Daniel Stankler presents his commissioned animation short, Let Love Live On.
UK-based animator Daniel Stankler made a short film for UK-based charity Live Life Give Life, on the theme of transplant donor. We chatted with him on the film, now coming out, and selected in our Zippy Frames Shorts Corner.
ZF: The new UK regulation change is the fact that you are potentially considered a donor, unless you opt-out, is that right?
DS: Exactly, the UK legislation is changing into an opt-out system, where you're automatically a donor unless you or your family say no. Which sounds great, but what it really means is that the donor themselves will no longer voice an opinion on the matter of what happens to their organs, and in fact almost 50% of family members refuse to allow their loved ones to be considered a donor after the event of their death. So this film was really about raising awareness of this issue so that you yourself have the chance to make your own choices.
ZF: How you were approached to make the commissioned film? Have you worked with the organization before / have they seen your films etc?
DS: I'd never worked with Live Life Give Life before, but the producer of the project had seen some of my old work and approached me when Live Life Give Life were looking to commission the film.
Watch Let Love Live On by Daniel Stankler
ZF: How specific was the brief you got in terms of content and duration? The love element was there, for instance, and how did you have to develop it? And how long did you have to work on this?
DS: Hmm, the brief was fairly open ended actually! I was given a month to work on the project, and Roydon (the producer) knew the message he wanted to convey - that we wanted to look at not just the individual life, but the many loves and connections that we save, when we save an individual life. But it was left pretty open to me how we told that story, and Roydon was super excited by the idea of an almost fairytale / Sci-fi world, where everyone goes about visiting their loved ones on heart-shaped jetpacks. So it's quite literally that when the heart breaks, that connection is lost. I wasn't sure such a Sci-fi idea would go down well with the client, and I think I was quite lucky in that Roydon had seen my work before (my work is always a bit strange) and so when he approached me, he could already sort of imagine the aesthetic the film would end up with.
ZF: The air balloon is very prominent and symbolic as well. Was it one of the first thoughts you had?
DS: I've always sort of had a thing with balloons - I think it's the escapism behind the image, because they can float far away, anywhere they like. And I thought it worked well here because the film begins like a fairytale and takes an unexpected, grittier detour. And I wanted to accentuate the fairytale, escapist beginning to the film to make the gritty, realistic elements more jarring. So the ballon symbol seemed perfect - because it's light and romantic and dreamy in theory, but if the laws of reality really intruded, and you fell, you'd have a long way to fall.
ZF: Did you have to make any creative decisions regarding the color palette or any new visual ideas here to fit in with the film concept?
DS: I was given the Live Life Give Life brand colours as a springboard right at the very beginning of the project, but they changed quite a lot during the course of the project as I wanted to emphasise the Sci-fi elements to the film. I was actually slightly worried the client wouldn't like the finished version of the palette as they did deviate quite far, so I offered to change it back... But they loved it!
ZF: What about your collaborators?
DS: I had a great little team working on the film - my fellow RCA animator friend Natasza Cetner helped me with colouring, and my v patient sound designer friend who worked on my grad film, Harm AKA Zing Audio, did the sound design and composing. I'm probably the worst sort of client for sound designers because I have no idea any of the technical terms for anything sound related, so I said a lot of things like 'I really like that tapping sound with the thingy from movies in like the 50s or was it the 70s made by a piano or was it a drum' and he always knows exactly what I was saying!
Film Review (Vassilis Kroustallis):
In a commissioned film, timing is essential. In Let Love Live On, the narrative arc is described clearly and distinctly, with a romance that is literally about to cause a breaking heart -and the resolution of this situation. Protruding noses, angular set designs, and the distinction between the safe haven in heaven and the downwards spiral bring forth the sense of urgency; something needs to be done quickly. The motto 'pack a heart and go' would also suit this immediately relatable, visually inviting film.
Let Love Live On
Direction and Animation - Daniel Stankler | Creative Direction - Roydon Turner | Produced by - Awesonova | Sound by the epic Zing Audio
About Daniel Stankler
Daniel Stankler is an Illustrator and Animator based in London, United Kingdom. (Although he's more than happy to travel). His illustrations and animations draw on themes from folklore and myth to psychology, history, cultural traditions and human behaviour. A recent graduate of the Animation MA at the Royal College of Art, London, when he's not doodling Daniel spends his time eating.