In an exquisite short film, animator Yoav Brill of Tel Aviv, Israel, tells a story entirely with dots. “Ishihara” draws its name and inspiration from the visual tests used to detect color blindness. The story becomes a poignant reflection on difference.
The film was just translated to English; for the original Hebrew, see after the jump. I asked Yoav to tell us more. He produced his own musical score (generously crediting Steve Reich with inspiration) as well as scripting and animating the film.
What’s the story behind the narration? Do you have personal experience with color blindness?
The story is half-autobiographical. I am a color blind, and so are two of of my brothers, so the film is based both on my and their experiences, with additional dramatization of course. I’ve also held a couple of interviews with color-blind people as a research.
The initial idea was to make a film about the similarities between color blindness and homosexuality, so there’s a little bit of that in the film also, but I’ve learned to know that this sub-issue is not visible to everyone (which is, in a way, exactly what the film talks about).
The animation is really striking. How was the film produced?
The film was made using Flash and After Effects. Flash was used for the scenes involving crowds of dots. I used After Effects for the “close ups” and composition of the film. It was edited on Adobe Premiere. Music and sound I composed on Apple Logic and Ableton Live.
Given the subject matter, how did you approach the color palette in your animation?
I’ve tried to keep the saturation of the pallet narrow, so the differences between the colors would be unclear also to “normal” viewers. My color blindness was not a big problem, since it’s mostly reds and greens that are problematic, and only with certain hues. After a while you remember the CMYK numbers!
How did you prepare the sequence of the animation? The storytelling, visually, is really clear. At the same time, it seems like something like this would be tricky to storyboard.
I didn’t draw an exact storyboard. Since the script, animation, AND music were my own, I’ve built the visuals based on the rhythm of the story, then recorded it and played with the relationship between sound and visuals to create something that will be fluid rather than logical.
After I had an animatic, I recorded the narration again. What you’ve watched is an English version based on the original Hebrew one.
Yoav’s work has gotten recognition: it won the local Hafia film festival and was just screened at the Encounters fest in Bristol. I imagine it could spread far beyond that. Hebrew version below, followed by more quick work from his Vimeo, which give you a nice sense of his personality.