Adelaide-based animation house ANIFEX has struck upon some fantastic times recently. The company has just found out that their short stop motion film, ‘Sleight of Hand’ has been nominated for the 2nd AACTA Awards in the category of Best Short Animation.
The film, written, directed and animated by Michael Cusack, took a year to make and Michael is over the Moon at the nomination. The AACTA's are a very big deal in that they are the premiere film awards in Australia. Just to be nominated is a real honour. The awards themselves will be presented at a gala event in Sydney in early January.
The title ‘Sleight of Hand’ refers to "A set of techniques used by someone to manipulate objects secretly to deceive." We can't think of a better description of stop-motion animation. Plus there is a certain magic involved in seeing an inanimate puppet moving around as if alive.
"Stop motion is a very time consuming technique, where a puppet is moved a slight amount and a frame of film is taken. The puppet is moved a tiny amount again and another frame taken and so on. It takes 25 moves to create one second of action."
The film took just under one year to complete as it had to be shot around commitments to shooting TV commercials and is just under ten minutes long.
Sleight of Hand is composed of over 14,000 individual images!
"The film is very personal for me," Cusack said. "I love stop motion as an art form because of its eccentricities, sure, it can be jerky and stilted sometimes, but the characters can be given such personality and warmth."
This nomination is hard on the heels of the animation company’s success at the recent AADC (Adelaide Advertising and Design Club) awards, where Michael took out two major awards for their most recent "Schmackos " commercial. Schmackos are a popular dog treat in Australia and are something of an advertising icon and Anifex has been animating the commercials for over ten years now.