Anandh Ramesh’s maiden venture, Steve’s Perfect Vacation, rakes in the laurels

Some people just can’t get things right. Take, for instance, Steven Bernard, the wannabe perfectionist who is the protagonist of filmmaker Anandh Ramesh’s award-winning animation film, Steve’s Perfect Vacation.

Steve plans meticulously for his perfect vacation, making a check-list, and packing his suitcase with great care. Just one little problem! He forgets to check the date of travel! And, discovers he is a whole day late at the airport. Adding to a distraught Steve’s misery, the handle of his carefully-put together suitcase comes off!

This two-and-a-half-minute slice-of-life film by Anandh Ramesh, who hails from Lalgudi near Tiruchirapalli, has won the Grand Prize in the animation category in the online Film Skillet International Film Contest. Anandh’s film was shortlisted by a jury that included television director Patrick Norris, and people voted online for it.

It beat entries from many countries and even movies made by leading filmmakers. It has also been screened in four other International film festivals, and invited for the short movie exhibition and subsequent archival and storage at Universidade Estadual Do Oeste Do Paraná, Brazil.

Anandh is delighted at the turn of events. “The whole experience has been amazing. I did not even expect to get nominated. I was jumping with joy. And, it makes me happier that stereoscopic 3D is the next big thing in animated movies (think Monsters vs Aliens and Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs!).

The film was made using anaglyph technology (an alternative to the 3D you see in theatres), which allows a 3D film to be viewed even on the computer monitor and television screen. This is done by filtering the primary colours of red, blue and green.

An engineer by qualification, the young filmmaker says his degree was a step towards his chosen field — animation. “Even when I did my Masters at The University of Texas at Arlington, I majored in Computer Graphics. I wanted to create a unique blend … where I know the software from the creative and working perspective. I did not want to stop at being a user.”

That desire took him to the Vancouver Film School, where he shot Steve’s Perfect Vacation. The film had already won recognition as the first stereoscopic 3D film from Vancouver Film School, and has also been featured on imdb, the International Movie Database.

So, where did he draw his inspiration for the story from? “Well, I once had to return from the airport after the airline stopped operating on a sector I had been booked into. That provided the germ of an idea,” he says.

Now, Anandh is sitting in idyllic Lalgudi, conjuring up characters for his second short film — a six or seven-minute creation, titled Faded Rhythms, about a drummer in a band, and the associated ego clashes. Unlike Steve’s…, which was single-handedly created by Anandh, this one will have a team of 15.

Does he ever envision himself doing a live action movie? “Why not? After all, the technique is the same. Yes, in animation, you can take certain liberties with acting, but in films you can save on asset creation time (creating models for characters, texturing, etc.), and get creative people to act. But, that’s still a long way off,” he smiles.