Looking to bring “CG Animation to a more mature audience”, Gautier Alfirevic and Kevin “Teau” Rose’s impressive short YONA thrusts its audience into the violent world of an American Captain, as his life of killing looks to be coming to an end. At just over five-minutes in length, meticulous animation is combined with a haunting, action-packed storyline, creating an unforgettable tale of spirits, introspection and bloodshed.
Inspiration for YONA’s narrative came to Alfirevic and Rose, after they became “unsettled yet fascinated” by a cultural legend they discovered online. “While browsing the internet, we found a picture of a Skin-walker, a legendary harmful witch of the Navajo culture”, the directors reveal as we discuss their storyline. After researching these mythical beings, they were left with an unshakable feeling, that came from of a lack of visual information about them. One they ultimately felt compelled to explore.
YONA’s fast-flowing, kinetic story quickly immerses you in its universe, but however much you admire the concept and tone here, it’s the craft that feels like the major talking point. Blending 2D and 3D techniques to create a “painterly” aesthetic, Alfirevic and Rose have created a visual style that feels both nightmarish and also grounded in reality.
Aiming for a “handcrafted feel” for their characters, the pair admit to using “everything 3D has to offer” to create them, whilst also looking to breakaway from the “clean” aesthetic that often comes with this approach. With their textured characters existing on-top of more traditional 2D backgrounds, the visuals really make for an impressive watch. If you can argue the narrative lacks depth here, it’s hard to say the same for the production.
Created as parts of the SupaMonks SupaResidence Program – that also brought us fellow S/W pick The Night I Dance With Death – we’ll not only be keeping an eye out for more films from this initiative, but hoping to see Alfirevic and Rose enter the short film arena again in the future.