After Friday’s auspicious success at the film festival, I interviewed Dennis Kim, not only about his most recent movie, Elliot, but about his passion for the fine arts as a whole. While Elliot isn’t representative of all of Dennis’s work, it is a good starting place to begin talking about his work.
For starters, Elliot is comprised of 1610 hand-drawn frames, and despite the amount of work that goes into all that, Dennis feels that “there is a quality of visible human effort” in hand-drawn animations. He mentioned that older Disney films like Fantasia have that aspect, while “the digital ones of today do not retain such a quality.”
After working on his masterpiece for six months Dennis said that all the “getting up early in the morning and heading to Weber” really paid off, and that it “was totally worth it for the final product.” Yichuan Yan said that sometimes Dennis “worked until 11 O’Clock at night on his drawings;” his commitment to his art is very apparent.
During the film festival some of the audience may have been wondering how Dennis created every frame to flow seamlessly into the next, the cornerstone of hand-made animation. Dennis showed me some of his sketches during our talk, and I had the opportunity to see his experiments with perspective and the designs of the characters.
Even with the reception at the film festival, which Dennis described as “incredible,” he said that he felt “limited” by artistic perspective and by time. Saying “I wish I could have included more,” Dennis expressed his gratitude to Ms. Yuen for helping him cut down the length of the movie – about twelve minutes – even though it caused him more work.
Dennis had to rerecord the voice-over narration with Mr. Brandwood after the movie was trimmed, and was worried that he would have to ask Luke Ciancarelli to rerecord his brilliant composition that carried throughout the entire film.
When asked, Dennis said he was “unsure if [he would] pursue a career in animation,” but that he was certain that he would not want to if it involved being told what to draw, just turning out “five hundred pages a day for a big firm.” He told me that he is interested in working on smaller animations in the future, but he isn’t sure if he is going to have the time to commit to another enormous undertaking like Elliot – though he did say that he was proud of what he considered his “first directorial debut,” as it consisted of working with a narrator, Mr. Brandwood, a composer, Luke Ciancarelli, and an editor, Lukas Dong.
While Dennis may not be sure, his audience will certainly stand again for another release.
(Copyright Tys Sweeney 2015)