What can hold their society together when a new leader divides them?

TRAILER

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

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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 them seem almost life like while still maintaining a handmade look and feel.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

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!

POSTER

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

CREDITS

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:

Ryan James

Yalin Özer

Keegan Luttrell

Gregory Norton

Patty Mulloy

Estrella Bonilla

Ljubina Krnjajic

Marco Wedel

Henning Koch

Set Assistants:

Hamed Mehravaran

Filippo Spreafico

Keegan Luttrell

Thanks to

Birgit and Peter

Frank Nagel

The Post Republic GmbH

Michael Reuter

Petra Kader-Göbel

Alexis Jang

Martin Stebbing

Jilianne Schröder

Patrica Trenkle

Maria Swiderski

Nikolai Stefansky

Filmbauarbeiter GmbH & Co KG

Delight Rental Services GmbH

Twopair Films