Are you new directors?
Tristan: Since we have both just graduated from University, where we studied entirely non film related subjects, we don’t have much of a background in film at all. I have always wanted to make documentaries really, but increasingly have a desire to make something a bit more glossy and artistic. I’ve dragged Faye into it to be honest!
A short potted history of how you came to work together please.
Tristan: We first came across one another in a dingy bar in Bristol called the Star and Garter, where Faye promptly drew all over the wall in charcoal, and straight away it was clear she was a rather talented artist. As I have been pursuing a career in documentary, I kept persuading her to help me with various projects.
Faye: Not long after we got together I went to live in Spain for a year. Whilst there I was researching a local controversy regarding an area of the city, and Tristan thought we should make a documentary about it. It worked out pretty well and we’ve been making short films since.
What drew you to stop-frame?
Faye: Inspired by the ‘Frozen Planet’ series, I came up with a story last Christmas about polar bears that live in the snowy land of duvets; Tristan introduced me to stop-frame as a way we could realise the idea. We enjoy making things and coming up with little stories, so stop-frame is the perfect way to transform this into something more tangible.
This production came about in a similar fashion; I started to make horses out of champagne cages and foil and we wanted to make our millions by turning it into an ad for a champagne house. Then Tristan saw an opportunity to make a short film with funding from the Roundhouse and he created an actual story around the horses. From there we just faced the problem of drinking enough champagne to make around 40 models!
Behind the scenes was far from glamorous – all summer we were locked up in a blacked-out room which stank of broccoli. We also realised that we have very different approaches to stop-frame animation. Somewhere in between my blasé attitude and Tristan’s borderline OCD we managed to find a happy medium!
Tristan: It took us a really long time to figure out how to actually animate the horses. As pretty as they look, the things are a nightmare to move. In the end we decided to go for replacement animation, so there are about 12 different models for each horse.
The production of the film was something of a nightmare as well. We were living in Bristol at the time, and had already shot some of the animation there, but were shooting the live sections in London. On the day the shoot went very smoothly, but we had nowhere near finished the animation, and were both faced with having nowhere to live about a week later. In the end the whole thing was shot in three or four different locations, all whilst trying to keep down our actual jobs and attempting to move house. Not ideal for the time-intensive process of stop-motion.
Where are you working now?
Tristan: My day job is actually as a documentary researcher based in Bristol, so I do that while working freelance on promos and more creative visual work.
Faye: I work for an organization called Festival of Ideas, and am currently in the final stages of interviews for a creative role at an ad agency in Bristol. Together we are trying to establish our collaborative entity Pestle and Mortar productions.
What would you like to be doing?
Tristan: The immediate aim is still to take the concept of this short and persuade a champagne company to let us make it into something. We are talking to some agencies at the moment about this, so fingers crossed that it will work out. Ultimately we want to develop what we like doing anyway into a sustainable digital agency. Just to get people to pay us to make cool things, really.
See photo references in Related Content
Directors: Faye Planer and Tristan Martin
DOP – Guy Gotto
Composer and Sound Designer – Sami El-Enany
Sound Mastering – Joseph Munday
Piano – Sami Elenany
Violin – Caragh Campbell
Cello – Rosalind Asprey
Executive Producer – Marta Sala Font
Animation Assistants – Patrick Burley and Daniel Levin
Production Assistant – Jonathan Levin
Winning Girl – Eve Reekie
Losing Boy – Joshua Matengu
Losing Girl – Leila Biggs
Host – Duncan Reekie
Hostess – Colette Reekie
Guest 1 – Nina Planer
Guest 2 – Adrian Matengu
Guest 3 – Andy Parks
Guest 4 – Anna Orford