Dusty winner (Outstanding Achievement in Production Design) Ivan Viaranchyk worked 18 hours a day for an entire year to make his thesis film, Night Shadows. What’s your excuse?
Night Shadows is by far the most demanding endeavor I’ve ever taken upon myself to complete. The entirety of the animation; Art Development; backgrounds; character designs; and the animation itself, fell on my shoulders. Some of the directing and all of the postproduction process; finding and instructing the composer, managing the timeline and editing scenes, was done by my partner, Bat-Ami Rivlin.
Throughout the year an average work day would be 18 hours. Work became something I resented, and the film became something that made me frustrated instead of happy. Although this might not be the most cheerful and optimistic account of animation creation, I do believe it is important to express that work, even work that you love, can break your spirit. Work that you love doesn’t always nourish you. It doesn’t always feel wonderful to be a part of and a lot of times it does the exact opposite. By the time I submitted the film I couldn’t be bothered to make one more drawing.
After the toll has been lifted, my film submitted, the deadlines over, I had the chance to finally see the view from the mountain I’ve climbed. I had a project I was proud of, production art I never thought I’d have the skills to create, and a story I would have never written if it wasn’t for this thesis. Suddenly I had a film. I had something to call my own, a project that I shared with a handful of people. I’ve made something whole and polished, something that speaks for itself. During the time I made this movie I’ve made more progress than I ever had. The experience I’ve gained is priceless, and my technique has never been more refined.
I have had the privilege of going through this last year, with all of its difficulties, and coming out with an uncompromised film I am truly proud of.
We are now in the process of applying to festivals, and although I am nervous, I am mostly excited to see what comes next. Having won the Dusty award for Production Design, we now have some leverage to work with as we push forward and test this film outside of the SVA professional circle.