The creatives at BBC have launched their Christmas 2017 short film The Supporting Act, which runs throughout the Christmas period in key junctions between programmes.
“The story is about an emotional connection between a girl and her dad,” Director Elliot Dear says. “We wanted to make a film that had the charming, handmade qualities of stop-motion animation, the tiny imperfections that let you know it’s been done for real…The aim was to combine this with CG animation – which we used for the faces – in order to capture the tiny nuances of human facial expressions, enabling the characters to be very emotive without the use of dialogue.”
The new advert was made with a mixture of stop motion and CGI animation – the figures were created with traditional stop-motion models, but the facial expressions were computer generated.
Puppet makers MacKinnon & Saunders (who have worked on Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride) made the figurines, while set builders Clockwork Frog provide the backdrop.
Despite striving to create an accurate depiction of British family life, there is still a touch of magic at the heart of the film. When the dad joins his daughter’s performance, the real world falls away as they dance against a backdrop of colourful lights. For a moment it is just the two of them together.
“We want the UK to love this short film that we made and to feel good after watching it,” Härnqvist says.
“We want to give them a proper Christmas feeling.”
No snow or fantasy was needed to achieve that – just a tenacious level of craft.