The Oscars: Exploring Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage
Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage is a sketch-book-style journey as a European traveler confronts being a stranger in a strange land in Madagascar. As pages of his diary turn, colorful pencil sketches come to life, revealing the beautiful landscapes as well as the Famadihana customs.
Bill Desowitz: What was the experience like and how did it evolve into your film?
Bastien Dubois: When I was 21, I traveled from Lille, in the north of France to Istanbul by hitchhiking across Italy and Greece. During this trip, each day I was sketching with water colors, pencils and paint. I wanted to do a book about my trip. When I came back to France, I started to study at Supinfocom, the 3D animation school where I learnt the techniques I used to do my short.
I made a 3D test and a drawing while I was in Italy to do my first camera map. The result was impressive and gave me the idea to do my travel diary not printed, but animated! Then I met someone from Madagascar who told me about the Famadihana [the turning of the bones dance ceremony]. When I heard about it, I knew that telling that story was my subject. Then I moved to Mada for 10 months and went to a Famadihana for the first time. When I was in Madagascar, I was all the time aware of elements, details, sounds… I was going to add to the film.
BD: Did you make this by yourself or did you have help?
BD: Most of the time I worked alone but during a couple months, four trainees helped me and an animator at the end of the production when I was exhausted. I spend a year-and-a-half looking for money and two years making this 12-minute short.
BD: What was the sketch-book process like? It seems so simple yet rich with possibilities.
BD: The idea came naturally in making an animated diary. The main challenge was to avoid the digital aspect. In a way, I was looking for spectacular camera movements and, at the same time, looking for a result in which you can't detect the use of computer. I did maybe 30cm high of drawings…
BD: What about all the different techniques? Watercolor, line-drawing, oil painting, charcoal?
BD: Every time I started a new shoot, I didn't know which technique I was going to use. I changed all the time depending on what I wanted to show in the shoot. There was no strategy about using a particular technique for a shot or another. I made the shots randomly, but sometimes I was using particular techniques. For example, only water techniques for the rice fields or dry techniques for the dusty part of the dance. I also used the embroidery and a stop-motion shot with little cars made of steel cans by the Madagascar children, which are two shots I like particularly.