Short Film ‘Paperman’ Plays With ‘Wreck-It Ralph’
October 11, 2012 by Walt Disney Philippines
Introducing a groundbreaking hybrid approach that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques, first-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction with “Paperman,” a new short from Walt Disney Animation Studios that debuts this November with the Disney feature “Wreck-It Ralph.”
Using a minimalist black-and-white style, the short follows the story of a lonely young man (George) in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman (Meg) on his morning commute. Convinced that the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him.
“Paperman” was produced by Kristina Reed (a key player in production and development at Disney Animation since 2008), and created by a small, innovative team working at Walt Disney Animation Studios. It pushes the animation medium in an exciting new direction, and is a bold experiment in bringing the organic, expressive and artistic qualities of traditional hand-drawn, Disney animation to the cutting-edge look and limitless possibilities of the CG world. Jeff Turley served as the film’s art director. Emmy® Award-winning composer Christophe Beck (“The Hangover,” Disney’s “The Muppets” and “Under the Tuscan Sun”) adds to the film’s uplifting mood and appeal with his soaring score.
Helping to give “Paperman” its unique look and style are the contributions of a department the Studio dubbed Final Line. This small team of traditional 2D animators used a proprietary drawing software tool called Meander to create a layer of expressive hand-drawn lines and paint strokes that “stick” to a foundation layer of carefully prepared CG animation in a completely new way, respecting the flatness of the drawn line and using techniques specifically developed for the project. The result is an extraordinary blend of the two animation mediums that is a perfect match for the story and character needs of “Paperman.”
“‘Paperman’ is definitely an attempt to do something different in animation,” says Reed. “John and I both felt that so many CG films today are striving for photorealism—we believe there is a whole different visual frontier that should be explored. We wanted ‘Paperman’ to put something on the table in that direction, and we’re hoping that Disney and other studios and artists will continue the conversation about how different animation can look. It’s virtually limitless.
“John and I both come from CG backgrounds,” continues Reed. “When we came to Disney, we discovered the power of the line, its expressiveness and what our great 2D line artists can do. It inspired us to think about where could go with this.”
“Paperman” had its world premiere at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France on June 4, where it received a resounding reception from animators and critics from around the world. It went on to further acclaim with its North American premiere two weeks later at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
Watch “Paperman” in Philippine cinemas as it precedes all theatrical screenings of “Wreck-It Ralph” starting Nov. 1.
From Walt Disney Animation Studios and Emmy®-winning director Rich Moore comes “Wreck-It Ralph,” a hilarious, arcade-game-hopping adventure. For decades, Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) has been overshadowed by Fix-It Felix, Jr. (voice of Jack McBrayer), the good-guy star of their game who always gets to save the day. Tired of playing the role of a bad guy, Ralph takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a journey across the arcade through multiple generations of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero.
On his quest, Ralph meets tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch) from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty, and feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, who may just be his first real friend. But everything changes when a deadly enemy is unleashed, threatening the entire arcade and Vanellope herself. Ralph finally gets his chance to save the day—but can he do it in time?