official Selection, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico)NOVEMBER 13, 2019
9th IRISH FILM FESTIVAL LONDON (Official Selection, London, UK)NOVEMBER 20, 2019
5th RED CARPET HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Gaza, Palestine)NOVEMBER 21, 2019
2nd AMITY SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Istanbul, Turkey)DECEMBER 13, 2019 *BEST MUSIC & SOUND*
4th BELGAUM INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Belgaum, India)DECEMBER 21, 2019
ALWAR INT’L FILM FESTIVAL 2020 (Official Selection, Alwar, India)JANUARY 4, 2020
30th BAMBERGER KURZFILMTAGE (Official Selection, Bamberg, Germany)JANUARY 27, 2020
2nd LE PRINCE INT’L FILM FESTIVAL 2019 (Official Selection, Caracas, Venezuela)JANUARY 28, 2020
46th INTERNATIONAL FILM WEEKEND WÜRZBURG (Official Selection, Würzburg, Germany)JANUARY 30, 2020
3rd ANIMOTION FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Florence, Italy)FEBRUARY 1, 2020 *BEST SHORT FILM*
6th FESTIVAL CINEMATOGRÁFICO DE MÉRIDA (Official Selection, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico)FEBRUARY 6, 2020
11th BERLIN LIFT-OFF FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Berlin, Germany)FEBRUARY 17, 2020
29th MUESTRA INTERNACIONAL DE CINE DE PALENCIA (Official Selection, Palencia, Spain)FEBRUARY 29, 2020
19th VANNES EUROPEAN FILMS MEETING (Official Selection, Vannes, France)MARCH 4, 2020
13th IRISH FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Moscow, Russia)MARCH 11, 2020
4th FESCISA – SAN ANTONIO INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador)MARCH 21, 2020
13th IRISH FILM FESTA (Official Selection, Rome, Italy)MARCH 27, 2020
8th SPEECHLESS FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Mankato, Minnesota, USA)MARCH 27, 2020
4th VISIONÄR FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Berlin, Germay)APRIL 1, 2020
PALEOCHORA LOST WORLD SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Crete, Greece)MAY 30, 2020
11th SKEPTO INT’L FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Cagliari, Italy)APRIL 1, 2020 *BEST EUROPEAN INDEPENDENT EXPERIMENTAL FILM*
15th ÉCU – THE EUROPEAN INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Paris, France)APRIL 24, 2020
7th FIRENZE FILMVCORTI FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Firenze, Tuscany, Italy)MAY 5, 2020
25th CARTOONS ON THE BAY (Official Selection, Venice, Italy)JUNE 2, 2020
3rd ZEITIMPULS (Official Selection, Wien, Austria)JUNE 22, 2020
5th LIFF – LEBANESE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Beirut, Lebanon)JUNE 22, 2020
14th SORSICORTI SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Palermo, PA, Italy)JUNE 11, 2020
17th FEAR NO FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)JUNE 25, 2020
7th DIVERSIONS INT’L SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Sveti Ivan Zelina, Croatia)JULY 2, 2020
24th BIFAN – BUCHEON INT’L FANTASTIC FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Bucheon City, Korea)JULY 9, 2020
2nd GIFF – GEELONG INT’L FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Geelong, Victoria, Australia)JULY 17, 2020
16th FEST – NEW DIRECTORS / NEW FILMS (Official Selection, Espinho, Portugal)AUGUST 2, 2020
11th WE LIKE ‘EM SHORT – ANIMATION AND COMEDY FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Baker City, Oregon, USA)AUGUST 6, 2020
17th NEIßE FILMFESTIVAL (Official Selection, Großhennersdorf, Germany)SEPTEMBER 24, 2020
8th FESTIVAL OF NATIONS (Official Selection, Weyregg, Austria)SEPTEMBER 24, 2020
4th AARETALER KURZFILMTAGE (Official Selection, Münsingen, Berne, Switzerland)NOVEMBER 13, 2020
Written, Directed and Animated by Robin Lochmann
Director of Photography: Mika Ceron
Music: Thomas Moked Blum
Produced by Robin Lochmann, Mathias Schwerbrook
Motion Capture Performer: Ryan James
Miniatures: Berton Pierce, Claudia Brugnaletti, Alex Friedrich
Sound Design and Mixing: Frank Kruse
Voice Recording: Ryan James
Foley: Carsten Richter
Mixing Assistant: Maxim Romasevich
Editing and Postproduction: Robin Lochmann
Postproduction Assistant: Laura Adel
Grading: Federico De Luca
Fluid Simulation: Alex Mackay
Associate Producer: Julia Radke
Voice and Vocal Performers:
Birgit and Peter
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