Pearfall (Shorts in Support 2018)

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Leonid Shmelkov | 2017 |  3 min

Beware of pearfall! It happens suddenly, so it is necessary to be prepared. This film provides detailed instructions on how to behave in such cases. A surreal and funny short, suited to both family audiences and cult/late night screenings.

Leonid Shmelkov was born in Moscow in 1982. He studied Graphic Arts at the Moscow State University of Printing, and Animation at the School-studio SHAR. His animations have won many awards, including a special prize at Berlinale film festival in 2014. Leonid is also a children’s book illustrator.

What gave birth to the surreal humour of Pearfall, for example the transitions between scenes featuring a laughing Teddy Roosevelt? I like very much this narrative style. I like odd stuff. There is no special meaning about Roosevelt, I just looked for something that won’t have any connection with a film, something without meaning and logic and I found him.

There’s something slightly unsettling about it. Would you personally consider this to be a kid’s film? When I was making the film I had no plan about the audience. I enjoyed the process and nothing else. But after, when it was finished and I visited several screenings of my film, I found out that it works great for kids. But I would not forbid adults to watch it.

Pearfall’s art style is very simple, although you’ve produced work with much more detail in the past. How much more challenging is it to portray expression and mood with such basic design? It’s much more easier for me to work with simple graphics because I can do it faster. It’s easier to make expressions and mood, but from the other hand basic design reduces the range and depth of feelings. So in my experience basic design works better for comedy and conception films but it works worse if you deal with dramatic stories with feelings.

The sound design of Pearfall fits well with its odd nature. How much of this was inspired by the animation, or conversely did your idea of sounds come before the design of the characters? I usually do it almost simultaneously. I do the draft scene and immediately test it with sounds. Especially voice. I like to make the voice for my characters. It’s difficult to distinguish from where the idea comes, I don’t control this process generally. But one thing I can say for certain. Sound is much more easier to do, but it’s a half of the film.

Pearfall screens before Elf, December.

Glasgow Short Film Festival’s Shorts In Support scheme aims to revive the tradition of the supporting short film by distributing eight fantastic new short films (including two selected by the Scottish Queer International Film Festival) to cinemas and film societies to screen before features during autumn/winter 2018. Shorts in Support is supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network.