“Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage” (Madagascar, a Journey Diary) is one of five animated short films nominated for an Academy Award this year. From a purely artistic standpoint this animated short by French filmmaker Bastien Dubois is compelling to view. Colored pencil and watercolor drawings come to life, so that viewers feel like they’ve stepped into the pages of a traveler’s diary. Dubois undoubtedly achieved this using a rotoscoping technique in Adobe After Effects — a process of drawing masks, animating the path and then using the masks to define a matte.
For a questionnaire from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Dubois says that it took him three to four years to complete the 12 minute animated film. For Dubois, his most memorable moment came when screening the film to the villagers where the story takes place. “This village is very remote,” Dubois explains, “so I rented a bus to take everyone to a theater in the closest town. When we got there, the projector was not working. We had to wait 45 long minutes. I had taken the Malagasian musicians to the movie as well. They did not understand that they were going to see a movie, but they thought we would record more songs. So they brought their instruments and started playing. It was amazing! Everybody was dancing in the theater! Finally, we got the projector fixed and we were able to see the movie. Everybody was extremely moved. It was the first time they ever saw a movie, and the movie was talking about them…”
The winner of the Animated Short Film category will be announced at the Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles on February 27th. Here’s a clip from “Madagascar.”