Geronimo Projects interview by Alex Getz
Claire Almon is another artist who will be screening her work in the Savannah Film Festival, which kicks off tomorrow, October 30th. Claire’s animated short, Grampa Kevorkian, will show in the Lucas Theatre on Monday November 1st, at 9:30 am, and again in the Trustees Theatre on Saturday November 6th at 11:30 am.
How did you first become interested in animation?
Claire Almon : This may sound cliché, but I have wanted to be an animator as long as I can remember. My mother is an artist so from an early age I was encouraged to draw and create. Watching hours of Disney movies and Warner Bros. cartoons, I think I just decided that was for me.
Talk a little bit about your short film, Grampa Kevorkian.
CA : Grampa Kevorkian is an homage to my maternal grandfather who passed away 3 years ago this November. We always had a mutual adoration for each other as I was growing up. He was basically the best grandfather you could ever ask for (although I may be a bit biased.) I think everyone has a figure like that in their life who they look up to so I thought it would be a great subject for film.
Your work has a very unique visual style, how did you develop this? Who or what served as inspiration for it?
CA : Developing a look for Grampa Kevorkian I drew from a few different influences. I loved the idea of pen and ink wash because it is so fluid, like a visual metaphor for memory. Also, black and white evokes a sense of nostalgia. The illustrative style itself was based on the type of loose drawings I make when I’m absent-mindedly sketching, but I definitely had Caroline Leaf’s The Street at the back of my mind during the whole process.
Grampa Kevorkian is a short film, with a run time of just under two minutes. What are some challenges you faced in constructing a narrative during a relatively small time frame?
CA : Well, I approached the film as if I was making a poem about my grandfather rather than writing a novel or short story. Instead of giving a play-by-play of our experiences together, I focused on describing what it felt like to know him as a child with imagery. With animation you can get a lot of information in a little amount of time because of the freedom of the medium. You don’t have to stick to realism; characters and objects can morph and change into anything you want. This creates a lot of exciting possibilities for how you tell a story, be it short or long.
You will be screening Grampa Kevorkian at the Savannah Film Festival. Are there any other films you are especially excited to see in the Festival?
CA : Yes, I would love to see Black Swan by Darren Aronovsky, The Illusionist by Sylvian Chomet, and of course all the other short animations.
What does the future hold for Claire Almon?
CA : Well, I hope to continue making my own animated shorts. It’s a ton of work but it’s extremely gratifying to have complete creative control over your own films. Commercially, I’m really interested in doing visual development for feature animation. My BFA is in illustration and my MFA animation, so I consider painting my first love and it’s great to combine it with animation. Whatever it is I just want to keep trying to reach my full potential as an artist.
What’s on your playlist? Who are you listening to most currently?
CA : That is a tough question, a little bit of everything from the In The Heights Soundtrack (I just saw it on Broadway), to The Black Skulls, Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend, and The Beatles. Although I have to admit that I Whip My Hair Back and Forth was in my head the whole day after I heard it on Youtube.
Grampa Kevorkian’s official blog.
Claire Almon’s sketch blog.
Blog for Claire’s next short, 3 Magicians