Friday, June 17, 2011

MIAF Feature: Zero - Christopher Kezelos

(Image source: all image provided by Christopher Kezelos)
Friday's MIAF feature is with Christopher Kezelos talking about his short film Zero.

Zero will be screening at the Melbourne International Animation Festival on Saturday 25th June at 4:15pm as part of the Australian Showcase.

Can you tell us a little about the story of Zero and some of the concepts and themes within the film?

When throwing around concepts for the film, Christine Kezelos the film's Producer and I kept coming back to the idea of a world of numbers. We felt the imagery held ripe potential for a fairytale and allowed us to explore themes of oppression and prejudice that has dominated cultures throughout human history. Even on an individual level, we have all felt marginalised or out cast in one way or another and we knew that this would strike a chord in audiences. We also wanted to show that through the power of love and through the desire to make a difference, one person can change their own lives and the lives of others.

Can you tell us a little about what inspired the look of the film? What made you decide to use stop motion animation instead of other animation techniques?

I had been going through a macro photography phase. The rich textures and short depths of field lent itself perfectly towards stop motion animation and was accesible through my stills camera. Christine and I imagined that characters made of 'wool' would be ideal for this medium, up close the individual fibres and detail was so appealing .

Working with such a low budget, stop motion animation was an accessible technique for us. As we don't have any 2D/3D skills, this was something we could physically do ourselves.

Could you talk a little on the process of developing the main characters and how they came to the final result on screen? Did you have many different prototypes, how did you make them?

Zero and all of the characters are made from wire armatures set in silicone casts. We initially started with 10 cm and 15 cm tall prototypes but we were unable to obtain the desired range of movement. Our final characters were approximately 25 - 30cm tall. Once the puppets went through the armature, mold and casting production line, they were then passed onto Christine who put on her Fabrication hat and individually wrapped each one strand-by-strand with wool. This took 3 months full time to complete 27 characters which we then interchanged with 40+ heads and numbers.

As Zero was in every scene his armature often snapped (sometimes mid shot) thus he required multiple stunt doubles. In the end there were 6 Zeros created, where all the knots, criss crossed wool and coloured thread needed to be matched exactly.

Are there any future projects you can tell us about - stop motion or otherwise?

Zealous Creative have just completed post production on their latest stop motion animation, 'The Maker'. It's a story about a strange creature who races against time to create the most important and beautiful creation of his life. You can watch the trailer at To see behind the scenes pics, keep up to date with news and screening info, visit

We also have a number of projects in different stages of development including a feature stop motion animation and live action TV series.

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