Weeds (2017 film)

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Weeds
Directed byKevin Hudson
Produced byBrad Simonsen
Music byDale Turner
Edited byMichael Weissman
Release date
  • September 8, 2017 (2017-09-08)
Running time
3 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Weeds is a 2017 American all-CG animation short film, an animated short film which a group of Walt Disney Animation Studios artists did in their personal time.[2] Written and directed by Kevin Hudson, Weeds uses Computer-generated imagery and 3D to tell a story about empathy and the struggle and distance someone may have to travel—against all odds—to find a better life.[3]

Premise[edit]

The plight of Weeds' dandelion protagonist is a metaphor for people stuck in terrible living conditions (war, poverty, starvation, lack of opportunity and hope).[4][5]

Production[edit]

Conception and writing[edit]

"The inspiration for the story came when I was out front of my house pulling weeds that pop up in my lawn. I looked across my driveway at my neighbor's yard, which was never watered, and the lawn is dead with only a few dying dandelions clinging to the edge of the sidewalk. I thought to myself, 'It's no wonder dandelions keep popping up in my yard, because if I were a plant in her yard, I'd want to be in my yard too!' Suddenly, I had this incredible feeling of empathy for these little plants, and what it must feel like to be in a yard without any water looking across that scalding driveway and seeing a yard where the grass truly is greener. I realized that I could use this metaphor to describe the plight of people stuck in terrible living conditions (war, poverty, starvation, lack of opportunity and hope) and say something about having compassion. And this would be a very artistic way to say it."
— Writer/Director Kevin Hudson on his inspiration behind Weeds.[6]

The story for Weeds came to Kevin Hudson during the summer of 2016 when there was so much anger directed by people towards Syrian Refugees and Mexican Immigrants. He felt a great desire to say something through his art about the need to have greater empathy for people, who by no fault of their own are stuck in a terrible situation and want nothing more than to have a better life if not for themselves, then for their children.[7]

Animation[edit]

Weeds' production team consisted of 40+ artists,[8] using animation software like Maya, Houdini, Hyperion and Nuke.[9] To inject personality and life in the film's dandelion central character, some of the animators filmed themselves "acting out" the performance of the dandelion, to explore and prepare for their shots.[10] One animator, Wayne Unten, executed a hand-drawn animation pass for his shots to create a foundation for his CG animation, as his was one of the most complicated in the film (a moment where the dandelion pulls itself out of the ground and leaps skyward), requiring some inventive rigging.[11]

Character design[edit]

Weeds' central dandelion character posed many unique performance challenges, among them: The lack of human facial features meant that all of its feelings needed to be communicated through body language—the orientation of the flower petals, and the character stopping moving for select moments—so the audience could imagine it thinking.[12] Since the main dandelion character is a metaphor for a Human, and the primary theme of the film is "empathy for immigrants and refugees," the dandelion needed a human-like silhouette; two leaves became arms, while the leaves on its back appear much like a backpack.[13] Carefully researching the life cycle of a dandelion also helped the Weeds' crew incorporate crucial details in its appearance—how it grows and reproduces, among other things—as its story unfolded. [14]

The Music[edit]

Weeds' original score was created by Dale Turner (songwriter), who used a little guitar from Bolivia called a Charango to represent the dandelion's onscreen presence.[15] In an interview conducted by Animation World Network, writer/director Kevin Hudson elaborates: "As the film has themes surrounding immigration and refugees, this little guitar from South America just fit perfectly. It has this wonderful hopeful and slightly sad sound to it. It provides the soul of the main character, and also represents the life of the water."[16]

Release[edit]

Weeds premiered in Encino, CA at Laemmle Theatres Town Center 5 on September 8, 2017.[17] Immediately following its release, Weeds screened at numerous film festivals, including the Palm Springs International Film Festival (November 9, 2017).[18] The complete short was released on Vimeo on November 11, 2017, for a two-week run before resuming its film festival screenings.[19]

Accolades[edit]

Weeds is the first animated short film to be completed within the Filmmakers Co-op at Disney Feature Animation.[20]

Weeds was one of three "commended" (extra) films included in 2018 OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS: ANIMATED SHORTS, the theatrical release of five Academy Award nominated animated shorts (Dear Basketball, Garden Party, Lou, Negative Space, and Revolting Rhymes) nominated for the 90th Academy Awards[21]. (Released February 9, 2018; distributor ShortsTV.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WEEDS (2017)". imdb.com. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  2. ^ "'Weeds': The Making of an Animated Short Film". vanarts.com. November 2, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2017. Weeds, the first animated short completed within the Filmmakers Co-op program at Walt Disney Animation Studios, screened at Vancouver’s Spark Animation Festival the day before.
  3. ^ "'WEEDS an animated short by Disney animator Kevin Hudson". psiaf.org. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017. Kevin is very passionate about Human Rights and recently journeyed to Washington DC to take part in the Equality March. He hopes that if he can get people to feel compassion for something as small and insignificant as the little plant in this film, then perhaps he can help them to have greater empathy for their fellow Human Beings.
  4. ^ "The Making of 'Weeds,' a Short Film by Kevin Hudson". cgsociety.org. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017. I realized that I could use this metaphor to describe the plight of people stuck in terrible living conditions (war, poverty, starvation, lack of opportunity and hope) and say something about having compassion.
  5. ^ "The Story". weedsshort.com. September 8, 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2017. “Weeds” tells the story of a dandelion, rooted on the wrong side of the driveway...
  6. ^ "The Making of 'Weeds,' a Short Film by Kevin Hudson". cgsociety.org. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017. The inspiration for the story came when I was out front of my house pulling weeds that pop up in my lawn...
  7. ^ "The Story". weedsshort.com. September 8, 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2017. The story for Weeds came to Kevin during the summer of 2016...
  8. ^ "'Weeds': The Making of an Animated Short Film". vanarts.com. November 2, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2017. Their production team for the short film consisted of 40 artists from 40 different countries, using softwares like Maya, Houdini, Hyperion and Nuke.
  9. ^ "'Weeds': The Making of an Animated Short Film". gnomon.edu. November 8, 2017. Retrieved November 8, 2017. Created primarily using Maya, Houdini, Hyperion and Nuke...
  10. ^ "'Weeds': The Making of an Animated Short Film". cgsociety.org. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017. Some of our animators liked to record themselves acting out the performance of the dandelion...
  11. ^ "'Weeds': The Making of an Animated Short Film". cgsociety.org. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017. Some of our animators liked to record themselves acting out the performance of the dandelion...
  12. ^ "'Weeds': The Making of an Animated Short Film". cgsociety.org. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017. One of the biggest challenges performance-wise was that our main character has no human facial features...
  13. ^ "'Weeds': The Making of an Animated Short Film". cgsociety.org. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017. Since the Main Character is a metaphor for a Human, and the primary theme of the film is about empathy for immigrants and refugees, the Dandelion needed a silhouette similar to a person.
  14. ^ "A Labor of Love: Disney Artists Work After Hours to Create 'Weeds' Short". awn.com. November 14, 2017. Retrieved November 14, 2017. Producer Brad Simonsen, and Animation Supervisor Hyun-Min Lee insisted that the film be true to the life-cycle of a dandelion so we spent a lot of time researching and understanding how a dandelion grows and reproduces.
  15. ^ "A Labor of Love: Disney Artists Work After Hours to Create 'Weeds' Short". awn.com. November 14, 2017. Retrieved November 14, 2017. Dale Turner wrote the score for the film. The primary instrument used was a little guitar from Bolivia called a Charango.
  16. ^ "A Labor of Love: Disney Artists Work After Hours to Create 'Weeds' Short". awn.com. November 14, 2017. Retrieved November 14, 2017. As the film has themes surrounding immigration and refugees, this little guitar from South America just fit perfectly. It has this wonderful hopeful and slightly sad sound to it. It provides the soul of the main character, and also represents the life of the water.
  17. ^ "New Releases". Laemmle.com. September 8, 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2017. Played at Town Center 5, 9.08.17 - 9.14.17
  18. ^ "DETAILED SCREENING SCHEDULE". psiaf.org. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017. 1-3pm Special Screening of "Weeds" by Disney Animation Team
  19. ^ "The Making of 'Weeds,' a Short Film by Kevin Hudson". cgsociety.org. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017. We will also be posting the entire film online for a limited time at WeedsShort.com from November 12th – 26th. As we are still doing the festival circuit, we can only do a limited release
  20. ^ "'Weeds': The Making of an Animated Short Film". vanarts.com. November 2, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2017. Weeds, the first animated short completed within the Filmmakers Co-op program at Walt Disney Animation Studios, screened at Vancouver’s Spark Animation Festival the day before.
  21. ^ "2018 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Animation': Film Review". hollywoodreporter.com. February 7, 2018. Retrieved February 7, 2018. The program's theatrical release also includes three animated short films (Lost Property Office, Weeds and Achoo)...

External links[edit]