Searchlight: Carlos De Carvalho

Don’t squash bugs, it just ain’t worth the guilt. That’s the take-home message from the shadow puppet-inspired music Do I Have Power from director Carlos De Carvalho. We caught up with the illustrator-turned-animator to find out more about his beautiful work that explores the light and dark of childhood.

What inspired the Timbre Timbre video?
First of all, I liked their music. I love the atmosphere Timber Timbre create which is dark but never depressing. I chose the visual technique (Chinese shadows, etc) because I had a lack of time to create the video…

I always work on the childhood universe, it is a reccurent thing about me. I combined this with the lyrics’ main idea “Do I have power over it ?”.

The film seems to capture the adventurousness and the fragility of childhood – how much did you draw on your own childhood experiences?
Each of us had to face this situation during our childhood, being in front of an insect and deciding to kill it or not… So did I. But I immediately felt guilty. I represent this feeling with the young boy in the video: his guilt takes him over as he realizes everything is alive around him.

What was the trickiest technical challenge you faced making this film?
This film is based on quite simple techniques. We mixed 2D and 3D and took advantage of both of them. In purely technical terms, the trickiest part was dealing with the swarms of insects. But the main challenge for us was more about the visual aspect; we had to make sure that nature would look alive and full of movement.

What is it about animation that you love?
Basically I am an illustrator. But I was convinced that illustration was “not enough” in a way. Animation came naturally to me as a way to make picture more accessible. Thanks to the TV, the cinema, and on top of it all Internet, it has nowadays become an outgoing media. So I decided to work in animation, willing to endow it with as much art and visual quality as possible. And I always hope to affect a large number of people.

I love your L’Histoire Rouge teaser – can you tell me about it?
While Do I have power is quite masculine, Rouge is more feminine. It is based on Aude’s (my working partner) childhood souvenirs. It is a story about fragility and death discovery. We created this teaser within a few months together, working besides our actual jobs. It was quite exhausting.
We have to work a bit further on the story and would love to get financial support to achieve it.

As an artist, what inspires you?
Everything. Any artistic expression, books, illustrations, photography, sculpture, films, animation… Whatever I see inspires me. I am picture-bulimic.

What would be your dream commission?
My aim is not to work on a long feature or on advertising or on short film… I have no particular expectations about that. What really matters for me is to create an achieved visual film with a relevant direction.”

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