Vetítés & beszélgetés
10. 22. (szombat) 14.30 (BABtér)
Joni Männistö is an award winning animation filmmaker and animator born in 1981 in Finland. After graduating from the animation department of Turku Arts Academy in 2011 he became a member of two Finnish animation collectives, Paperihattu and Turun Anikistit. He has directed such films as The Trap (Katiska, 2008), Swarming (Kuhina, 2011) and Electric Soul (2013). His filmography includes recent collective productions Recycling (2014) and Wormhole (2016) which he worked as one of the animation artists. Apart from filmmaking, he works as the artistic director of Turku Animated Film Festival and as a visiting lecturer at Turku Arts Academy. He currently lives and works in Tallinn.
The Trap • 2008 • 4’ 33”
Swarming • 2011 • 7’ 18”
Electric Soul • 2013 • 5’ 00”
Recycling • 2014 • 14’ 14”
Wormhole • 2016 • 13’ 00”
SHAKY LINES AND THE JOY OF MAKING ANIMATION WITH YOUR OWN HANDS
not so mini interview with Joni Männistö
1. You have tried your hands in many different techniques such as drawing animation, puppet animation or object animation. How do you decide on you choice of technique?
Already at Turku Arts Academy I got to use different techniques on my films and at workshops I had. At the school we learn mostly traditional techniques and during the studies the students are supposed to make one puppet film, one hand drawn animation and a graduation film with any technique they want.
Making things with my own hands is something I really enjoy. So I usually choose a traditional technique for my animations. Already sitting behind a light table is more physical than just sitting behind a computer. And even if I choose a traditional technique it still requires lots of time staring at the computer screen. What ever traditional technique I choose I like the connection I have with the tools I’m using. And there’s countless amount of tools to use! I don’t want to stick on one technique. You can get more out of your film if you use a technique that really supports your film. And I like to explore more. Just one technique isn’t enough for me.
First I usually get a visual idea, or a scene in my head and start making my scripts from that. This visual scene already comes with a technique and it usually works best like that. But also a the final script will of course define the final technique. Ideas can change on the way, maybe the original idea doesn’t even fit in the script anymore. Therefore also the technique might change. One really important thing making films with this highly visual form of art is that the technique and visual style should support the story and the film as a whole. The technique that gives you the best result is the right one.
2. Do you think that Turku Arts Academy, where you have graduated from has a specific style, which all students follow and makes their films recognisable? How would you describe it?
Think about perfect lines and movement, lots of action and talking and big gestures, something very commercial. And now think about something completely different. That’s the animation from Turku Arts Academy. Lots of shaky lines and unsure looking animation. But this is all intended. We base our films on a story, not on a perfect animation. I could barely draw compared to my classmates, but that’s not the most important thing when it comes to making films. You can create something wonderful without the ultimate skills on everything. During studies and making school films the skills improve and solid drawers and skilful animators are hatched out into the professional world. But the intended shaky style might stay. At the school students concentrate on stories without dialogue and text. Everything has to be explained in action, not by voiceover to tell the audience what’s happening. If you see a skilful film with shaky lines, without any dialogue and with lots of dark humour, there’s a good chance it’s from Turku.
3. This year saw the first edition of Turku Animated Film Festival, which you are artistic director of. It is a very daring decision on behalf of a film director to start a festival. Why did you decide to start it?
It all started with a talk between me and the festival director Kimmo Sillanmikko. We had both thought that there should be an international festival for independent short animation in Finland. One that would bring the artists in Finland to represent their latest short films and to give master classes for audience. We felt that we were missing an event that would follow the successful formula the festivals are organised around the world. Kimmo had an idea to have a festival in Turku where the most of the independent animators graduate from and has lots of students every year. We wanted to give students, professionals and people interested in animation a chance to get to know more what’s happening in the independent animation world. It feels that funders for independent films don’t follow enough how independent short animation has evolved and what it really is. There seems to be more understanding for commercial or live action style stories than for non-narrative or visual story telling. We hope to bring the animation short form closer to everyone.
I was ready to support Kimmo, so I became the artistic director of the festival. I’ve been traveling around the festival circuit for years now so I had already lots of contacts for animation industry. It has been nice to notice that friends all over the world have been very supporting and offered their help to make a successful festival. Now the first edition is behind us and I think it went great. We reached what we were aiming for. We’re happy that the guests enjoyed their stay and helped us to make a nice event for everyone. Now we are planning for the next edition and we’ll make some new adjustments that the next edition will be even better and with more sauna.
+1 Having been graduated for 5 years now and being out there working as an independent artist, what is your message or advice to present students of animation?
Don’t give up. It’s not an easy way to get living for your own work, but others do it, so you can too. If you want to be an independent animation artist, concentrate on your school films and send them to the festivals. Don’t feel bad if the film doesn’t get selected, it just someone’s opinion. Keep submitting your film and eventually some festival will select it. If your film gains success or festival screenings, it will look good on your CV together with your portfolio. This is a proof of your capability to make professional level films which is something funders look for.
I don’t want to talk about money, but unfortunately it’s an inevitable part of living. Some times you have it, sometimes you don’t. You don’t make art to gain lots of profit. You apply money for a project and when it’s done, you apply for another. Working as an artist it’s often necessary to make some commercial work. Maybe it’s not a good idea to get used to a regular job and salary. Along with a full-time job it’s difficult to have energy to proceed with artistic projects and the safe feeling of having a monthly salary might take away the ambition to make art. How can you be creative, when you have so much more on your mind? It’s good to find the compromise between earning and your life as an artist.
When students graduate it often feels they’re falling into a void. How to start the professional career or living as an independent filmmaker? The one thing you need is support. In Turku we have different collectives of animators. Together we make sometimes films or other artistic projects or talk about our scripts and give feedback. Be brave and contact people who have done these things for a longer time. They will be glad to help. You don’t need to be alone in this. There’s others too, rely on each other.