"We love traditional animation techniques, drawing, handmade production, the original approach, bold visual solutions and mature cheese." This quote comes from a gifted duo of Slovak animation filmmakers - Veronika Obertová and Michaela Čopíková aka Ové Pictures.
Love of mature cheese isn’t the only thing Ové and Puojd have in common. These two created three promotional videos revolving around gummy bears for Puojd’s "I Wish I Was Sweet" collection which kicked off the Nu Spirit Fashion Show in June 2011 and put smiles on attendees’ faces. The cheerful and diligent Ové girls can boast a number of international achievements, such as winning the Best of Festival Award atAniMazSpot 2012 for their animated short "Dust and Glitter".
We interviewed the girls to find out more about their work.
Did both of you work on your own before you founded Ové Pictures? What is the difference between team- and individual work?We have started collaborating and helping each other out back in our student years. Veronika was studying Graphic Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava and Design whilst Michaela was studying Animation at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. At first, we worked together on our school projects, mutually tried to find technical solutions, gave advice one another and showed each other stuff from our study fields. Then, naturally, the question of what to do next arose and since our dreams and goals are actually quite similar, we decided to join forces and create our own brand. The main difference between working in team and individually is the constant dialogue between us while working on a project and the fact that we trying to find the best option for the project. We often discover something unexpected and it’s more fun being in a team as well.
How were your beginnings?We worked together at Vertex Creation for a year after graduating. It was a great opportunity, but since both of us had the ambition to pursue our own projects we decided to work on our own. We’ve known from the beginning we can’t make a living out of the things we like to do the most, such as shorts or music videos, so we try to find a balance between contract and independent work. We still have a lot to learn, but having your own brand is in ways like having a kid, everything related to it is engaging and fascinating, and you can’t avoid some sleepless nights (not that we have kids of our own, but those who do say so).
Is it possible to make a living as animators? Do you have an ambition to become a big production company?
We are just in our beginnings of discovering how to make a living doing animation, but there’s definitely advertising and there’s contract work where clients are looking for an interesting concept or visual aspect. Last year we mainly worked on opening credits and animated sequences for documentary series, but we also made three music videos, one for Slovak singer Jana Kirschner and the other two for artists from the US. We definitely don’t have an ambition to become a big production company, but we would like to continue producing our own stuff.
How does a perfect client behave?
Great clients are the ones who understand that you cannot make anything extraordinary with the "by tomorrow and for free" approach.
Do you think that the working conditions for animators in Slovakia are comparable to those worldwide? Slovak and Czech animation has a strong tradition, is there an upcoming "new Švankmajer"?
The working conditions in arts and culture in Slovakia are comparably worse than those in Western Europe or USA, yet if we had come from Burkina Faso we probably would have thought it is not so bad in Slovakia... We come from here and we understand that the Czechoslovak animation tradition is renowned in the world, but we also understand that the continuity was interrupted and all is gone. Slovak children don’t watch Slovak animated films anymore and only few are made every year. There’s a couple of individuals who are trying to turn the situation around, but it is going to take a lot of determination and energy of people, who are trying to bring quality animation and animated films back to the audience. There’s only one Švankmajer, actually two, Jan and his son Václav whose work is brilliant and inimitable. But we also have several rather special artists so we have nothing to be embarrassed about.
One final question - what are your plans for the future?
This year we are working on production of a new animated short about fear under working title "Nina & Ondro". The premiere is scheduled for September 2013. Meanwhile we are working with Daniela Krajčová on a new documentary/animated film directed by Viera Čákanyová. Additionally, we are constantly developing our project called " HUG/OBJATIE". Hug is a topic we have been working on for quite some time and we have created series of illustrations and T-shirts within this subject matter. We will present this project at the Pictoplasma Festival in Berlin and later at Sophia Design Week. And finally, we plan to create a book out of this project, but we are leaving that for the next year. :)
We believe there are many successful future collaborations in store for us, because Puojd is Ové positive! And Ové proved to be Puojd positive as Michaela left after the photoshoot as a Weasel and Veronika as a Tomcat.
Check out the following links to find out more about Ové:
Photo: Matej Hakár Styling: Puojd sweater Tomcat, Puojd sveter Weasel, Puojd coat Kabaňa, Ové Pictures T-shirts, bear necklace Lucia Bartková