CG-animated short directed by Lucas Martell was nominated for the Grand Jury Award at the 2015 SXSW film festival.
Fresh off of its festival run, which included a nomination for the Grand Jury Award at SXSW, The OceanMaker is now available for viewing online.
Directed by Lucas Martell, The OceanMaker is the follow-up to 2009’s Pigeon: Impossible. The CG-animated short, set in a time after the seas have disappeared, follows a courageous young female pilot who fights against vicious sky pirates for control of the last remaining source of water: the clouds.
“For years I had thought about this image of two opposing planes flying head to head with a cloud in the middle,” Martell says. “I knew it was the climax to something, but I didn’t have the rest of the story until I started thinking about the cloud as the prize they were fighting over. From there this idea of a world without water emerged and the remaining pieces fell into place almost immediately.”
After focusing on comedy for years, Martell found himself drawn to the idea of doing something dramatic. “Animation is finally starting to break away from the stereotype of being exclusively for kids, but there are few animated films that strive for a truly cinematic experience, or that rival live-action in terms of emotional complexity,” he says. “Our goal was to achieve an extremely mature tone without sacrificing the heightened sense of scope and design that animation allows.”
Having spent five years on his first animated short film, director Lucas Martell knew The OceanMaker would require a team of professional artists, and that the most efficient use of their time would be to have everyone working together in the same location. But how do you convince professionals to leave their paying jobs to spend several weeks working on a low-budget independent project? The answer was to bribe them.
Rather than a typical studio environment, production was moved to a small island in the Caribbean. Lucas’ pitch to the crew was simple: “If you'd be willing to work for deferred payment, we'll cover the costs for you to travel and live in a tropical paradise.” The result was much like an artist's retreat. The eight-person crew stayed in Belize for seven weeks, finishing nearly half of the film using nothing but laptops.
The second half of production functioned in a more traditional way, with the crew working remotely as their schedules allowed. Progress became significantly slower, but the work in Belize provided a solid base that allowed the team to focus on adding details and nuance to the 137 shots that comprise the film.
The final key element to the film is the powerful, original score composed by Chris Reyman. The film contains no dialogue, and at one point even the sound effects drop out entirely for several minutes, leaving the music to carry the entire emotional weight of the film. Due to music’s importance, the production did something else that is incredibly rare for an independent short film, they recorded the score with a live orchestra and choir of more than 60 musicians.
“Music is often the last thing people think about, but from the very start of this project we knew that it was going to be one of our primary storytelling tools,” Martell notes. “We’re so blessed that we were able to find such talented musicians to execute Chris’ challenging and uncompromising score.”
Source: Mighty Coconut