In the wake of a constantly changing and evolving technological culture, much of the future of filmmaking lies in the hands of a new generation of innovators. Contributor Janelle Domek interviews four up and coming local filmmakers to answer the question: what’s next?
A primarily self-taught animation prodigy, Carter Boyce describes himself as a “fly by the seat of my pants kind of guy”, although you would never be able to tell from the meticulous work he creates. Carter has always been interested in building and inventing, an interest that heavily informs his animation as he experiments with a variety of innovative filmmaking techniques. He has been animating for around nine years and is set to graduate from DePaul University this month. From 3D to stop-motion, Carter has a wide skillset; the one area he seeks improvement in is hand drawn animation, although he has been consistently practicing his hand drawn work over the years to get to a point where he feels comfortable. His senior film at DePaul University, a 3D animated short titled Die Flucht (German for “The Escape”), won the top three awards at DePaul’s Premiere Film Festival and has been praised by recruiters from Tribeca Film Festival and Cleveland International Film Festival.
Die Flucht revolves around a lonely figurine, traveling on a fixed track, trying to catch a red balloon. When the machine breaks down, the boy comes to life and attempts to finish the cycle he was originally destined to be on forever.
In Carter’s own words, “Die Flucht is about being able to escape this mechanism that you’re built into and being able to pursue something greater than yourself. It’s about being who you want to be rather than letting the world around you dictate who you are”. In keeping with his love for building and experimenting, Carter created a complete, working kinetic sculpture for the film. As it turns out, this was his biggest challenge in completing the film in time for festival submissions.
A kinetic sculpture is essentially an aesthetically pleasing work of art that is creative and stimulating, but that employs movement as well. This particular mechanized sculpture needed to function in a complete loop in order to continue its cycle throughout the film. Carter explains the process of creating the kinetic sculpture as “a constant battle” as he constantly made revisions. He watched seven different 1950’s war videos on tank treads as a visual reference to learn how functional machines work. Despite the obstacles in creating the sculpture, Carter says seeing the finished product was extremely rewarding. To learn more about Die Flucht and Carter’s creative process, take a look at his portfolio and watch the trailer below.
When asked how it felt to have his work validated on such a large scale at Premiere, Carter has a hard time putting his feelings into words, although he does manage to say, “it was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve felt in my entire life”. Being the extremely modest and polite person he is, Carter says with an expression of disbelief, “When I started at DePaul I had a goal that I would be able to achieve something like this… I told myself I wanted to win awards by the time I graduate, and I did!” With recognition from prestigious production studios such as Digital Kitchen and French animation studio Dwarf Labs, Carter has a bright future ahead of him in the industry.
Carter and animator Gavin Wright are currently in the pre-production stages of creating a film that cohesively combines elements of both stop-motion and 3D animation to create a singular, visually unified world. Constantly innovating and learning new techniques, Carter recently got a 3D printer and is looking forward to experimenting with 3D printed assets. He notes films such as The Peanuts Movie and Disney’s Paperman as mixed-media visual inspiration.
To learn more about Carter and his work, check out his website.
The second installation of this four-part Facets Exclusive series will introduce Sofia Kerpan, a student at Columbia College Chicago and co-founder of Verluxe, a girl-gang production company well-known for creating music videos for Chicago’s rap scene.
Author: Janelle Domek studies Animation and Digital Cinema at DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media. She was the Programs Assistant Intern at Facets this fall and now interns at Radar Studios. Click here to check out her website!