100 SECONDS ON THE RED SOFA: Balance
In Balance, bright cheery Zadie and brooding gloomy Elijah find themselves at odds when they cross paths one day, both determined to mark their own playground. Through the use of distinct animation styles, Zadie and Elijah come to life as they fight for their own freedom of expression, and learn an important lesson along the way.
Balance received the award for Best Animation under the Media Student Category at the National Youth Film Awards 2019.
Balance draws inspiration from the neat happy drawings in Cindy Wang’s picture book I See Eye See and the straight geometrical blocks of Kasimir Malevich’s painting House Under Construction. With such contrasting visual styles, Director Raymond Limantara Sutisna and Lead Animator Liao Zhibin conveyed the tension and difference that lead to their vision of having a climactic fight sequence being fulfilled.
Zhibin talked about how the project came together as a three-person collaborative effort with Art Director Tracy Quek Kai Ning. When it became clear that having them work on all stages of the film production together was not feasible, they had decided that the best way was to have each of them work on different aspects of the short film.
With Raymond’s storyboards, they took on specific roles: Raymond worked on drawing Zadie, Zhibin focused on animating Elijah, while Tracy did the backgrounds and effects. “Three of us had something that we were strong in that we were doing for the project,” Zhibin said. Since they worked on separate parts, it was especially rewarding for them to see the entire film come together as a complete piece.
For Raymond, the most challenging part was making what he imagined into reality. “Especially so during the storyboarding process,” he admitted. “Because sometimes when you can imagine it, it doesn’t mean that you can draw it.”
While Zhibin found the most fun in doing the fight scene, Raymond shared that his favourite part of the project was working on Zadie. He said, “I think her hair is a bit larger than life, like the way it bounces and squishes. It’s just very fun to bring to life.”
Raymond hopes that Balance will be able to give people more reason to invest in the animation genre, with all the theatrics and possibilities the medium offers. He aspires for people to see that such a level of detailed animation can be produced in the local animation industry, in “a small country, a small industry”. His future works? “I just want to make films that make your eyes dance,” he shrugged.
For Zhibin, her sincere hope: “I would want to make films that can pull the audience’s emotions along with it.” She wishes that Balance can be an inspiration for people to want to make animation films to tell their stories. While honing her skills in her current job, Zhibin looks towards her goal as an animator who produces films that viewers find enjoyable.
As Balance makes its way around a few international screenings this year, look forward to viewing it sometime in 2020!
About 100 Seconds On The Red Sofa
100 Seconds On The Red Sofa shines the spotlight on movers and shakers in the Singapore film and media scene, with each episode featuring people that are making waves and contributing to the industry’s growth and enrichment.
The Red Sofa has come a long way and has a rich history, dating all the way back to Sinema Old School in 2007. It’s seen a generation of young local filmmakers come into their own; now we’re dusting it off for another round.