16 November, 2009

BAF 09 Day 4: Priit Pärn

One of the best things about the Bradford Animation Festival is the way that special guests from all over the world get the kind of exposure that television and conventional cinemas in this country cannot offer. This gives the audience a chance to sample the work of artists that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy.

This year was no exception: delegates have been able to view the films of esteemed Estonian animator Priit Pärn and listen to him in conversation with Prof. Paul Wells, making the work of this animator more accessible to an audience of students and young animation fans.

Parn started his career as a biologist whilst creating cartoons and pictures as a sideline. Gradually, as interest in his more creative work increased his workload he managed to move into animation full time and made his first film ‘Is The Earth Round?’ in 1977. The film was subject to scandal as the producers, the state film department, used it for propaganda purposes, however, little did the state know that Parn made his own films without their knowledge using the resources earmarked for more propaganda.

Parn's cartoons and etchings have a unique style that would later translate over into his film work; “Every picture is a small film” (a direct quote of his) gives you an idea as to how this man's approach to his caricature work made the leap to film all the more successful.

Those viewing Pärn's style may seem familiar with it, indeed his work has been embraced by the creators of such animations as ‘Rugrats’ and ‘AAAHH! Real Monsters’; Pärn's colour pallet and approach to character design has clearly had an effect on the production of animation. Parn admitted to drawing all his ideas from his head, rather than from life or reference, something that has helped him develop his style in a most creative fashion, without many restrictions from outside sources.

Back in his home country Pärn is able to use his appeal in order to now create whatever he wishes. When a client approaches him for an advertisement he is able to create unhindered, a clear demonstration of the success of his style.

Before screening his films at BAF Pärn insisted that his animation has no symbolism and that he's only interested in telling the story. Additionally, he likes films to be cleverer than the person watching, so that the audience is kept guessing. These are two perspectives that any young students should take on board in the creation of their own films.


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