The combination of spirituality and creativity results in the delightful animation about The Earth and humanity.
Bernadine Santistevan, directed, produced and wrote the animated film Wolf Dog Tales. Animation by Igor of Animataion Cell. Original music by Robert Mirabel. Annecy 2102 Official Selection, Comic-Con 2012 Best Animated Film, ASIFA East 2012 Winner Excellence in Writing.
Bernadine Santistevan is from New Mexico, as were her forebearers stretching back some four centuries. As she travelled, lived and was educated in many countries she formed a blended view of her Spanish heritage and the Native American beliefs and teachings. This was the inspiration which made her to make this film. The title Wolf Dog Tales is based on ancient beliefs, it derives from her love of, and devotion from, Paco Sosa, a Dachshund and her companion of 21 years.
To bring the story to life it was necessary for Bernadine to find a person with whom she could sense a kindred spirit and that shared her deep respect for life. She found these qualities in Igor, a classically trained, Emmy Award winning, animator and designer.
When he read the story, Igor knew that he wanted to employ a medium that would reinforce the narrative’s connection to nature and animals. “I thought of sand painting, especially the Navajo sand painting, and also Ilana Yahav’s work. Technically, I didn’t know yet how I would do it. It was a true discovery in terms of approach,” says Igor.
To achieve the right look, Igor undertook a series of different techniques involving stop-motion animation using actual sand paintings, but the results were not to his satisfaction. As a Toon Boom Animate Pro user, he then decided to draw in the application, print the drawings, add sand with spray glue and then capture each drawing. Again, this did not evoke the right feeling. Along the way, Bernadine fed Igor reference material, including photographs of various Native American sites and indigenous symbols, to help him understand the context and culture of the story.
Working closely with his friend Marco Tempest, Igor explored creating footprints in the sand, shooting the impressions and animating them using stop-motion. Three techniques were created for this animation, collectively known as “faux sand painting animation”. The first original technique is called stop-motion sand animation™.
The second technique is called colored sand painting animation™ in which he filmed various colors of static sand with a motionless video camera to achieve a more dynamic feel to the sand textures.
The third technique he developed for use in the animation was wind erosion animation™ the aim of this was to have the wind blow away an animated sand painting to reveal the film’s title.
“This project was very important to me and my life as an artist,” says Igor.
Considering the extensive level of creativity and ingenuity involved in this project, one can only marvel at the high quality of this unique animated short. In addition to Bernadine and Igor, the following talented individuals contributed to the creation of this masterpiece: Robert Mirabal, 2-time Grammy-winner, performing traditional Native American music; Larry Fessenden, award-winning filmmaker, portraying the voice of Wolf Dog; Begonia Colomar, color grading and VFX artist, with credits that include Minority Report and Shrek; and Tom Efinger, sound supervisor/mixer, who has worked on numerous award-winning films screened at festivals such as Cannes, Sundance and Toronto.