Short of the Week

Matter Fisher

Winner of our Great Film Competition, this BAFTA-nominated physics thought-experiment is beautifully hand-animated by David Prosser.

Once in a while you come across a film that marries a fascinating idea with beautiful technique. David Prosser’s BAFTA-nominated animation Matter Fisher is a story that asks more questions that it answers. We experience a moment with a lone fisherman at sea who happens upon a pebble-sized ball of matter that absorbs anything within reach. The more it consumes, the larger and stronger it grows. We witness man’s desire to exploit the power of nature for his own greed and ignorantly drive it to its ultimate destruction.

Inspired by Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics (a collection of short stories that involve scientific theories), Matter Fisher is a story where events unravel as they do in nature rather than as they do in a standard story structure. At a time when Physics is accelerating with results from the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), the search for the Higgs Boson particle, and other major theories that could redefine our universe, Matter Fisher explores the possible meaning of our findings in ways that pure science can’t.

concept sketch

The film uses a variety of techniques to create a hand-crafted 3D aesthetic you won’t see anywhere else. The sense of space in David’s compositions is quite exquisite—mixing a combination of closeups and extremely far shots—an aesthetic borne from David’s years illustrating books and comics. The animation itself captures the expressive nature of sketching and combines it with the environmental depth of 3D. The sea theme and the rough-hewn animation may remind you of Aardman’s The Pearce Sisters. All of the 2D elements were animated in Photoshop to mimic a traditional paper animation workflow.

Matter Fisher has screened at 20+ festivals and earned praise at many but hadn’t made a big US debut. The film marked David’s graduation film from the Royal College of Art and  has gone on to screen at 20+ festivals before picking up a BAFTA nomination alongside fellow RCA comrade Matthias Hoegg’s Thursday, and Michael Please’s yet-elusive The Eagleman’s Stag. David now works as a Director/Designer at the impressive Studio AKA and continues to work with MOTH—a London-based animation collective.

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Andrew makes no attempt to hide his love for the magic art of animation. He appreciates compelling visuals but never forgets that in this modern age, a strong story always reigns supreme. You can see his work at andrewsallen.com or his latest film The Thomas Beale Cipher.
  • Jason Sondhi

    It’s been online 48 hours, and our Great Film Competition winner MATTER FISHER by Dave Prosser has amassed 22K views. Our post has been FB shared 63 times, tweeted an additional 23 times, and the film itself has been tweeted over 180 times. Not too bad. Thanks for taking the time to watch and to share! Still some work to do though. Can we get it MATTER FISHER to 100k?