Teen’s Film To Hit Top Festival


Ottawa Citizen
July 24 2008

Class project makes shortlist of ‘one of toughest festivals in world’

There’s a good reason why Will Inrig’s first animated film is set in
partial darkness. "It’s easier to film," says Will, a 17-year-old
Canterbury High School graduate whose low-budget, low-tech effort
for his media arts class has been selected to compete in the Ottawa
International Animation Festival in September.

The Depose of Bolskivoi Hovhannes will compete in the high school
category against films from Sweden, South Korea, the United States
and a second from Canada.

The festival attracted a record number of submissions this year –
2,149 – and 105 were chosen.

Being selected is quite a coup, says Kelly Neall, the festival’s
managing director. "This is one of the toughest festivals in the
world to get into."

The story of how and why The Depose of Bolskivoi Hovhannes came to be
made is almost as quirky as the five-and-a-half minute film itself,
which tells the story of an Armenian shepherd on a wind-swept heath
whose sheep begin to mysteriously disappear.

Will admits it was a last-minute decision to enrol for a media arts
class at Canterbury last fall, instead of physics. Then he was dismayed
to discover he was expected to produce a piece of computer-generated

"It’s not the sort of person I am," he says Mr. Inrig, adding that
he doesn’t find it satisfying to create "with the click of a mouse"
and gets his best ideas from dreams.

Teacher Robert Perry allowed Will to opt for old-fashioned,
labour-intensive stop-action animation, but he issued a warning:
"We don’t have money, or studios or facilities."

The resourceful student kept it simple and substituted hard work
for technology. With the help of classmates, he constructed sets and
armatures (characters).

The characters moved on a metal track, held there by magnets in their
wooden feet.

The animation is actually thousands of still photographs strung
together. Will and his crew would take a photograph, then move the
action along by a fraction, and then take another photograph.

The most difficult scene was when the shepherd character, made of
clay, wire and putty, descends a long rope into a very deep hole in
the ground.

"It took an impossible amount of time," says Will.

The story is darkly humorous and the setting minimalist, so the dim
lighting is appropriate.

Will gained area attention last July when The Exceptional Jivatma
Valettas, his documentary about the family that lives next door,
was screened at Library and Archives Canada.

He is now in pre-production for The Fantastic Ballet of the Mind and
its Master.

This film will be an examination of autism, inspired by his younger
brother, who is autistic.