November 19, 2005

Just finished viewing the 30 minute CG film, Fragile Machine. Check out Brett Rogers' eloquent and in-depth review of the film for details.

I'll add a few notes about the film, which is two parts Blade Runner, two parts Wong Kar Wai, and one part Ghost in the Shell. The film is produced by aoineko studios, which is basically a guy named Ben Steele working out of his apartment in Phoenix, Arizona.

Fragile Machine follows the life cycle of a woman as she is engineered into an android. The film moves through dreamlike futuristic vistas set to Evanescence-style songs. I had a chance to talk to Ben about his film over lunch.

"Our idea for the structure is based on Dante's Divine Comedy. It's the moment where every soul takes the journey from hell to earth to heaven."

The film is drenched in style, and explores new ways of thinking about depth, motion and design with only the occasional clue that it was not a high-budget, major studio release.

"We were trying to create a moving painting. The illustrator, Yoshitaka Amano was a huge influence."

Ben admits he's more interested in art directing and achieving a visual style than the human details that animation demands. "We've got a character animator now. So the next film is going to be a lot more kinetic with more emphasis on getting down the subtleties of human movement."

The visuals for Fragile Machine have been described as "groundbreaking." I asked him what he used to develop the film.

"LightWave. It's a very good program for indie stuff because it's very easy to use. It takes so long to do anything in Softimage, which is fine if you have a huge budget and a team of dozens of animators, but if you're just sitting in your room, LightWave works the best."

Check out aoineko studios to find out more about Fragile Machine or purchase the DVD.

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Fragile Machine is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. The things that Ben Steele can do on his own personal time is amazing. Furthermore, everytime I watch it I see something that I haven't noticed before.

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