Every frame has a a new surprising element – please tell us about your creative process of making Doorcuts. How it came about and how it evolved.
A lot of it came through subconscious thought on the theme of the piece over a loose period of two years. It had originally been commissioned and I had created the initial three minutes for a music video but was then deemed “not sexy enough”… so the piece was abandoned for about eight months until I started having thoughts on how it would evolve on its own as well as some visuals that would challenge me to push the piece forward. I had visions of the last few shots, but they only came forward once I went to South-East Asia and saw the beautiful landscape and mountains.
To what extent did you map it out before the live-action shoot?
Every scene was very loosely mapped out in a paragraph or less, since we had limited time and control of the locations. It was simple enough that we didn’t need storyboards.
What was the most complicated part of the production?
Probably working with a cast on (I had just broken a thumb bone), otherwise maybe the beach scene where Jesi walks by all the small doors lodged into the sand like gravestones.
It’s a mesmerising narrative, did you write it?
The basic narrative was that she was going to abuse the function of the portals and they would become somewhat hostile and menacing, but the idea of the ending came later when I was thinking about reconstructing oneself in a similar structure to a door.
We love your previous work too, it’s experimental and always funny, and it all seems to be leading to Doorcuts which is next level in its slickness and inventiveness. Would you agree?
Yes, most definitely. I spent a bit more time on Doorcuts so hopefully it looks better and is still a little bit funny.
VFXs seem to run in your blood – where did you train and learn?
For the most part I’ve learned VFX as result of not having the funds to hire more talented animators. I have been working in advertising as an animator for the last seven years, but before that I learned through friends and online tutorials. I also went to OCAD in Toronto and learned the basics a long time ago.
Are you signed to a production company or happily independent?
Freely independent at the moment.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Currently I am working on 50 minute sci-fi adventure that is loosely inspired by Tarkovsky and John Waters (among others), it’s called Space Breakers and should be showing up in the next few months.
List five inspirations that have connected with you recently:
Baltimore, Benjamin Marra (comic book artist), Klovn (show or movies), Slash (movie, yet to be released?), Life of a Craphead, Bonus short film: Rainfall (by Efehan Elbi, yet to be released).
If the two unreleased movies don’t count then I would change them to Tradition Miso (delicious fermented paste).
Zak Tatham @ Family Contact
Doorcuts is being exhibited at Xpace Cultural Centre’s The External Space in Toronto until August 1st.
Here’s an essay accompanying the exhibition
Director / Editor / VFX: Zak Tatham (zaktatham.ca)
Star / Jogger: Jesi the Younger (jesi.ca)
Grip & Art Director: Aaron Manczyk (gothassfuck.com)
Additional VFX: Efehan Elbi (efehan.ca)
Camera / DOP: Zak Tatham + Efehan Elbi + Aaron Manczyk + Andrew Gavel
Composer: Man Made Hill (manmadehill.bandcamp.com)
Credit song “Sour Taco” by Harrah
Makeup: Gina Pulai (ginapulai.com) + Frincess
Door Carpenter: Zoe Solomon