CBTV Student Fest: “Otzi” By Evan Red Borja

Cartoon Brew’s Student Animation Festival proudly presents Otzi by Evan Red Borja (School of Visual Arts). Borja’s film is highly imaginative, laugh out loud, and thought-provoking–and did we mention super entertaining. Borja uses an efficient line style, but doesn’t skimp on the animation, which is creative and perfectly suited to the style. The vocal track enhances the fun with Fleischer-like verbal mutterings.

Continue reading for comments from the filmmaker, Evan Red Borja:

THE IDEA
The story of Otzi came to me accidentally. It was the summer before my thesis year and I was restoring my vintage motorcycle. I was trying to replace the clutch cable. It wasn’t broken or anything, I just wanted to change it since it was a little rusty. Not knowing what I was doing, I accidentally broke an important piece inside the engine, which meant that I couldn’t shift through the gears. I was super bummed about the whole situation and really wished that I had a time machine to go back in time to when I didn’t mess around with my motorcycle. That’s when it hit me! This would be a perfect idea to start with for my thesis. I changed a few variables around and ended up replacing myself with a scientist/explorer/archeologist and changing the motorcycle into an ancient fossilized corpse. We’ve all had those times where we’ve made a mistake and wished that there was an UNDO button. Since I knew that the story would involve a time machine, I figured that it would be cool if it looped. Everything else just fell into place as I continued to work on it.

Otzi is an actual dude who froze to death in the Ötztal Alps between Austria and Italy. I read about him once when I was in the first grade and I’ve remembered his story ever since. When I decided that the character in my film was going to freeze during the ice ages, I knew I had to call him Otzi, and that this story would be my interpretation on how the real man died.

TOOLBOX
My tool box included paper and pencil for planning out shots and character designs. I used Flash CS4 for backgrounds and animation, After Effects CS4 for compositing, and Final Cut Pro for sound design. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.

CHALLENGES
The most difficult part about making this film was choosing the color palettes. I have almost no experience with color and for some reason I made the decision to animate with grey lines. This made it even harder for me to choose a palette because the colors that were too dark would overpower the line work, or blend in and become muddy.

LESSSONS LEARNED
The most important thing that I learned while making this short is how crucial the storytelling is. I needed to make sure that it was something worth putting so much time and effort into. It had to be something that I was going to enjoy working on for a long time without getting bored.

INSPIRATIONS
A lot of my inspiration came from just watching a bunch of cartoons and shorts on vimeo. If you can’t already tell, Adventure Time and Regular Show are a big influence to me. The sense of humor is what I love about those two shows as well that the art style. Miyazaki’s fluid animation and Ghostshrimp backgrounds are some things that I studied to get inspiration. The short film Crater Face, Cecelia and her Selfhood, Old Fangs and all the Gobelin’s films are things that I watched every single day before I animated. It got me so hyped to work on my own film.

FILMMAKER’S WEBSITE: Evan Red Borja




The Cartoon Brew Student Animation Festival is made possible by the generosity of our presenting sponsor JibJab.


  • Lib

    I saw this film before it premiered at the Dusty festival, while I was checking a bunch of end-of-the-year films for the screenings at SVA. I think it’s hands-down the best short to come out of the school since The Terrible Thing of Alpha 9.

    And time travel wise, the best thing that happened since Back to the Future.

  • http://puppetknack.blogspot.in/ Santhanu

    Very good concept…and nicely done. Congratulations.

  • Vic

    Fantastic work with some really subtle character moments. One of the things that popped for me was how well planned the color palate was. Congratulations!

  • http://hairyman.me hairy

    love! it!

  • http://strangepixels.blogspot.com Joe Boulden

    A really tight little animation! Great job!

  • http://www.forthebirdsblog.blogspot.com Michael J. Ruocco

    Evan is awesome. Period.

  • http://www.terrybiddle.com TBiddy

    This was hilarious. Well done.

  • http://dailygrail.com/ Red Pill Junkie

    Nice job! As an Ötzi fan, I appreciate how you used an actual historic event as inspiration :)

  • miriam

    I enjoyed It,congrats…

  • Mike

    Loved the concept and the Adventure Time-esque visuals, but I could have done without the dialogue…felt a bit forced at times. Great job none-the-less!

    • jérôme

      Personally, I like the dialogue very much… It helps to give the character a personality and I’m a little fed up of all the cartoons with no dialogues in it and just hurms and mumbling…

  • Nigel

    This is really solid film from concept to finished product. I very much enjoy watching it.

  • Rohit Iyer

    Amazing. Very similar to Alpha-9, yet unique. Love the thought bubbles. Though I could see the ending a mile away, I still enjoyed the animation and the visuals.

    Especially the little dance that the imaginary scientist does when he sells the time machine. :)

  • kevin

    Great film Evan.