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CBTV Student Fest: “Defective Detective”

We’re proud to present the second film in this year’s Student Animation Festival: Defective Detective directed by Avner Geller and Stevie Lewis at the Ringling College of Art and Design. Every aspect of the production is done to a high professional standard, but to us, the film also illustrates the value of CG filmmakers who are well versed in traditional drawing and painting. Visit the blogs of Geller and Lewis, and you’ll discover two artists with a solid knowledge of design, drawing and color, and that knowledge is well applied throughout their film. The seamless integration of hand-drawn sequences was also a novel touch that we enjoyed.

Geller is currently working at Pixar, Lewis is at DreamWorks. Here is a video from a few weeks ago of the duo accepting a Student Academy Award, and below, dressed up as their characters from the film:

Avner Geller and Stevie Lewis

They provided us with the following notes about the production of Defective Detective:

It took about a year to complete the film from the story development until it was rendered and done. The film is mostly done in 3D. The program at Ringling focuses on 3D computer animation, and the course of study take you through all the stages of production, from the story and design stages, through Modeling, Animation and Lighting. In the first two years we take course in traditional hand drawn animation, and when we got to work on our film, we knew we wanted to incorporate that in some sort of way. The Detective’s dream sequences were a perfect opportunity to use a different technique that will take the viewers through a unique experience.

We weren’t very familiar with this style of storytelling and cinema, and had to do a lot of research. Learning more about the world in which the film takes place was one of the most fun stages of production. We collected a lot of picture reference of old apartments in France and studied different kinds of furniture and appliances that were used during that time. We watched a lot of film noir movies and were inspired by the tone and style of detective films. Once you immerse yourself in a certain world you start recognizing new references that relate to it everywhere. For instance we started to see detective images and caricatures everywhere even when we weren’t looking.

The Music for the film was composed by Raphael Beau, who wrote the music for Micmacs (directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who also directed Amelie). We really loved his work and sent him a version of our film in very early stage. Luckily he saw the potential in it and agreed to write music for us. We were extremely happy and he did such a fantastic job. From the very first draft he sent us it was clear that we are on the same wavelength, and it was pleasure working with him. The sound design was done by Clement Maleo (who worked on Gobelins, l’école de l’image film, Burning Safari) and he was also great to work with. He was very particular about every little nuance in the film and really brought it to life through sound.

It was a fantastic experience to work on this film. Animation is such a long and tedious process sometimes and it’s a really unique feeling to see how it all came together at the end. Even though it was hard to see the film through fresh eyes because we watched it so many times, we still loved watching and working on the film even until the very end. We really enjoyed working together and we hope to collaborate on more projects in the future.

Filmmaker Websites
Avner Geller
Stevie Lewis

Cartoon Brew’s second annual Student Animation Festival is made possible through the generous support of Titmouse and JibJab.

  • Matt

    Absolutely stunning work here guys.

    A big congrats to the both of you on a fine short, student or otherwise.


  • Mr. James

    Congrats guys! It’s been 10 years since I graduated from Ringling and got to sit in on the “end of year” animation shows. It’s astonishing how far animation has come in just those short 10 years. I’m glad Ringling has finally allowed the animation students to have fun with their school years instead of trying to make them all do emotionally artsy thesis pieces!

  • Fantastic work! When the detective entered the kitchen at the end my heart was racing! I love the character animation and design. I love the eyes! GREAT WORK! a true inspiration for a student animator

  • Pao

    woohooo! Congratus! Stevie and Avner! Love my Ringling peeps!

  • Cath

    can’t wait to see more from you guys!

  • Dee

    I found the ending scene at the table to be weakly acted, but on the whole, great work.

  • If this is just a student film for you guys then I can’t wait for your professional films to come out. Amazing work! :)

  • Ger

    Wow that was really good. I liked the charcter designs and the originality of the story. You can tell that you guys have put a lot of hard work into this.
    Good job!

  • Keegan

    I actually prefer this to the most Hollywood made CGI stuff. Very funny and charming. No tude, just fun.

  • annie

    Awesome :D :p

    • Was wondering what software you used to create the Defective Detective and if you know if there’s any software that is free to try that you either know, or think that would do the something. I would really appreciate.


  • Loved it! Entertaining and beautiful ’till the very end.