Cannes Film Festival
24th Cinéfondation 2021

Lukas von Berg 
SAINT ANDROID
FILMAKADEMIE BADEN-WÜRTTEMBERG - GERMANY   
instagram.com/sketchberg
GERMANY - 6 min

It’s the future, Norman’s wife is dying. In these final moments, he calls for guidance - but it’s not what he asked for.

Hi Lukas, thank you for talking to TNC, how have you been keeping during these strange Covid times?

Hi, in the first covid year, I actually finished the film, which meant staying home focused on my computer most of the time. Fortunately the technical director of the project, Enzio Probst, created a remote pipeline for us in about two days. When the cabin fever took over I drew small pandemic inspired cartoons. 


Have you been inspired to take on any new creative opportunities?

Yes, the film was supposed to be an emotional story composed of comical and tragic elements. The film also had to be not much longer than five minutes, because the animation took very long. If a film is very intense and short, so how will the audience experience it? As a team we put most effort on the moment when the film actually over. 


How much did your time and experience at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg prepare you for your filmmaking journey?


I spend almost six entire years at the Filmakademie. It is sort of  studio environment simulation, where you form teams and learn how to work with other artists creatively. That is an intense team experience where you could really learn how to appreciate every team member in their own profession. It also introduces you to tough crunch times, high expectations and the necessity to do self management.   

Congratulations on Saint Android being selected for the 24th Cinéfondation, what does it mean to you to have your film part of this year's festival?

Thank you very much! I am very honoured to be the first representative of the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in the Cinéfondation Selection. One of the perks of covid times is that I had no chance to test the finished film with any audience. The Cinéfondation jury selecting and screening it now at the greatest international film festival, is more than I could have hoped for.


As well as director Saint Android you also were responsible for the animation and set decoration, how do you manage all these creative roles on a film like this?

By giving the different tasks strict deadlines. Farina Hasak the editor put my storyboards  into an animatic and after a lot of iterations, we finished it and never touched it again. As animator I had the task to work with the frame range given by the animatic and didn't allow myself to go back in the process. 

Since the character animation was really dear to me, I asked another animator, my partner Damaris Zielke to give me feedback on every shot. She really helped me to push the quality of my work further.

Can you tell me how Saint Android came about, what inspired this animation?

Because of my abilities and me wanting to improve them, I just said from the start that there is going to be 2D and CG character animation combined in the film. The rest almost rose out of necessity. Doing a good rig for an old man is very hard can take ages -> just draw it and enjoy doing expressive faces. Drawing a robot with almost geometrical limbs is very hard and can go terribly wrong - just do it as a CG character.


What was it about Fabién Virayie script that interested you so much as a filmmaker?

Fabién and I developed the script together. I really wanted to work with him because, we set out to write comedy and we share the same sense of dark humour. It went a bit too tragic for most the jokes, but Fabién is also very strong in his emotional storytelling, so that we could find the right tune for it.


How important is the collaborative nature of filmmaking when working on a short animation like Saint Android?

Every creative mind is an incredible benefit to a film. Especially when you focus on tiny details like single frames - which you do a lot in animation - it amazing when a different artist with a different background picks up on your ideas and creates something new that enhances your creative process.


Have you always had a passion for filmmaking and animation?

"Mommy, when I grow up I want to draw at Disney's" I said when I was seven. My mom said, that was really cute. If you say that again in your 20s, mums somehow don't think it's that cute anymore.

saint_andoid_still_2.jpg

"Find out what is good about their work and what it is that appeals to you personally was my way of doing it."

How different was your approach to  Saint Android compared to your award-winning animation L'Aria del Moscerino?

"L'Aria del Moscerino" is basically one joke told three times in four minutes. "Saint Android" has a clear dramaturgic structure where the emotional struggle had to lead to a conclusion. It also had multiple angles of one topic which we had to combine to one story. There was much fine tuning to do, so that it fit together. 


Is there any advice or tips you would offer a fellow animator?

I tried to learn from the great animation masters, but didn't copy them. Find out what is good about their work and what it is that appeals to you personally was my way of doing it. Otherwise just do animation as much as you can and ask for feedback from other artists you admire.


And finally, what do you want audiences will take away from Saint Android?

I hope the audiences will think that a robots like Saint Android should never be build and that the care of people needs time and the compassion of a fellow human who is able to listen.