The Oscars: Getting Personal with Let's Pollute
Veteran Pixar and Disney animator Geefwee Boedoe got the urge several years ago to make an indie animated short, Let's Pollute, a satiric throwback to '50s and '60s educational films that connects consumer habits with corporate strategies, and teaches us "how to be better polluters for a better blighted tomorrow." It took Boedoe about four years to complete his short, with some help along with way from a few pals, including fellow Oscar nominee Teddy Newton (Day & Night), Tim Crawfurd and Torbin Xan Bullock of Pixar and Christopher Barnett of Skywalker. Boedoe explains how he channeled his frustrations and creativity for Let's Pollute.
Bill Desowitz: How did this come about?
Geefwee Boedoe: For me, I guess I wanted to do a personal short film for quite a while. At the same time, there's a part of me that wanted to get more active in social, environmental and political causes. So somewhere all these thoughts percolated in my head and around 2005 it started jelling. I thought I could merge this idea of taking a short personal animated film but having a social, environmental message. But I wasn't sure how to bring those together. Then, as I began playing around with it, around the spring of 2006, I hit upon this idea of doing it through the eyes of '50s educational films. It's certainly not trying to be a literal '50s film: the subject matter is very current. But, to me, to make these unpleasant subjects more accessible to a larger audience, it all started falling together really nicely. It just seemed funny and entertaining, and, at the same time, had a solid message as well. And that was the trick in developing it. In some ways, I always felt like I was on a balance beam or walking a tight rope.
BD: What were the big challenges for you?
GB: Probably the biggest challenges came from the fact that I had no funding. I was convinced that this was the thing to do. It was a film that no studio would want to touch, so I figured I was going to make it on my own. And so the biggest hurdle was committing because it was going to be a lot of work and a big chunk of time. Then it was just a matter of keeping my steam up because for the first two-and-a-half years I worked on it solo. And then, finally, when I luckily hooked up with some industry people to help out during post-production I didn't do this in a bubble, of course, so I would periodically show my story reels and get some good input.