“It's an art. It takes practice, start simply, start with you”
Welcome to the official blog for Figuration’s first independent film, Nude Triumphant; a vibrant, multi-coloured celebration of identity, embodiment, and presence. Over the next seven months we will be keeping our readers updated on every step of the filmmaking process, from conception to production all the way up to the launch event, The Starkers Academy Ball, which will take place at the Brighton Fringe Festival on Sunday 17th May 2020. Save the date!
Nude Triumphant is a project which is close to Figuration’s hearts - our roots are in community-based art activities and initiatives, with life drawing being a particular focus, so when we thought about what kind of story we most wanted to tell, it seemed almost to reveal itself voluntarily. The film is directly inspired by the insights and experiences of our co-founder and head writer, Roy Joseph Butler, as well as three other life models (Maya Williams, Valentina Rock, and Matthew Oghene), all of whom have found validation through modelling. Once these four connected over their art, they were able to devise a story which co-founder, artist and director Leo Crane envisioned animating using a technique true to the narrative: painting from life in watercolour. With Celia Atkin on board as Executive Producer (who steered us to adopt the project's eye-catching title), we submitted a bid to Arts Council England. A few weeks ago, we were delighted to receive the news that they had agreed a National Lottery Project Grant to fund this ambitious collaboration - we were off!
Once the funding was confirmed, the first thing that had to be hammered out was the script. Roy prepared a draft, which underwent the heavy scrutiny of Leo and Abigail Addison, our producer, before being subsequently refined and doctored with the help of performer Jo Calderwood, model/actress Maya Williams and writer/animator Patrick Yates. From here Leo and Patrick began work on adapting that script into a storyboard, and subsequently an animatic (rough, timed moving pictures). What was clear from the start was that, to make this the best, most visually stunning film possible, we would need to get some premium artistic and animating talent on board - to that end, we arranged for live illustrator Aaron Jacob-Jones and award-winning animator Haemin Ko to join the growing team of collaborators. Aaron is an expert watercolourist with a passion for life drawing, so his inclusion was an exciting prospect and easy choice; likewise, Haemin Ko’s uniquely brilliant animated film No Body (2019), with its themes of bodily alienation and self-discovery in the big city, made her a perfect fit for our project. We’ve also lined up Andy Humphreys and Andrew Hayes, to work on the sound design and music respectively.
With the writing and storyboarding developed and our collaborators lined up, we will now be developing a draft sound design to influence the beat and mood of the film. We will also be testing a new animation process, which combines physical watercolour painting from life with experimental digital techniques. So the first stage will be… a whole lot of painting and experimenting. Wish us luck!