Film - The Maker

Do you have 5 minutes? Susan Omand urges you to spend it watching The Maker, a short animation from Zealous Creative...

If you know me at all, you know it takes a LOT to hit me in “the feels,” but this little film did it. In the space of 5 minutes (four and a half if you don’t count the “eye/grit recovery time” of the credits at the end) it made me smile, it made me sad, it made me gaze in awe and wonder and it made me root for a happy ever after for the characters.

There are no words, no dialogue, no explanation, just the intricate stop-motion animation and a glorious string soundtrack by composer Paul Halley to tell the story of The Maker and his race against the sands of time in his incredibly detailed work room, as he tries to make the most important and beautiful creation of his life. Yes, the creature has an adorably Burton-esque look but The Maker is way more subtle than anything Tim Burton has ever done. I keep going on about the detail and it is amazing, not only how seamlessly the animation flows and the stunning use of lighting, but in the tiny touches – the F-holes on The Maker that are echoes of his violin, the fact that he is made of stitched mattress ticking just like his own creation, the glorious depth of colour in their eyes, the written language that you glimpse all around and believe you can understand, the wonderful teeth! I could go on and on. It takes more than one watch to capture it all.

But, like all truly beautiful things, The Maker is far more than the sum of its parts. The story has such depth and resonance that academic papers could be written on its interpretation. Who knows what the intended message was? Is it about the fleeting transience of life? The fact that what you do with the time you have lives on in others? Or the futility that whatever you do counts for nothing in the end? The film’s director, Christopher Kezelos, said in a press release, “The Maker explores the preciousness of our moments on earth, the short time we have with loved ones and the enjoyment of one’s life’s work and purpose. In their fleeting existence our characters experience joy, love, hard work, purpose, loss and loneliness. As the tagline suggests, ‘life is what you make it’ and we are all makers in this world.” And I guess he would know.

I discovered the film while I was doing a bit of a dig through the more obscure stuff that’s not on the front page of Amazon Prime while I had my coffee break yesterday afternoon and I loved it so much that I went looking to see if there was any way I could let the world (OK, you, our lovely reader) know about it. Lo and behold, it was on YouTube courtesy of the Studio that made it, along with a couple of fascinating “Making of” videos and a website address, which led to a page that said, not only had it won 22 different festival awards when it came out, but there was a sequel planned – as a novel! I'll let you know more about this when I find it.

For now though, I don’t care what you’re doing – whether you’re on the bus, making coffee, waiting for an appointment or pretending to work. Stop. Watch the film below, revel in the beauty of both moving image and moving soundtrack and ponder your own interpretation of the deeper meaning as you continue to go about your own frantic day of clock-watching.

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