Interview with Rob Munday
Rob Munday talks about Teddy Goldblatt, his surreal film for the Animate OPEN.
You trained and worked in live action – when and how did you start working with animation? And why?
I’ve always loved animation. In my previous films I’d included the odd animated shot and this project seemed perfect to be my first fully animated short. Getting support from the North London Film Fund was a great opportunity to knuckle down and learn some of the craft of animation (something I’d wanted to do for ages).
How did you come to make Teddy Goldblatt – and what themes is it exploring?
Teddy Goldblatt came from a combination of sources. I’d previously written a live action short featuring a lemon; I’d discovered the name Teddy Goldblatt which seemed to fit; and I’d been looking at surrealist paintings particularly Max Ernst that made me realise you could do anything without getting stuck into standard characters or worlds.
I don’t know about themes, that’s for others to say, but the whole post-apocalyptic story came out of the simple question, “how did this lemon grow legs?”
How did you find the process of stop motion? Were you looking to create something that felt homemade?
It was a steep learning curve but I always felt shooting stop motion cut-outs was the right approach for this film. Animation involves a lot more preparation than I’m used to, but the upside was being able to create an entire world from scratch. What I liked about stop motion was that there was still room for manoeuvre; during the shooting I could incorporate new ideas as I went along.
I definitely prefer handmade animation whether it’s Jan Svankmajer, Nick Park, or Terry Gilliam; I feel having that direct contact with the characters adds to the personality and feeling of the final film.
Teddy Goldblatt seems to hark back to a golden age of children’s animation – but with contemporary, surreal and sinister edge… Could you talk about this meeting of dark and light in the work?
I was certainly influenced by the work of Oliver Postgate and Ivor Wood whose films seem so full of heart and wit. I also enjoy playing around with language so it was fun to write the narration. I think silliness was my main aim although the fact that these characters are all alone in this desolate world creates a nice contrast.
The absurd world you create is really rather funny. Do you always use humour in your work?
I’ve done films with and without humour but I find that I’m naturally drawn towards it and have found that my films with a sense of humour tend to be the better ones. I also think that, in a short film, humour can be a very useful tool to draw the audience in and make them care about your characters within a limited timescale.
Who are your influences or heroes/heroines – film, art, people?
That’s a tough question. I’ve mentioned a few in my previous answers but some of the other key figures are: Michael Powell, Jean Vigo, Francois Truffaut, Bob Godfrey, Bob Mortimer (the comedian), and novelist Nicola Barker.