I spent a couple of months animating on this lovely film for Johnny Kelly last year. Turned out lovely!
Here’s a little making-of video I made as part of my Directors Notes interview about In the Air Is Christopher Gray. Thought maybe a few people might be interested at least!
"Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is my dad back. Love Michael"
It was this letter, left next to the fireplace along with a glass of sherry, that explained why Father Christmas found himself naked on a Surrey rooftop. Maybe the 1 billion other glasses of sherry had something to do with it but it was mostly the letter. Father Christmas had had a nervous breakdown before, but they usually occurred in the summer months when he was less busy and his mind was able to wander.
He stared down at the childish handwriting, “Making everyone else happy while one child gets left out and made to feel worse makes it all meaningless”.
Father Christmas was supposed to bring joy to the world. EVERYONE on it. Ashamed, he raised a hand to his face and tore off his jolly beard. The pain was excruciating. He had forgotten he was the real Father Christmas and that his beard was real. Eyes welling up, he threw it with all his might into the night sky. Then, something of a Christmas miracle happened. The beard flew right back at him and re-attached itself to his face. Perplexed, he tore it off and threw it again… and again… and again. Refusing to take this as some kind of a sign he repeated the motion over and over.
His body was found, cold and lifeless, on boxing day. It lay in the flowerbed below, slowly evermore revealed as the snow melted. Attempts to identify it were unsuccessful. Cause of death was marked down to hypothermia, a blood alcohol content 500 millions times the legal limit, and a broken heart.
This coming of age story powerfully mixes humour and pathos, as the film holds a magnifying glass to suburbia and family. Massie’s unique animation technique gives us a distance from the action while still showing us the nuances and details of growing up. A masterful mix of animated originality and storytelling.
The jury unanimously agrees that this film has a special quality. The combination of a complex and witty script and the restrained graphic universe and animation performances create a story that is both absurd and yet disturbing.
Big thank you to Encounters Film Festival for having me and once again to all the cast for starring in it, Fonic for doing the sound, Nexus Productions for producing it, and The British Council for their additional support!
Christopher Gray has been in love with Stacey for quite some time, and no amount of lemonade can cool his desire. Meanwhile, Barry Flint has just bought his son a five-foot python from the pet store.
Written, Directed and Animated by Felix Massie
Soundtrack by Joe Paine
Starring Andy London, Peter Ahern, Justin Cassano, Carolyn London, Ian Miller and Erica Perez.
Sound Design and Mix by Marty O’Brien
Audio Post Production Facility: Fonic
Executive Producer Christopher O’Reilly
Produced at Nexus Productions