Monday, August 1, 2011

Animated Chat Interview: Carlos Saldanha

Friends always come back. Carlos is an old friend of the Anima Mundi festival. He has participated in the festival several times, as a spectator, an animator and a guest. His first short, Time For Love, was screened in the festival in 1994 and included in our first collection of “The Best of Anima Mundi” (which was still in the VHS format). In 1996 and 1997, Carlos presented seminars in computer graphics, already representing Blue Sky studios, from New York. In 2002, he was invited as a guest in the Animated Chat for the first time. He had just finished directing Ice Age with Chris Wedge. He then went on to direct the Oscar nominated short Gone Nutty (2003) and co-direct the feature film Robots (2005), taking the next step into directing feature films on his own, with two huge blockbusters: Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (2006) and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009).

Carlos Saldanha is the newest national hero, due to his feat of transforming his (our) city into the scenery and character of yet another huge international animation blockbuster: “RIO” (2011). He will share with us, like close friends do, the best secrets in the construction of this hit film.

1. What first spiked your interest in animation?
I’ve enjoyed drawing since I was a little kid. I used to create comics and stories, paint, make caricatures, and I also loved watching cartoons. But my curiosity towards animation only blossomed when I was about eighteen, as I watched shorts created through computer graphics, especially “Luxo Jr.”, by John Lasseter. I was fascinated by the mixture of technology and art. That’s when I decided to go for it.
2. What was the research process for the film “Rio” like?
Having been born in Rio, I already knew a lot about the city, but I still bought dozens of books and DVDs, and did a lot of filming and picture taking around the city, so that I could show it to my crew, which was almost entirely made up of gringos! But this was still not enough, so I had to come to Rio with a small creative crew, to get the “feel” of the city and experience it in the same way as the character Blu. Sharing my emotion of being in Rio with the crew was amazing. We even got to participate in the carnival parade in Sapucaí! It was my first time doing that and it was a wonderful experience!
3. Are you developing a new project?
At the moment, I’ve got lots of ideas under development, but nothing definitive. We’ve bought the rights for the book “Ferdinand”, and we’re writing the script. But all I really want right now is a break!!!

4. What animators and artists inspire you?
I’ve always loved Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. The Disney classics, from the golden days of animation, are also a source of inspiration. Bambi, Dumbo and Pinocchio are unforgettable.

5. Can you tell us a little bit about you relationship with Anima Mundi?
It’s always an enormous thrill and pleasure to participate in Anima Mundi! The festival is an incredible achievement, which I like to come to whenever I can! It has changed the lives of a great number of artists who dreamed of working with animation, like myself, and is still an inspiration to lots of new animators from all over Brazil!
Anima Mundi is just great!!!

No comments: