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Interview – Mark C Smith – “Two Balloons” – A Short Film

 

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Posted April 23, 2018 by

 
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Interview – Mark C Smith

Director Mark C. Smith’s Two Balloons is already being called a masterpiece by critics and has been selected for forty high profile film festivals. This magical film will be screened at these upcoming Oscar-qualifying film festivals; Cleveland International Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and RiverRun International Film Festival

“Two adventurous lemurs navigate their dirigibles halfway around the world to a place where happenstance and fate threaten to disrupt their reunion”

Director Mark C. Smith’s filmography includes North, Denmark and A House, A Home. As a cinematographer, Mark spent many years filming winter expeditions in North and South America. He is the co-author of two photography books, Osterlandet and The Powder Road. Two Balloons is Mark’s first animated film.

Some of the prestigious film festivals that Two Balloons has been selected for include Foyle Film Festival, FLiCKERFEST International Short Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand International Film Festival, Anima (Brussels Animation Festival), Cleveland International Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and RiverRun International Film Festival.

Two Balloons will screen at Cleveland on Saturday, April 07th at 9:05 am, Sunday the 8th at 7:30 pm and Saturday the 14th at 1:30 pm. At Tribeca the film will show on Saturday, April 21st at 3:30 pm, Tuesday the 24th at 6 pm, Friday the 27th at 3:45 pm Saturday the 28th at 4:15 pm. RiverRun screenings are Saturday, April 21st at 1pm, Saturday the 28th at 1pm and Atlanta on Monday, April 16th at 9pm.

Trailer:

Interview:

To begin with, tell us about your latest film “Two Balloons”, what is it about? Where did the idea come from?

Two Balloons is about people connecting and sticking together when life gets rough.

The idea for the the film happened while I was on a sailboat. During a long passage I saw a funnel cloud for the first time. It was mesmerizing and daunting at the same time. As I watched its 400 foot conical shape skip across the white capped waves I was listening to a song in 3/4 time, the time signature of waltz, and that’s when the idea for Two Balloons appeared. It’s an interesting contemplation where ideas come from. With this film it was a combination of the ocean, a song and a daydream.

What attracts you to stop motion animation as a genre?

I fell for stop motion before I knew what it was. Harryhausen and Phil Tippett… I gravitated to the tactile quality of their work but I did not know how it was done. They were magicians to me.

Stop motion has a an immediacy and sense of gravity that draws you in. The physicality, materials, shadows and visible weight is a disparate form of animation that offers a unique visual and emotional experience. I like the human element that reveals itself in every shot, the imperfections that exist while striving for perfection. Somehow the subtle flaws of stop motion reveal a sense of truth.

Who are the lead performers in the film?

Bernard and Elba are our main characters. They are from the Lemur Islands but they have been living in Portland, Oregon for the last four years.

What are your influences as a filmmaker?

Won Kar-wai’s aesthetic and his ability to suspend time has influenced me. Krzysztof Kieslowski’s themes about redress and reconciliation, and his use of silence and light really effect me.  The emotional honesty of Bergman, Bunuel and Jane Campion have made me understand more about life and the human condition. Wes Anderson, Alferd Hitchcock and Kubrik have shown me that attention to detail in pre-production can help tell a better story. My biggest influence however, is music.

When and where can we expect to see “Two Balloons”?

We’ve been screening on the festival circuit since November 2017. Our next screening is at Tribeca.

Ouat Media is looking after our distribution and will have Two Balloons placed on multiple platforms after our festival run ends in the Fall.

What advice would you give any up-and-coming filmmakers, trying to crack the industry?

Passion makes perfect. I think the most important aspect of filmmaking is finding what part of the process is the most fulfilling for you and then build your life around it. Time and money are formidable opponents. The latter is always a fight but time is a variable we can control through choices. It’s the only part of life that is equal. Each one of us gets 24 hours a day. It’s hard not to clutter those hours with the trappings of life and harder still to simplify, but when we can it grants more space to get film projects finished.

What is the next step for you? Do you have any other films or projects in production?

I’m adapting a short story by Dave Eggers that means much to me and it will be an animated film. I’m also looking forward to working on a film that our Co-Producer, Adam Sager has developed.

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Interviewed By:

Adam Snowden
@FilmDebate
Company Founder & Managing Director

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