As with millions across the world, acclaimed animation studio Tonic DNA had to adapt to a new reality in 2020, all whilst trying to maintain optimism in the face of uncertain times.
Over the course of the past year, their team harnessed the resilient spirit of creativity to produce a string of ambitious projects, keeping the flame of great animation alive throughout a turbulent year.
With that in mind, Tonic DNA directors Joe Bluhm and Burcu & Geoffrey created a striking and uplifting animation to see out 2020.
Above: Montreal-based studio Tonic DNA is seeing out 2020 with a timely message of hope and renewal.
For Burcu & Geoffrey, the directorial duo based in France, the message of the film was about simplicity and movement. “Being always in motion, with the camera going through layers of papers in a seamless way from the darkness towards the light. Always going forward, moving on, to go through these hard times. From darkness toward brightness. We wanted to stay with elements of nature, being universal, trying to speak to everyone, with simplicity in the design: keeping essential key elements and not too much detail while giving texture with the layers of paper”.
Aligned with this vision, director Joe Bluhm recalls how the objective was always to deliver an honest piece that would convey a message of hope for what's to come. “We wanted to share a poetic piece which reflected our personal journey in 2020, feeling that it will resonate with everyone. At a time where a cheerful holiday greeting is a custom, we all felt a calling to say something more honest", he notes. "As storytellers, designers, artists, animators, producers, and collaborators, we thrive from the energy of others. Working in teams and in the same room often inspires the ideas and energy needed to create. Yet this year we needed to adapt. Across the entire Earth, we all found ourselves working in a way which clouded our processes. Darkness and obstacles were suddenly in our path, yet we all needed to strive forward to overcome this - or at least make it through and hope that tomorrow will be better".
That desire to deliver an honest but positive message runs like a thread throughout the project. "The more we talked about this project as a team, the more we all found that we can't just show how terrible a pandemic is, and we couldn't simply put on a smile. But this team is positive. This team is optimistic. This team cares about inspiring others through our craft and our ideas, and so we were all inclined to offer a quiet, strong piece which looks back at what this year has been, while moving forward with a message which we believe: that if we all work together, we can have a positive future", he notes. "We considered many quotes from inspiring people, and in the end we chose one which we felt can endure universally beyond this year, and be a message of hope - one which also speaks to the individual. Even with easier years ahead, we all have dark and difficult times in our lives, and this short video is also for those moments, reminding us to lean on friends, help our neighbours find the brighter path, and work together to make it through”.
– Marcel Proust