A Town Called Panic is a wonder to behold – a giddy, wildly inventive, surreal and laugh out loud film with an exhilarating and infectious energy that bursts off the screen. In order to recover their house Horse, Cowboy and Indian go on a journey of epic proportions, travelling to the centre of the earth and trekking across frozen tundra to discover a parallel underwater universe. A heartwarming, uplifting and delightful animated film experience – check out the directors’ wonderful new family film Ernest and Celestine screening in Official Selection this year.
Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar are leading names in animation whose work enjoys a popular and critical following. The two men met in 1986 while they were both students at ‘La Cambre’ – Belgium’s School of Visual Arts. It was there that they created the characters Pic Pic the Magic Pig and André the Evil Horse, the hand-drawn stars of the first Pic Pic André Show. Two years later, in 1991, the pair graduated with highest honours.
Following graduation the animation partners decided to re-visit A Town Called Panic which was Aubier’s 1991 graduation film at La Cambre. The animators set out to create a series set in a papier mâché and cardboard village where small plastic toys would be the protagonists of absurd adventures. In 2000, the pilot episode The Cake was a big hit with audiences and critics as it made the rounds of film festivals and the animators enjoyed sufficient recognition to launch the series. In 2003, the main protagonists of A Town Called Panic, Cowboy, Indian and Horse, invaded subscription television channel Canal+ in France and Belgium, establishing an indelible style: The co-creators reached into the toy chest of collective childhood memories to breathe life into an assortment of stiff plastic toys. In 2007 they embarked on a feature film of the same name and in their studio on the outskirts of Brussels they put 1500 plastic toy figures through their mile-a-minute paces over the course of 260 days of production. Cowboy, Indian and Horse and the film’s dozen plastic protagonists required as many as 200 ‘clones’ per character, painstakingly animated to make a complex technique look as casual and spontaneous as children playing with their toys. Two years of work culminated in a 75-minute long widescreen movie programmed in the Official Selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
BBFC Cert PG.