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I Have a Question Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter

In which Chris Robinson asks animation professionals profoundly inane questions about the inner workings of their existence. Today's guests are the Oscar nominated duo, Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata ('Negative Space').

'Something Left, Something Taken' by Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata

Max Porter (USA) and Ru Kuwahata (Japan) are award-winning animation directors. Specializing in mixed-media narratives, they are particularly interested in marrying analogue and digital animation techniques, often combining handcrafted art, CG animation, drawn animation, stop-motion and photographic effects.

Since 2008, Max & Ru have been working together as “Tiny Inventions”. They have directed and produced TV commercials, music videos, PSAs and independent films.

Their 4th short film, Negative Space is nominated in the Animated Short Film category at the 2018 Academy Awards (aka Oscars)

After much debate and occasional fisticuffs over packing, drivers and temporal time loops between our various court appointed lawyers, Max and Ru agreed to meet me in a field of red carpets somewhere near the Canadian/U.S. border. The year was not this one. The weather was mild. The day was, like today, Friday.

I get the greatest pleasure from….

R: Getting my blood pressure taken at doctors’ offices or pharmacies.

I love the squeeze. 

M: The first cup of coffee in the morning. 

The name of my autobiography would be….

R: Puny body, STRONG WILL

M: The Overthinker (as evidenced by how many times I rewrote this response)

My most beloved possession is….

R: A hand winding watch necklace given by my grandma. Possesses class & (sort of) keeps time. 

M: A silkscreen print by Nina Frenkel titled “Shall We Dance.” It’s the first thing I see when I wake up and it gives me perspective and courage for the day.

A (non-family member) person I have high respect for is.... 

R: I’ve been watching the Winter Olympics and there’s so much respect for these athletes. The way they maintain mental control, perform under pressure and the consistent effort they put in to their sport. As a filmmaker, we never have this one, real-time performance that defines our career. What we do seem so easy after watching these competitions.  

M: The specific person changes year-to-year, but it’s always one of my students. That generation makes me feel good about the future.

The song that makes me tingle is….

R: Claude Debussy’s ‘Clair de lune’

M: These days, any track by Run The Jewels will get my blood flowing. It's the best thing to listen to while washing dishes.

I’d like to be remembered as….

R: Somebody who continued to make.

M: Someone who paid attention.

The funniest thing that happened to me….

R: Living with Max is filled with funny moments.

Other episodes can be found here.

M: In a recent video interview, I said "It's God's fart..." instead of "God's fault..." As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I saw all of the people in the room choke back laughter. (Listen to the clip on loop in the player below.)

Chris Robinson's picture

A well-known figure in the world of independent animation, writer, author & curator Chris Robinson is the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival.