Short Film of the Week: The Incident at Tower 37

After a very successful two year festival run (during which the film played at over 70 festivals and qualified for the 2011 Oscars) , The Incident at Tower 37 has been released for free online on World Water Day (March 22). Good show, chaps.

Mini interview with short film director Chris Perry

What inspired you to make Incident at Tower 37?

The film came to me in a dream. I awoke one night imagining two creatures crossing a desert towards a giant glass ball full of water, and had to stop and draw out what I was seeing. The index cards with those sketches sat in my drawer for four years, and when I was finally ready to start a new production at Hampshire College, I pulled them out again. Once I realized that the two figures were on a quest to get their water back, the film largely wrote itself.

What were the joys and pitfalls of creating this lovely wee animated short film?

Because the bulk of the film’s production took place within a collaborative animation curriculum here at Hampshire, most of the crew was made up of undergraduates who had never attempted such an ambitious project before. In fact, most thought I was crazy to propose something this big. The joy of seeing a young but talented team deliver on the challenge of desigining, building, animating, shading, and lighting every part of the film was unparalleled. The crew made this film at a level that far surpassed what I originally anticipated. For many in the crew, myself included, this birthing process was a transformative and wonderful experience.

The primary pitfall emerged from the transitory nature of the crew, a direct result of folding production into the academic calendar. With each term the team changed, and the larger the turnover the more work had to be done to bring the new folks up to speed. This slowed down our production and took extra emotional energy that I hadn’t really anticipated. I’m pleased to report that we’ve made structural improvements and largely de-coupled our collaborative productions from the academic calendar, so the latest projects haven’t been suffering as much from these issues.

Any projects in the pipeline?

Certainly! The Hampshire College/Bit Films collaborations have continued with two terrific shorts that are both looking to wrap this year. The first is Caldera being helmed by Tower 37 alumni Evan Viera and Chris Bishop. The other is Tube, directed by Elephants Dream director Bassam Kurdali. In addition to helping support these productions, my own energies have been devoted to developing an animated feature.

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Are you a short film maker?

If you have a short film on YouTube, get in touch at [email protected] or nominate it below. We’d love to hear from you – maybe your film short could become our next Short Film of the Week!

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