Jaśmina Przypis, Joanna Śmierzchalska: You decided to create the world of your last movie, „Faded Finery”, using traditional animation technique, which is drowning on paper and watercolour. Why did you chose such demanding technique?
Mathias de Panafieu: For many reasons. First of all, I just like it. I always drawn on paper, I like to feel the paper, unlike with sitting for hours in front of computer. Anyhow, during making the animation I had to work a lot with computer, but the part of drawing I memorise very well. If you decide to spend many months animating, at least, if you can, chose the way which you enjoy. I really appreciate this kind of graphic, which gives the effect of “vibrating lines”. Tiny details of animation on paper create the movement in complete movie. Every single drowning is in move.
This effect gives also watercolour?
Yes, but also the fact, that in classical animation every movement is slightly different from the other one. On the computer, depending on the technique, but generally you get the effect of very static picture. In my movie this little details of every single drawing makes the picture living.
You made „Faded Finery” together with Sonia Gerbeaud. How did you divide the work?
We didn’t spilt the work into two parts. We did all of it together. We’ve been writing the story, making the story, making the animation, everything together. The only thing we divided into two of us, was creating singular characters – Sonia animated the girl, and I most of the coyotes and other animals, to make sure, that the forms will not change too much.
You were making your film during a long travel. Was your journey an inspiration for the film? Or had any significant influence on the idea?
Yes, definitely. We started make a movie during the traveling in New Zeland. Spirit of our travel, every anecdote, every experience, made our movie like it is, everything it gets some special feeling to „Faded Finery”, we wanted to mix all the feelings collected while traveling. Now we’re walking on the new movie, and we also started to write it in the journey. We liked it, and we wanted to do it again.
Can you tell about this feelings while travelling, cause „Faded Finery” there is a lot about injustice. What impression from the journey is connected with this?
When you’re travelling a lot, you can see cultural differences, you’re treated not always well, you can feel very strongly like a stranger. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand somebody’s behaviours, to change the perspective. One of the things I like while travelling is put you into looking things differently, try to understand what you see from the other perspective. For example, Sonia and I are mostly hitchhiking and sleeping outside, travelling this way you have to always adapt. You’re nonstop thinking, observing, listening, and trying to understand, but things just exist, and you can explore them.
That’s why the girl in your movie is changing the skin?
Yes, it’s one of the meanings. Another one, is about cultural differences. To put somebody’s skin makes easier process of understanding. We’re not the same, and we’ll never be, but we can find the way to interact, and form a relationship.
You started to talk about your new film “Radio-pilot”, can you tell more about it?
It’s going to be drown on paper, it’s going to be s long work. It’s different story, but we want to talk again about making choices, like choosing your way of living. It’s about being responsible of making choices, which can really change it. Except subject, film is going to be completely different. It’s a portrait of lonely man who lives in destroyed city. In this movie, we’re kind of witnesses of how we can manage some kind of normal life in not normal place.
How far the project has progressed?
Just before I came to Ale Kino! I finished animation story, so it was like two days before coming here, to Poznań. Now I’ve got holidays, but after return to France I’ll look at my film from distance, and maybe make some changes. It’s long animation, so whole movie will be complete on one year and half, maybe more.
„Faded Finery” took 12 000 drownings to complete. Do you remember it as a hard work, or fun, or both?
Both, for sure. It was really hard work, it’s very strange, but every morning you wake up, and do a little bit. You don’t see that the film is changing. After so many days like this one, your work starts to looks like something, because you’re building it little by little. It’s like a kind of marathon. Sometimes you don’t like some part of your project, but at least, you can make animation exactly the way you want. At the end of the travel we were kind of late, and we already bought a plain tickets, but we knew, that we have to finish our movie while traveling. So for last 3 months we’ve been walking about 16 hours a day, seven days a week. We didn’t see anybody. Our friends have been asking – Are you dead or what? And we responded – no, no, we just have to finish a movie!
I like in a movie doing by yourself. It’s of course much longer, than making it in a team, but you always learn something. For example, After about six months from the beginning of work, we delated first five minutes of the movie. We looked at it from the distance, and said – it isn’t good enough. In between we learned some technique, and in that moment, first five minutes didn’t suit the rest of material. I’m glad of my experience, cause now I feel confident about animating.
Why did you decided to make an animation movie, not a fiction movie?
I finished Poitiers Fine Arts School, but I was specialized more in comics illustration. I had to decide between two ways of making drowning animation – comics and drawing. I choose drowning. I feel in animation something almost magical, which comes out of novel. It’s like get away from reality. I really enjoy create something out of nowhere. When you see some animation movie, you really get into it. It’s great feeling if you know, that you made this world from scratch.
What about inspirations? Are any people, movie makers, who influenced on your work?
Yes, I’ve got lot of inspirations, but not only from movie. Inspirations for me are comics, theatre, animation, direction, and many, many other things. I really like Japanese cinema, for example director Shohei Imamura, and Japanese animation. Each time I can I go to short film festival, because I adore short form. I appreciate, that if you’re seeing a short film, you can find a lot of hidden meanings in it. This is something that suits me a lot.
What are your thoughts about this festival?
I really like it. I really feel well in this festival in Poznań.
Even though you like short form, are you planning of making a long movie?
Yes, I am curious about it. And I think that at some point I will try to do one. For now, I've created many stories that I would like to present in short form. I also prefer shorts, because they let me work independently. It's much more difficult to set up for long film and in this kind of production you've to compromise with producer. Nevertheless I also have got a few projects that I would like to do as the live-action movies.
I want to ask about Nathaniel Berges. Who is the author of „Faded Finery” music?
We met him in an animation school in France. When we started to work on „Faded Finery” we thought a lot about Cajuns culture. There is strong musical tradition and that was the kind of musical mood that we wanted. At the beginning we were not sure if we wanted some songs that have already existed or some new ones, but finally we decided to make the new ones. We were writing down some songs, composing them and we've been working hard on it with musicians. It was a very pleasant moment. You see, while drawing the animation there was just two of us, me and Sonia Gerbeaud, but when we started doing sound, then we worked with comedians, musicians... A team is setting up for movie, this is indeed a nice part of the work.
What do you think about Polish animation?
I really like it. I can feel that animation has very strong tradition in Poland and people are used to it, what I find delightful. Actually I sometimes see some Polish shorts on festivals in France, but not as much as I would like.
In „Faded Finery” there are some scenes that could be called as violent. Do you think that people still perceive animation strongly as being made mainly for younger viewers? Or do you think it changes?
I think it changes and I am happy about it. Animators have to be a part of it. If we want changes, we should make them not just wait until they happen. That also what we wanted to do. „Faded Finery” has some violent side, but it's important to the story. And, despite that, in my opinion, it's a movie that kids can understand as well. Maybe not the youngest one. However, „Faded Finery” was shown to the kids around 8 and it was really interesting experience to observe their reaction to that violence. Surprisingly, they understood it very well. I don't believe you have to do some nice and flat movie just because it's for kids. Talking about violence it's also needed.
I can see that traveling is important in your life. Could you tell us what it means to you?
For me it's a need for adapting myself. Wild traveling is always challenging. It puts me in an active way of thinking. I can feel that I stayed too long in one place, when I became lazy in my way of thinking. Traveling makes me change things. Being in uncomfortable situation make me to adapt and think in a new way.
It's like an exercise for the mind.
Yes, it's exactly that.
Did you expect such a success of „Faded Finery”?
No. I was not expecting anything particular. But I am happy that our movie has been screened in many festivals. And the funny thing is, while I was looking for some animation to watch in the library of my origin city – Toulouse, I found there „Faded Finery”, which was completely surprising! But I wouldn't call it a success.
You should be proud then!
Yeah, but still I don't know if I can call it a success.
You are just being humble.
No. When I watch „Faded Finery” I see a lot of mistakes that i would like to change. And now I really want to make a new animation.