Motorville is a social allegory of a society addicted to oil. How did your narrative come about? Was the subject humming away in your mind and then the clever and very relevant techniques – using animated google maps interspersed with motorway footage and animation – come about afterwards?
Motorville is a mashup of everything I was seeing online at the moment of its conception. Documentaries and articles I read, animation films, Google Maps… It’s a synthesis of all this. I’ve always wanted to tell a story by using this medium.
Also, some words about Google Maps: The film is not affiliated with them in any way. This short is not designed to harm them.
So from all this, came this allegory of modern megalopolis living on a map, like massive, living organisms feeding from oil.
But the problem is these organisms are not far sighted enough to achieve their own survival on the long term, because they consume all the resources around them very quickly. In the film, these cities behave like Zombies, bacteria, robots, or drug addicts. Or a mix of all these.
Was Motorville a commissioned piece?
This short was originally a commission by an American tv channel. Then, upon seeing the result, they decided not to air it. Who knows, they might have found it offensive, which I find hard to understand, considering it’s just a satire.
Or maybe they just didn’t like it? I really don’t know. Anyway, the way I sold it to them at first was not very different from making a commercial: I wrote a treatment, waited for feedback, and then started the production.
It’s been two years since your phenomenally successful Pixels short film – see in Related Content – which we understand is being made into a feature film. How is the feature development differing from working on your short films?
Well, it’s obviously very different. Tim Dowling wrote the last version of the Pixels script (Just Go With It, and also writer of the amazing short Georges Lucas in Love).
Seth Gordon was then hired on the project as a consultant, thanks to his knowledge of hardcore 8-bit gamers which he acquired when making his documentary The King of Kong.
Note that contrary to what the press said last summer, I am still attached to direct the film. We’re working on the 3rd version of the script. Let’s hope it will be the right one!
It’s rare that someone is brilliant at VFX as well as storytelling. How did you evolve your narrative skills?
Thanks. In this film everything is related to maps. The sense of scale is very important in this particular case. It starts from a close shot, and the whole picture is progressively revealed.
I think it’s a nice narrative structure for a short and it really made sense here considering the medium, as the idea was to give the viewer a broader look on what’s happening to this city, Motorville.
Then, I watch a lot of animation. The Simpsons, I think, is the main inspiration here. I love how incredibly creative they are.
What first attracted you to VFX and animation? And where did you train?
I did a VFX school in France names Supinfocom. Also, I was always attracted to VFX and animation, ever since I saw as a child films like The Last Starfighter or Tron (the first one, obviously. I’m not so young.)
Motorville, short film
Written, directed by : Patrick Jean
Pixels, short film
Written, directed by : Patrick Jean
Director of Photograhy : Matias Boucard
SFX by Patrick Jean and guests
Produced by One More Production
Boyze Noize, ICH R U
Film/art direction by Sebastien Loghman & Patrick Jean
Music : Boys Noize
As Keyboy : Gildas Loupiac
Production : Wearefrench
Post-production managers : Julie Verweij, Julie Bellemare
DP : Mathias Boucard – camera assistant : François Vigon – electrician : Basile Joyeux
Set construction & prop master : Brice Haumont
Prop assistants : Berenice Valot, Thomas Grandière
Edited by Philippe Roch, S. Loghman, P. Jean
VFX : Maxime Leturcq, P. Jean
Matte painting : Arnaud Philippe-Giraux
Flame artist : Herve Thouement