Sunday, January 30, 2011

Inspirations: A Conversation With Eran Hilleli, Winner of 2010 Vimeo Awards for Best Animation

Winner Best Animation 2010: BETWEEN BEARS by Eran Hilleli

"my graduation film at bezalel academy of art and design. a debt to my childhood and other lives i hope i lived. inspired by words of songs that i admire."


TF: What is your background? Did you receive formal training as a motion graphics artist, or start out with a traditional art background, print, photography, etc?

Eran: i have just graduated from bezalel’s academy of art and design, studying in the screen based arts department. animation in particular.

TF: Can you tell us a little bit about the story behind the video? What inspired you to create this video, and what is the message you hope your audience will take away from the piece?

In your description, you state your video is "a debt to my childhood and other lives i hope i lived. inspired by words of songs that i admire." It is a very powerful statement, and I was wondering if you could tell me a little more about the meaning behind it.

Eran: During the months of vacation before my last year at school i started watching where my mind was going while thinking about my film. there were no big stories mostly places, atmospheres and feelings that swam together. i think it was related to my childhood and my fascination with some worlds i visited in my mind, in dreams and day dreams. for my graduation film i wanted to make something for me when i was a child, not really for me but to that part that was not trying to be smart or sophisticated to that part that just wanted to be there in these worlds.

what ever happen in my film was not carefully planned,

it is one journey i took and wanted to share with others.


As for the songs, it was the Fleet Foxes song “White Winter Hymnal”, mixed with “The Big White Bear” from my friend daniela spector’s song and a bit of “The Devil” a Pj Harvey song. i love when a song activates my mind filling it with images, the songs i love the best are the ones which give me a vivid image without handing me one strict storyline, they open a world for me to keep exploring.

TF: How do you first approach a project, do you typically storyboard your projects out?

Eran: It really depends on the project. for my short films i try to keep it dynamic. i like diving in very soon. trying to realize my vision or thought before even knowing where its all going, this way the visual aspect/style of the film takes part in inventing the story. so i use storyboards but usually dont complete them and dont swear by them.


TF: Your work has a flat, very geometric 2D look to it, although it looks like it was manipulated in a 3D program. What is your process for creating this style? What software or plug-ins do you use on a regular basis?

Eran: in between bears, most of the characters were modeled in 3d, everything else was a mix of 2d and 3d.

this was the first film i used 3d. the characters were all lowpoly and rendered with two shades for each color. blown away with the endless possibilities of 3d-world, i had to put a few rules to keep things simple and in coherence with the 2d world.

these days, for animation i use maya and c4d which i really like, after effects with all the lovely trapcode plugins and colorista, final cut for editing. photoshop, flash and illustrator.

for vj’ing i like vdmx and interactive with processing or max/msp.

TF: Was the music composed specifically for this work? Did the music then influence the work in any way as you created the video, or perhaps the other way around?

Eran: Yes. the music was composed specifically for this film by my dear friend Ori Avni. the music was finished near the end of the work on the film. it was a mix, an intertwine between the music’s progression and the film’s. both influencing each other.


TF: Can you explain your use of color? It looks like you have a very structured use of color in your work, and an established color pallet you are using. It is why I am wondering if you had a background in print design or traditional art, as it looks like any individual frame from your video could easily stand on its own.

Eran: At school i was taught an introductory class to color by Marek Yanai wich is a painter / magician who has opened my mind and influenced me dearly. as he would say,its all about the relationship between colors.


i cant say much about my methodology, i am quite young in this field, but really really love exploring uses of color, this is one of my favourite parts of film making.

TF: Any future work we should be keeping an eye out for? How has exposure through the Vimeo contest affected you?

Eran: Definitely! always working on something.

the vimeo contest was a great experience. i was very surprised and happy. even though i couldn't be there, just from the exposure, i have met many artists and film makers who i would love to collaborate with someday.

Thank you Eran for taking the time out for this interview!


You can follow Eran at:


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