Pitch

Caroline and Rasmus are in a mess. They have not had sex for four months. To Caroline’s great dismay Rasmus believes the answer is to be found at the local swingers club, and Caroline reluctantly agrees to go with him to the club in an attempt to save their relationship.

Venus is an erotic comedy about rediscovering one another and finding the spark where you least expect it.

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Art of VENUS

I knew I wanted to do something original for my graduation film. So when my scriptwriter Sissel came to me with the idea of an animation film in a swingers club, I was hooked. For a lot of people animation is about funny animals doing funny stuff in movies for kids, I was pretty surprised how few animators have dealt with sexual and erotic content.

Before we started shooting I did the storyboards myself. I invited in my Editor Rebekka and my Cinematographer Sturla. We talked it through and I made changes from the notes and I invited them in again. It was a great learning experience for me and because of Rebekka’s and Sturla’s live-­‐action backgrounds it got a different feeling to it than a typical animation.

We recorded all voices for the film in one day. The normal way to do this is to put actors in the sound booth and record one performance at a time. The reason for this is to get a good sound quality and not having actors interrupt each other. While getting great technical quality this way you miss the dynamics of a conversation. I wanted the voices to really react and respond to each other, and I reassured my sound designer that they would not interrupt each other. The actors did the voices in pairs and even if one character didn’t have any lines they would be there to support. I was very happy about the result and I am sure it made a huge difference for both the actors and the final product.

When the animators arrived we had arranged a one-­‐week workshop in stop-­‐motion with a veteran stop-­‐motion animator from France called Florian Perinelle. None of us had much experience with stop-­‐motion and it was a pretty scary experience. The first two days was a nightmare. The armatures we had build was way too hard and the clay puppets fell apart when the animators were moving them. We had to build new armatures and luckily Florian helped us out and we managed to produce enough armatures to start shooting after ten days.

One of the most advanced shots in the film was the Hitchcock Vertigo zoom on Caroline having sex with Lars. We did not have any zoom lenses to do the whole shot so we had to change the lens in the middle of the shot. Thank god for image stabilization software! Astrid who did the shot had to animate not just all the characters but also the camera movement, the zoom and the focus.

 

Reviews:

This short student film from Denmark tells a wonderfully sweet story about how to solve the problems in a relationship that has lost it’s spark. It is both insightful, funny and touching. The film mixes simple character design with real sophisticated film making in the animation technique called “claymation”. “VENUS” is very well directed evidenced both the shot choices and the set designs and very well written evidenced by the dialogue that rings true and the overall originality of the piece.”

The Animation Jury of Odense Film Festival

Årgangens absolut bedste film er Tor Fruergaards Venus (…) Filmen er godt skrevet med en inderlig pointe, og Sissel Dalsgaard Thomsens manuskript er fyldt med små humoristiske højdepunkter (…) Det er en mindre genistreg, at Tor Fruergaard fortæller historien med modellervoks i en stil, der leder tanker hen på Claus Deleurans tegnserier. For med sin trinde animationskunst afvæbner instruktøren de ellers grænseoverskridende scenarier, og man griner og føler med de kriseramte kærester. Animationsform og indhold går op i en højere enhed. Otte minutters godt selskab.”

Ekko

Der kommer en særlig sårbarhed ind i filmen netop fordi den er lavet i ler. Måske skyldes det at hele udtryksformen får noget naivistisk over sig. Og måske endda at man selv har et barnagtigt forhold til ler (…) Man kommer i kontakt med sin barndom, mens man ser en modeleret kvinde i en bollegynge (…) Det er en meget sårbar og fin film.

Mikkel Munch-Fals i AK 247

For its creative use of claymation characters to explore sexual adventure and its lighthearted, touching and memorable story.

Grand Jury Sparky Award for Animation

Venus is one of my favorite shorts in the festival (…) It’s really fantastic.”

Penelope Bartlett from Chicago Film Festival

Med kartoffeltud og troskyldigt udstående øjne forlener de små figurer promiskuiteten i klubben med en charmerende uskyld, som man godt kunne unde virkelighedens længselsfulde liderbasser. Dukkefilm, ja, men ikke for børn.”

Søren Vinterberg, Politiken

A claymation couple attempts to reignite their sex life by visiting an illicit swingers lounge. Adultery has never looked so adorable.

Florida Film Festival

Credits:

Director: Tor Fruergaard
Producer: Senia Dremstrup
Scriptwriter: Sissel Dalsgaard Thomsen
DOP: Sturla Brandth Grøvlen
Editor: Rebekka Lønqvist Rønning
Sound design: Jess Wolfsberg
Production design: Jesper Clausen
Character design: Lars Kramhøft
Production manager: Claudia Saginario

Animators:

Rie Nymand
Tue Toft Sørensen
Lars Kristian Sunde
Astrid Lauridsen
Charlotte Worsøe

Voices:

Laura SofiaBach
Pilou Asbæk
Margrethe Koytu
Kitt Maiken Mortensen
Bo Carlsson

Technical:

Animation technique: Claymation
Shooting format: Canon 50D / 500D
Software: Stop-­‐motion Pro
Format: 35 mm / dvd
Picture: 1:1,85
Duration: 08:02:18
Sound: Dolby Digital

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