Interview with Filmmaker/Animator Aaron Welch (MICROTOONS)

“Microtoons” played to rave reviews at the May 2022 ANIMATION Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I’ve always believed in providing opportunity for young creatives. When I met Rina Fu at a networking event we discovered we shared passions in storytelling as well as providing opportunity for young creatives. Furthermore when Rina met Dafa and Sam, who both live with autism, Rina saw the talent I already had the pleasure of knowing. We were all inspired.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

Starting with writing the story and working on character designs to final render, production took around five months.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Fun and inspirational.

We wanted to create a fun story that would make people laugh and be entertained. From the beginning the story also had to be educational. The science of microbiology gave us direction for the story and the art, especially the character designs. The actions of the characters aren’t just random, they also reflect the science hence the scientific terms on display. We hope that MicroToons inspires curiosity and creativity.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Rina Fu as a career scientist never really stopped explaining the science to me and the creative team. It was key as we were writing the story and going through the concept design process. As the animation was coming together there was back and forth checks and changes for scientific accuracy while still keeping to a fun story. I even did some acting to figure out how to animate the characters. I say “acting” lightly though!

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was so taken back with what people were saying. All I could do was watch and just think, wow, am I really hearing this!? It’s one thing to be proud of what the team achieved, but I was so moved hearing that MicroToons brought joy and laughter, it was fun to watch, and how the science came across so clearly that people were inspired to further discover.

The fact that a series was constantly mentioned is so inspiring; that is the larger dream. Because I had to first understand the science I am thrilled that we were able to combine that with storytelling and creativity. Same too on hearing how well the music and foley worked so well with the animation.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I’ve always been drawn to storytelling whether it be watching cartoons growing up, playing video games, reading comics and novels, and watching movies. I started my career as a graphic designer then took a break to travel the world for five years. When I returned home to in 2007 I considered different career options then a year later I realised two things; I will always be drawn to storytelling and animation. Founding Red Bird Creative in 2011 saw me start on the filmmaking journey.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Science fiction and adventure is what I love. So WALL-E, The Fifth Element and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade just to mention a few titles I’ve seen a few times!

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

As submitting Microtoons is my first direct festival experience I’m still new to all of this. I welcome any opportunity to connect with other filmmakers and the audience. I see that at the heart of creativity. Storytelling is about sharing experiences and new ideas. This all part of a rewarding filmmaking career.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

FilmFreeway is fantastic! It was recommended to me by a friend and everything you need to know can easily be found and the submitting process is straightforward. Previously the idea of being part of festivals all seemed beyond me. The communication is great, the status of your submissions is simple to track, and all the links for the festivals are all there. Also a big eye opener was just how connected community is.

10. What is your favorite meal?

A meaty spaghetti bolognese.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

Right now we are in the early stages looking into grants for a number of creative projects. Can’t give too much away at the moment! Meanwhile together Rina and myself have been storyboarding a music video for one of her songs.

As for MicroToons the series, let’s just say that is part of the much larger picture!

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival www.wildsound.ca

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