Indie Spotlight: Cinzia Angelini’s Animated Short Film, MILA

     August 31, 2013


The atrocities of war are an all too common occurrence throughout human history that continue to this day, leaving not only physical devastation in their wake but emotional and spiritual scarring as well.  While governments squabble over the political pros and cons of engaging in warfare and military personnel prepare for the worst, civilians bear the brunt of the casualties no matter how vile or righteous the reasoning is behind the violence.  One such animator touched by the horrors of war is Cinzia Angelini, who hopes to bring to life the stories of her mother and grandmother, and those of the children who suffered as a result of the conflicts of World War II.  While destruction can be a global effort, so too can creation as Angelini has gathered a host of talented artists and animators from around the world for her largely volunteer-based effort, Mila.  Hit the jump for more.

mila-posterMila was brought to my attention by Henry Gomez, who was so smitten with the early looks at the film that he granted some exposure for Angelini‘s project at his currently-running art exhibition in Brighton (UK).  Angelini, who has worked in the feature animation industry for nearly 20 years, has a unique vision for Mila, one that relies on CG animation without striving for photorealism or hard-lined perfection.  Rather, the look of Mila is that of a painting brought to life, with visible brush strokes and blurred edges creating a world that is both imaginatively child-like and realistically war-torn.  While Mila is only intended to be a short film at this point, I’m hoping a feature-length effort is in the future, something to join the related ranks of such acclaimed animated films as Grave of the Fireflies, Persepolis and Waltz with Bashir.  You can find out more about the film at the project’s Facebook page and website.

Watch the beautiful teaser trailer for Angelini’s animated short film here:

And here’s a more recently uploaded video showing off the art of Mila from volunteer artists around the world:

Here’s the synopsis for Mila along with a bit more on Angelini:

“MILA” is a CG animated short that presents the most tragic collateral damage of War – civilians, as its theme. Though often overlooked and rarely mentioned by the media, civilians are the first to be hit, and the last to be remembered.

Inspired by true stories that my mother and grandmother told me growing up, “Mila” is about a little girl caught in the middle of War.

Whether they experienced such tragedy first hand, grew up hearing the stories from relatives, elders or friends (as I did), or simply turned on the news – the story draws in both young, and adult viewers. The tragedy of War unfortunately did not end with the children of World War II. Even today, children continue to suffer from the ravages of conflict in many places around the world. It is their current plight that moves me.

What I envision as the look of this short is best described as “painterly rendering.” After extensive research, it is clear that the look of CG can be pushed in a new direction. It’s possible to create CG painterly characters, in a painterly environment, with matching effects and lighting. While this involves a great amount of R&D, the promising result can be seen in the teaser. Non Photorealistic Rendering (NPR) offers exciting, new opportunities in expression. I believe that an animated short on the unspoken casualties of War is a great opportunity to send a strong, meaningful, and artistic message.

Cinzia Angelini has worked as an animator in productions involving traditional as well as computer animation for more than twenty years.Her body of work includes features like “Spirit”, “Bolt” and Spider-man 2″, the production of the Universal theme park ride for “Despicable Me”, and the role of story artist on the “Minions Movie” at Illumination Entertainment. She currently enjoys working as a story artist at Dreamworks Animation, and is also directing her own independent short film, “Mila”, due out in 2015.

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