Interviewing Director Rikke Planeta On Her Sensual Short Film Bacchus, Part 1

by Tito W. James

While attending the Annecy Animated Film Festival, I had the opportunity to interview director Rikke Alma Krogshave Planeta  and discuss her graduation film Bacchus.

Tito W. James: How did the project of Bacchus come about?
Rikke Planeta: Well, Bacchus is a student film. In our second year [at The Animation Workshop] many of the students pitch projects and ideas. Then all the students vote for the ideas that they like and want to work on and a few film ideas are chosen. During the third year, the graduation films are made from the pitches. I pitched Bacchus, people liked it, and they chose it.
TWJ: So it’s a three-year program at The Animation Workshop?
RP: It’s a three and a half year program. The last year is the bachelor year. And after finishing the films, everybody starts on their internships. The [graduation] films are not premiered during that whole time. It’s after we come back in January that the films are premiered and shown in festivals.
TWJ: In the U.S. we typically have four-year programs. How did you feel with a more condensed education?
RP: It was a very intense three years. They give us the skills we need. Our final year together is confirmation that we can make a film. That’s why the internship experience is part of the education. We go and try it out to see if we know enough.
TWJ: I’m always impressed whenever I see these graduation films. They look like much higher quality than I’ve grown to expect from “student” work.
RP: I guess it’s also because we get this amazing opportunity while we’re there [at the animation school]. If you had to make big projects like Bacchus with this many people out in the business world–you would need a lot of money to make it.
In our third year, we’re given this group of amazing artists and all the time in the world. I think that’s how we were able to pull it off, honestly.
I’m working at a studio right now. When we want to make original projects, we need to apply for funding just to hire one more person.
So, to be able to work on a project like Bacchus for a whole year, with eleven people, is amazing. When you’re in school, you don’t realize it, and maybe take it a little bit for granted while you’re there.
TWJ: What was the inspiration for Bacchus?
RP: Mostly, when I pitched the idea it was a concept. It was about the colors and the shapes and breaking free of society–a cathartic story.
Then I started looking into Bacchus, the deity. Most people know him as the god of wine, before that he was the god of rebirth, catharsis, and seasons. Dying in the Fall and being reborn in the Spring, kind of thing.
I thought that idea of being reborn fit very well with our story.
TWJ: The art style is very unique and incorporates 2D and 3D animation. Can you tell me a little about that?
RP: A big part of the original pitch was that I wanted to mix 2D and 3D elements together. Because we have this very harsh cut between the two different dimensions the character experiences, we thought it was perfect to use 3D for one and 2D for the other and switch completely in the middle.
The 2D animated fantastical world that our character steps into has more depth and color. Whereas the 3D animated real world appears flat and impersonal.
TWJ: Ahh so you reversed it. That’s clever.
RP: [Laughs]
Stay tuned for the second half of my conversation with Rikke Alma Krogshave Planeta, where we discuss adult animation and her experience at Annecy.

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