Julian Black Antelope for a long time wondered what might happen if an immortal being got bored.
Now Black Antelope, who was raised in Fort Macleod, has the chance to find out thanks to a $10,000 grant from StoryHive to create an animated short film on the subject.
“I’ve often wondered how one who is immortal keeps the lust for life,” Black Antelope said. “Often when we mortals have a brush with death, we realize we have to make every moment count and so we rediscover that zeal. But when you’re immortal, what do you do? How does one keep things fresh and exciting?”
A Trickster Tale is one of five Alberta finalists chosen by judges to produce a short film of two to five minutes in length.
A Trickster Tale will be available after May 26 on Telus Optik TV On Demand, and Black Antelope is hopeful it will be shown at film festivals as well.
One film from western Canada will receive the top award, which includes customized career training leading up to attendance at the 2017 Ottawa Animation Festival.
One reason Black Antelope was interested in the competition was the opportunity to boost the career of First Nations talent in the person of Mitchell Poundmaker, who is lead animation A Trickster Tale.
“Mitchell’s an extremely talented artist whom I met awhile back while doing a documentary on The Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth’s Blackfoot Graphic Novel,” Black Antelope said. “When this project came up, I saw it as a chance to get a ‘calling card” for Mitchell so he can pursue his art.”
“The second reason was of course to showcase First Nations cultural content, one of my personal mandates as a producer and creator of content.”
A Trickster Tale is a project of 775 Media Corp, a company chaired by international businessman Laurie Venning, with Sarah Moore as executive vice-president, and which includes filmmaker Michael Peterson, creative producer Black Antelope and David Oulton, who is in charge of marketing and public relations.
Black Antelope is A Trickster Tale’s producer, creator, director and writer.
“Initially I began development of this concept with Mitchell back in July as a children’s TV series, then the StoryHive announcement came out in the early fall so I thought why not enter and see what happens,” Black Antelope said.
Black Antelope enjoys animated projects, but admits they present two key challenges — budget and time.
“It’s always time, as it is with most things, but animation in particular,” Black Antelope said. “I’ve done one project entirely by myself so I’m well aware of the workload involved in creating believable movement frame-by-frame at approximately 17 frames a second give or take.”
Black Antelope explained that most stop animation seen on TV is shot at a pace of about six to eight seconds per day.
“Drawing is a little quicker pending on the army of artists you have,” Black Antelope added, explaining one artist will draw the key movements of the character, others will draw the movements between the key movements and another will create the backgrounds.
“In our case Mitchell will be working mostly solo but he’s a machine,” Black Antelope said with a launch.
An aspect of animation that Black Antelope enjoys is the creative team is limited only by the scope of its imagination.
“You can take the viewer into multiple new worlds without ever leaving your work desk,” Black Antelope said. “The possibilities are endless because you’re not bound by the laws of physics and reality. Artistically you have ultimate freedom which cannot always be said for non-animated productions, unless of course you have an unlimited pile of cash at your disposal.”
Casting will happen once the script is complete, with a good chance Black Antelope will voice one of the characters.
Black Antelope and the 775 Media Corp team are excited A Trickster Tale was chosen as a finalist in the StoryHive competition.
“It always feels great when others invest in your ideas, be it financially or otherwise,” Black Antelope said. “Especially taking into consideration that I didn’t really think it would win as I threw the pitch materials together literally overnight in a hotel room while away at the American Film Market in Santa Monica.”
You can follow the project on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ATricksterTale or on Twitter at twitter.com/ATricksterTale.
For detailed project information and other 775 Media Corp projects visit www.775mediacorp.com.