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January 2019: Citipati

In Citipati (Director: Andreas Feix | Producer: Francesco Faranna) we follow a dinosaur in his last moments, in which he, in an inhospitable world, succumbs to the effects of fatigue and his injuries. With his last breath, his world of thought unfolds, and his last impressions merge with his memories to a very personal end. Director Andreas Feix tells us about the history of the film and what happened afterwards.

"As someone who grew up surrounded by dinosaurs and discovered his enthusiasm for cinema through watching the Jurassic Park series, it doesn't seem surprising that dinosaurs would become the main subject of my graduation film. The saurian influence had definitely left its traces throughout previous projects at Filmakademie, and the first ideas for a prehistoric short film were already developed halfway during studies.

An early concept would've actually been about a clumsy egg thief told in a more cartoony style, before the second iteration shifted towards depicting the tragic final moments of one of the last dinosaurs. Although the main interest was about crafting some impressive visual imagery, during another revision of the concept the dinosaur itself and its struggle for survival became the focus, which helped giving the film its emotional core. From the very first idea though the main character didn't change in its design, based on real-life species Citipati – which in the end also gave the film its title.

Both for me and Francesco it became apparent pretty quickly that the project would have some high demands: Not only because of the desired realism for the visuals & animation, but also due to the fact that the film was going to be produced in stereo 3D – all of which ended up being mostly the work of a single person. Therefore the main goal during production was about efficiency, regardless of the discipline: For example, a lot of animation & surface details for the character & its surroundings were either automated or generated procedurally. Later on I was fortunate to receive support from my colleague Natalia Freitas, who would take care of dinosaur's and side characters' textures.

The film's animation was finished as soon as possible during a short but intense period of 10 weeks, not only to lock down the cut early on but to also provide music & sound design with enough time to do their work. A particular highlight during post production was a trip to Babelsberg for several days, in order to experience the recording of the film's score as it was played by a live orchestra.

Although there was some hope during production that Citipati might have a positive reception, we could've never dreamed of the actual outcome: To our surprise the film won two of the highest industry accolades – a VES Award as well as an Annie Award, which is an unique achievement in itself. Apart from that its success continued on worldwide, with a slew of more accolades and up to 160 festival screenings to boot. This has of course garnered attention in the world of visual effects, which is why I've been working for a few years in London since, and had the chance to work on several Hollywood productions at some of the more well-known VFX companies. This includes the latest entry in the Jurassic Park film series, and if I'm lucky it wasn't the last time just yet...”


Team:

Director: Andreas Feix
Producer: Francesco Faranna
Production Assistant: Francesco de Tulio
Texturing: Natalia Alencar
Concept/Artwork: Manolya Külköylü
Concept/Artwork: Pia Auteried
Typography: Agon Ushaku
Film Music: Petteri Sainio
Sound Design: Michael Böger
Foley Artist: Luis Schöffend
Additional Sound Mixing: Adriana Espinal Ortiz
Additional Sound Mixing: Marvin Keil