’’We want to create a bridge between two cultures’’ – interviewing Michelle Kranot from ANIDOX

Animation <3 documentary

When working as a tutor, Michelle Kranot doesn’t want to appear as a teacher, but rather as a peer. Michelle and Uri Kranot are experienced tutors and filmmakers known for their creative work, which crosses the borders between different technologies and narrative techniques. They also run ANIDOX, a program of The Animation Workshop in Denmark, that is focused on developing and producing animated documentaries. We talked with Michelle about tutoring and combining animation and documentary.

Michelle ja Uri Kranot.

In TAFF Pro you’ll organize a workshop for projects that combine animation and documentary. You were choosing projects accepted for the workshop. What was your impression on the works that applied?

–Very professional. I’m excited to see that the outreach of the documentary community seems very strong. It’s been impressive how TAFF has been bridging the gap between the animation and documentary industries. Many people had approached the burning social or current issues, but with a very personal perspective. There were a lot of people who want to use animation in a way that goes beyond informational and pedagogic. And in a way that is meaningful and poetic.

ANIDOX:Lab is an annual workshop for projects combining animation and documentary. In the workshop filmmakers develop their projects with the help of the tutors – their comments and ideas. One project from TAFF Pro will also be chosen to join ANIDOX:Lab next year. How did you start ANIDOX:Lab?

–Uri and I have been working many years with animated documentaries, and ANIDOX follows our career path. We find that this kind of peer-based learning we do is really inclusive. We did our first ANIDOX:Lab in the Netherlands and once we joined the animation network in Denmark, we were able to turn it into a professional training program. We also run a residency, and one special branch of ANIDOX is focused on animated documentaries in virtual realities.

What inspires you to do tutoring?

–We really enjoy meeting filmmakers and other directors working across disciplines. What is unique about our ANIDOX:Lab is that about half of the participants are animation directors and the other half are documentarians. The meeting of these two worlds I find really exciting – our goal is to build a language or a bridge between these filmmaking cultures.

How do these two filmmaking cultures differ from eachother?

Well, technically, it’s a very different pipeline, and a very different funding system. You have to navigate new terminology. There are a lot of issues that wouldn’t concern animation directors as much as they concern documentarians, mostly ethical ones. Animation, in the other hand, gives you endless opportunities of visual storytelling. So, documentarians need the opportunity to open their minds to new ways of thinking and working visually.

Michelle & Uri Kranot: ’’Nothing Happens’’ (2017)

Nothing Happens – but the viewer becomes a participant.

Trailers of TinDrum’s works

Why are animation and documentary a good couple?

–I think that animation has access to deeper truths, and there’s endless opportunities in the animation practice, which can rejuvenate any kind of film making but especially documentaries. By deeper truth I mean psychological, for example: you can visualize internal worlds and imagination. In documentary you try to get to the core of something and part of the work is very much internal. Also the other way around: I find that documentary supports animation in anchoring these endless possibilities in something that is very tensible or concrete.

When working as a tutor, what do you usually pay attention to?

–I like meeting new people and hearing what they have to say. One of the first things I look at is where I could find references that they would find exciting – what kind of other films, other projects or people I could introduce them to.

–I like to challenge myself and the participants I work with. Though when I’m tutoring I really try to stay sensitive to what they want to achieve – I don’t impose any radical ideas on them. But I will often suggest a new way of working, a collaboration that would inspire them, or a technique they haven’t thought of.

What happens, when the person you are giving feedback is totally disagreeing with you?

–I think that’s the best! I don’t come as a teacher, we rather come together as peers. I have a lot of experience as a filmmaker and I’ve worked a lot with other filmmakers; I also work a lot in virtual reality. Maybe I can consult, and my feedback can be valuable, but I don’t know everything. I have a lot of curiosity and I think that’s why the meeting is interesting for our participants as well.

You are known for your work that is breaking the limits between different technologies and narrative techniques. What fascinates you in mixing these?

–What I like about working somewhere between linear and screen based projects and mixing virtual reality is that I get to play with narrative and storytelling. I also get to challenge myself and what I know about storytelling. In the shift between a viewer and participant, something really interesting happens. I think virtual realities come closer to theater and performance art.

What inspires you?

–Art and literature and the people I work with. Lately I’ve been into novels; I’m an avid reader.

Michelle & Uri Kranot

-Filmmakers with their own production company TinDrum. Uri is an animation director and Michelle is a producer and interdisciplinary artist. Awarded for example in Annecy and The Oscar’s Shortlist.

-Uri Kranot gives a lecture on combining animation and documentary on 26th of August, 2 pm.

-They run a workshop for projects in development at TAFF Pro. Uri also works as an tutor in the workshop.

-They also run ANIDOX, a program of The Animation Workshop in Denmark, that is focused on developing and producing animated documentaries.

-Originally from Israel. The family lives In Viborg, Denmark.