- CG Computer Gazette – Febr 2004
1. What is Pigly?
Pigly is a young Pig, who hides in a gigantic supermarket.
Escaped from the slaughter house, he awaits nightfall to burgle it,
and eat all what he can.
Rapidly, he's caught on the surveillance cameras, which in
turn alert Rex, a particularly tenacious stupid robot-police dog…
this start a mad chase throughout the whole supermarket…
2. How did you get the idea for Pigly?
We simply watch some birds in supermarkets… Sometimes,
they really live there, eating food where they can, making nests that
people can’t remove because it’s too high…Its very
funny to see this kind of thing.
we thought that it would be very funny if this animal was improper,
bigger… so, why not a pig? An incredible machine to eat!
idea was the beginning of our short film. Then, we pushed it to a
3. Please tell us more
about the authors? Age, background, studies, current
We are both 30 years old, and we met together when we were
studying 3D computer animation in Belgium, 10 years ago. After our
diploma, we worked as Animators together on 3d serials in Belgium
and in France (for example “Insektors”, “Donkey
kong country”, “les Girafes de Mordilo”)
When I left
school, my student film, “the American Patrol”, was also
a little success ; It won the best European student film in 1994 (young
3d creation festival) and was awards at Imagina the same year. It
helped me to start working on serial projects in Belgium (at Neuroplanet).
2001, after having changed several times companies, we decided to
start our own project, “Pigly”.
the movie, and since this time, we work as Directors and freelance
Animators for companies based in Paris, Bruxelles, and in the north
4. Please talk about the
making of Pigly (how much time to do it, which
software, which hardware, how much time for rendering, how many polygons,
It took us time to prepare the film, mostly because we were
still working at this time. It was extra-time working, almost hard.
As we were using Softimage at this time, and because we had a free
licence of an old version, we use this software for animation. We
also used an old version of Maya, mostly for modelling and rendering.
also wanted to use low-cost softwares, like some old versions of premiere
and photoshop. It was like a sort of challenge for us to finish it
with few money.
looking, our starting choice was to make very clear, simple 3D.
As we are not very fan of hyper-realistic things, we thought that
the simplest it was, best it was. We didn’t count the number
of polygons, but clearly it wasn’t impressing… For each
image, we were looking for the simplest light and texture.
We did not want to impress by the graphic quality of the
3d, but to admit the spectator to our history, and to have fun with
So, we started
to prepare the storyboard, the modelling and a lot of things.
But unfortunately, we learnt by our producer that we would have no
money to make it… It was a difficult choice, but we decided
to make it anyway, by ourselves.
about 6-8 months, we ended the movie. A friend of us helped us for
the textures (Emmanuel Kowandy) and another made the music (Vincent
The made the whole modelling, animation, rendering, fx, etc…
It was a good and a hard experience.
Now I don’t
think we’ll do it again, it was very hard to direct the film
and to make at the same time… You must have a large look at
your work, and when you’re really on it, it’s difficult
to see the entire thing.
the production, we show a test at Canal+ (French television Channel),
and they decided to coproduce it. The film is showed on this channel
since 2 years now.
5. Technically speaking
which were the most difficult aspects?
For us, it was the rendering, because we didn’t had
any experience on it. We are both animators! But as we wanted it simple,
there weren’t some impossible things to do.
difficulties came after finishing the movie, when we started distributing
it, sending it to festivals… As we never did that before, we
missed a lot of important things.
6. Which movies do you
like best and why?
Difficult question to answer, we like every kind of animated
Of course, we like the indisputable quality of the long features like
“Toy story”, “Shrek” or “Ice age”,
but we also like the classics animated films, like Tex Avery, Looney
tunes etc. For us, every style of animated film can be good when the
story is well written.
7. Please talk about the series. Are you working
on it? Are you looking for
coproducers and distributors? Will the TV series be the same of the
short you've done.
After finishing the short film, it was clearly evident that
there was sufficient material to make a interesting serial. So, we
decided to make a “bible of animation”, describing new
characters, new stories, about a group of animals hiding in a supermarket.
This first written bible won the “Mifa Grand Prix” at
the Annecy festival the same year, so, we decided to start thinking
it very seriously.
a meeting some producers, it was clear the project was too big to
be made by ourselves, and if we wanted that it succeeds, it was clear
that we need a good production company, who will find enough money
from TVs to produce it.
the moment wasn’t very good, at this time a lot of Animation
companies were in economic trouble. After winning the Audience Award
at the Clermont-Ferrand short film festival (maybe the bigger short
film festival in the world), we were sure that there was a public
for it. Then we started to meet big producers, with a new “bible”.
We are actually close to an agreement with a French production company
(we can’t tell more yet).
course we are still looking for producers, coproducers or TV partners,
if some Italians companies are interested…they can contact us.
8. Are you making money with Pigly or is it
just a promo for the series?
Unfortunately, it’s not
profitable to make a short film… The first aim of “Pigly”
was just to show what we were able to do, to use it in our demo.
Of course it’s also a pilot for a serial, so maybe one day we’ll
be winning money with it, but it’s not the case actually.
9. How many people and
equipment do you need for the series?
Difficult to tell, when you need to make 26 or 52 x 13 minutes
of animation, you’ll need a lot of people. At least as much
as for a full-length film.
10. Are you aware that
since you live in France you're very lucky? Your
country and UK are the most active markets in Europe for CG and animation...
Then you have good schools, Imagina...
11. Are you happy about the French market for animation and CG?
The French market is very strange.
It’s true that there are a lot of good people making animated
films, and a lot of good festivals, like Annecy, Imagina…
But something is missing. A really effective financing methods, like
in the UK or the USA. The market is active but not really successful
like in those countries…
there’s a slowing down of the productions, and with the incredible
number of new 3D schools (sometimes very good), there’s too
much people, so, less jobs. That’s why more and more French
people are leaving, mostly in the UK.
12. Disney in the USA has declared that their new films will be only
They're closing down all 2D activities. What do you think of this?
It’s sad and logical for a company like that. Bigger
they are, more productive they have to be. They only thought “3D
is getting less expensive than 2D? Ok, we’re going to do only
It’s only an economical decision, and there will be certainly
still 2D films, doubtless more creative… Maybe it’s a
chance for European countries?...
13. Do you wish to add
other infos about Pigly, yourself and your studio?
14. Do you prefer to be independent or would you like to be hired
by a big
The two things are interesting. When you’re independent,
you’re more free to do what you want, but it’s more difficult.
When you’re hired in a big studio, you generally can’t
do what you want, but life is easier, and you don’t have to
look around to find good job.
we like to be on our own, but we never know…
15. Did you receive many
awards for Pigly and has it been aired? By which
channels and where? Do they pay... enough?
Pigly win some nice international prices, and we’re
very happy about that. (You can see the whole palmares on the website)
It was recently bought by Universal Italy, so you’ll see it
on Italians TV Channel. I don’t remember exactly how much they
pay, but it’s not very much!
film received an incredible reception in Italy, it won many prices
…Thanks a lot anyway!
Yes, I think
we have a common film history… Italy is our closer country artistically
speaking. It’s great for us to have done so many festivals here!
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