Short Film: To Build A Fire

Based on a celebrated short story from Jack London, it is a classic man vs wild story, but the drama is, as always, within man himself, as our protagonist fights simple mistakes, and the resultant panic, in an attempt to survive bitter temperatures that are 50 below.

Largely wordless, except for barked commands to his dog companion, the film will resonate with fans of The Revenant, as it is a similar survival tale set in austere conditions. Goby however uses the art of animation to accentuate the themes he is playing with. The vast backdrops contrast with how tiny and insignificant the man is amongst the larger landscape. These backgrounds are intricately detailed, yet the man himself is oddly simple in his character design. Nature is complex in Goby’s reasoning, but the drives and impulses that propel that man are innate and primal.

London’s short story is narrated, but Goby opts against, placing a bigger burden on himself and the production to effectively relate the man’s internal thought process through blocking, body language and music. The latter aspect received a big boost when composer Mathieu Alvado and the film team successfully secured the services of the London Symphony Orchestra in performing the score, the first time they had done that for a short film. This accompaniment helps immeasurably in invoking the cinemascope grandeur of bygone Hollywood films, adding to that cinematic feel.

source: BY FX GOBY

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