When American filmmaker Mark Smith was sailing with his wife, he saw for the first time in his life a Cumulonimbus tuba, such a remarkable cloud shape in the shape of a funnel. That special experience was accompanied by a song in three-quarter time and that combination triggered the filmmaker. When he later heard the song More of a Composition by Peter Broderick (best known in the Netherlands for his contribution to ‘Now Is Good’), he knew he had found the composer for his film. Initially, ‘Two Balloons’ was intended as a live action film, but that turned out not to be feasible. After a brainstorming session with Andrew Brown, the idea was clear: it would be a stop-motion video with ring-tailed lemurs in the lead.
The fact that Smith and the team he gathered around him did not choose the easiest path, is evident from the fact that no less than sixteen months were spent creating the storyboards and sets before one second was filmed. The crew, consisting of both stop-motion veterans and newcomers, found themselves in a kind of trial and error process, in which mistakes could be learned and sometimes the most beautiful things emerged from them.
The result of all that hard work is a short film with a passion for film. The story is about two ring-tailed lemurs who find each other – while sailing in a hot air balloon – in the sky. A spark jumps, but before they can deepen their friendship, Mother Nature throws a spanner in the works.
‘Two Balloons’ is a visual masterpiece that touches the viewer’s heart through the combination of the beautiful music and the moving figures. Despite not saying a word, the video speaks volumes. This is due to the expressive figures, which make their emotions clear with small gestures, and the dreamy music. Smith also leaves the core of the creatures intact – although you will never see a ring-tailed lemur ballooning in real life, they retain certain characteristics that you don’t see in other animated films, where animated animals often immediately become human. A video to lose yourself in, so beautiful.