A group of students from the French animation school Pole 3D used CG to tell a powerful story about the Paris Massacre of 1961, which is now eligible for Academy Awards consideration.
Computer-animated short The Tears of the Seine (The blades of the Seine) has collected several awards, most recently the BAFTA Student Film Award for Animation. Next week the short will be honored as Best of Show at the annual computer graphics confab SIGGRAPH, which returns as an in-person event Aug. 3-8 in Vancouver.
The Tears of the Seine and all selections for the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival Electronic Theater – a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards – will be available for viewing in Vancouver and further afield.
Yanis Belaid and seven of his fellow students of Pôle 3D (Eliott Benard, Alice Letailleur, Nicolas Mayeur, Etienne Moulin, Hadrien Pinot, Philippine Singer and Lisa Vicente) were in charge. The Tears of the Seine, an 8-minute short in the textured style of stop motion. To create the look, the filmmakers took inspiration from Swiss stop-motion movies My Life Is Like a Zucchini (My Courgette Life), which was nominated for an Oscar in 2017.
In short, which happened on October 17, 1961 during the Algerian War, Algerian workers took to the streets to demonstrate against a curfew imposed by the police, which ended in violence.
“I feel the story is very close [because it is] my family history,” said Belaid, who is from Algeria and whose grandfather told him the story of what began as a peaceful demonstration and resulted in the deaths of what some estimates suggest are more than 200 Algerians.
The first half of the “horror movie” is meant to be more realistic than the second half, where Algerian protesters dance as blood begins to flow to a sequence set by jazz trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf. True Sorry. “The second part is a more poetic visual to tell the story in a different way,” Belaid explained. “We want to show the violence; the blood flowing down the characters is more powerful than the people being shot. The song gives us the emotion. “
The environment was created based on a photograph of Paris’ Pont Saint-Michel, where the actual event took place.
“[Upon viewing] we want viewers to go to Google and find out what happened on this date,” said Belaid, who also co-wrote and edited the short. “We want people to talk about this event.”
In addition to the Computer Animation Festival, SIGGRAPH has a full schedule of sessions. Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull and Meta’s head of new product experimentation Ime Archibong are among the featured speakers, and production programs include Netflix’s The Sea Beastat Pixar Turned Red and the work of Weta FX The Batman.