Creative in association withGear Seven

Blue Zoo’s ‘Via’ is Environment Design At its Most Beautiful

London, UK
Animation tells one man’s story in defining moments, against a backdrop of stunning landscapes and scenery

Directed by Concept Artist Izzy Burton, Via is rich with Izzy’s beautiful, trademark environments, which emanate and evolve to reflect the moment in the story.

Inspired by a poem by Rachel Cladingbowl about life’s complex journey, the story follows the physical and metaphorical progress of one man’s life.

We witness milestones - love, life and death - against the ever-changing backdrop that goes full-circle until his next chapter.  

Izzy collaborated with the animators and artists at Blue Zoo to create a short which experiments in storytelling and animation, without seeing the characters faces.

The outcome is extremely successful as the characters exude feeling and emotion through their movement and poses alone, despite baring very little detail.       

In Latin ‘Via’ means ‘way’ or ‘road’, and today we know it as meaning ‘by way of’. The story is about appreciating the moments both good and bad ‘by way of’ life’s road, and cherishing the important people in life. Representing the ‘bigger picture’ are the vast, beautiful environments, influenced by time Izzy spent in America and her love of nature.

“When I feel overwhelmed with life, the world around me provides some type of healing; I love to go stand by the river in London or at the end of my garden at my family home and take in how beautiful the world is and how lucky I am to be a part of it, and it truly makes me so happy.”

Izzy Burton, Director states:

"The film contains strong symbolism throughout. The ball is passed throughout the film, ending with the son; the time of day changes as the years pass by; the scene is deserted and almost post-apocalyptic when the couple are alone, sharpening our focus on their relationship and not the day-to-day.

The colours are also nuanced to help tell the tale; a colour repeated in the most intimate scenes, a brightness when the son is on screen, and muted, sepia-tones as memories seem to fade. Blue Zoo worked on the beautiful soundtrack with composer, Vince Webb.   

"My work has always been described as whimsical and poetic, and I think that's why I ended up finding a poem to narrate the story. I wanted my love for environment painting to assist the story, and see how we could tell an emotional tale using such small characters with no facial expressions. It was a great challenge and I hope we've managed to make a film that evokes some emotion in the viewer!"

Rachel Cladingbowl, Poet, said:

“For me, it is a poem about the complexities of the human journey; a path both rocky and smooth with unforeseen obstacles to overcome. Indeed, some obstacles can seem so huge that we think we will never cope at all, yet somehow we can still come out the other side, smiling again.”

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