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Piranha Bar Animation to Feature in Berlin Film Festival
30 Jan 2014 : Aisling Newton
Piranha Bar, Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2
The Berlin Film Festival, which takes place between the 6th and 16th of February 2014, has announced that the ‘Last Hijack’ will launch the Panorama Documentary section at this year’s festival.

Tommy Pallotta and Femke Wolting’s feature is comprised of two thirds live action shot on location in Somalia and one third animation produced by Still Films at the Piranha Bar studio in Dublin.

‘Last Hijack’ is a Dutch/Irish/German/Belgian co-production by Submarine in co-production with Irish company Still Films, Razor Film, Savage Film, IKON and ZDF.

Piranha Bar was asked by director Tommy Pallotta, producer of ‘A Scanner Darkly’ starring Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jr, to bring a new highly artistic vision to life.

The film, portraying life in the failed state of Somalia, uses computer animation to illustrate the memories and experiences of Mohammed, a hijacker under pressure to abandon his violent occupation.

The animation uses innovative techniques to create an illustrated look inspired by scene backgrounds which were hand painted on canvas. The ‘Paintmation’ look was developed by Piranha Bar creative director Gavin Kelly who spoke to IFTN about the process involved:

“I knew in advance that this was going to be a tricky and time consuming project. Creating 25mins of animation is a really big undertaking even with a reasonably large team working over a long period. ‘Last Hijack’ is unique as it uses animation in an unusual way. You don’t usually see high end animation in documentary making because it is expensive, but when used it creates an imaginative world that opens out to a larger audience.”

“The director Tommy was really interested in using computer graphics layered over the oil painted backgrounds of a Belgium artist. The idea of putting computer graphics over oil painted canvas was a nightmare because the two things don’t match. The CG animation looks so different to something that is as organic and as rich as an oil painting.”

Gavin spent a month looking into ways of bringing CG painted material inside the computer generated environment, creating that animation and then processing the animation in a way that it fitted well with the oil painted backgrounds.

Piranha Bar was the perfect choice for the creative personality of the ‘Last Hijack’ as the studio is constantly inventing new looks through their work on commercials such as VHI campaign.

“The animation industry in Ireland is really punching above its weight at the moment. Very large companies like Brown Bag and Boulder Media are doing a lot of work internationally for TV and film. Ireland is developing an excellent reputation within animation.”

The animation segment of the European co-production was produced by Nicky Gogan of Still Films and the project was completed along with the Irish Film Board.

‘Last Hijack’ will premiere on February 7th at the 2014 Berlinale.

Screening times for ‘Last Hijack’ are as follows :

  • Fri Feb 7th at 17:00 in CineStar 7 (E)
  • Sat Feb 8th at 12:00 in CineStar 7 (E)
  • Sun Feb 9th at 17:30 in Cubix 7 (E)
  • Mon Feb 10th at 15:30 in Colosseum 1 (E)
  • Fri Feb 14th at v14:30 in CineStar 7 (E)

Further information on Piranha Bar’s latest projects can be viewed on their website here



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