CBTV Student Fest: “Peter & the Space Between”

Today is a sad day because we’re presenting the tenth and final selection in this year’s Cartoon Brew Student Animation Festival, but it’s a happy day because we’re debuting the excellent Peter and the Space Between by Sitji Chou, a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Chou’s film–”about a man who tries to understand the futility of creating human connections when they have been impeded by the microcosmic void between material particles”–addresses a difficult topic with artfulness and poignancy. The elongated and sharply angular design of Peter suggests visual distress in a German Expressionist mold, and the experimental effects animation and abstract graphics communicate Peter’s inner thoughts better than any literal character animation could possible do so. The minimalist score and sound design by Raphael Choi hits the right tone and adds another layer of meaning to this thoughtful short.

Sitji (pictured above) shared these thoughts on the creation of Peter & the Space Between:

The process of making this film was really difficult. I changed my mind so many times, and I lost about 4 months working on other film ideas before I finally decided on this one. The change came from an idea when I watched Jumpers, a documentary about people committing suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge. There were interviews with survivors who cited that before they hit the water, they changed their minds about their decision. I thought this was a beautiful idea because it deals with an acceptance of the things you commit to, the fleeting confidence you have with something and the futility of trying to change the situation. When you make a decision, sometimes you have to stick with it. At the same time as when I watched this, I was also randomly learning about physics, and was inspired by the spacial void between molecules and people. I thought it was really neat but at the same time really tragic that there is this physical distance between people.

I tried to make it so that each time you watched it, you would see, or hear something different, or understand more of it. At first, it’s kind of overwhelming with the visuals and the dialogue, but when you let the film wash over you, I wanted the feelings of futility and loneliness to translate through. I think my biggest challenge was to make the dialogue not too confusing, but at the same time, complex enough so that it takes another viewing to fully understand it.

Since I lost so much time at the beginning of my production, I needed to find an animation technique I knew I could do quickly and cleanly. I decided to use Photoshop and animate with the lasso tool, using After Effects to do my compositing. The sound design was provided by Raphael Choi, a very talented friend I knew from high school. He really helped me pull it together and we discussed how the more elaborate the images and escapist Peter’s attitude, the more musical the sound becomes.

Fun fact: I watched every episode of Futurama while making my film! My favourite episode is “Jurassic Bark”.

I really hope you enjoy the film! It was amazing to make, and I had a lovely and supportive team helping me the entire process.

Filmmaker Website
Chou’s website: Sitji.com
Chou’s blog: Sitji Chou Production Blog

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


  • http://www.meinardas.lt Meinardas

    Nice storytelling. Beautiful animation! Nice work! :)

  • http://www.mikescottanimation.com Mike Scott

    Really nice. I enjoy it when more complicated ideas (well…not necessarily complicated, but at least not dumbed down in any way) are presented in animation. Was watching Waking Life last night, so this compliments it nicely. *IS* a bit weird to think that molecules never touch, if I got that right. Weird.

  • kris

    Is there a reason why the narrator is a Man, and the Girl is protesting?

  • http://www.christinafaulkner.blogspot.com Christina Faulkner

    This is one of the most beautiful shorts I have seen. The visuals and story telling are intelligent and impactful. I can’t wait to see more of Sitji’s work in the future.

  • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/ Michael Sporn

    A beautifully crafted film. I certainly will be looking forward to Mr. Chou’s next work unless he’s “impeded by the microcosmic void between material particles” and ends up doing sheet timings on Family Guy. I think there may be too strong a voice for him not to do another.

  • http://dq-pb.com.br Thiago

    I really loved your film. I was wondering how great it was if you deliver to us an HD version.

  • carissa

    The documentary he’s referring to is called ‘The Bridge’ released in 2005 or 2006. There is an article called ‘Jumpers’ by Tad Fiend about the Golden Gate Bridge:
    http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/10/13/031013fa_fact

  • Grace

    the result of conjoining semantics with physics… i love this

  • Doug

    Two questions after viewing this film –
    1) How did I miss this for so long?
    2) Why aren’t there more comments on this film?

    Amazing work. I am really wowed by this short!

  • Mike

    Hah, right there with you Doug…been meaning to watch this for months and just finally got around to it! Definitely one of my favorite of the student films..haunting and amazing!

    Man, now I’m just wishing I’d watched Wild Life before it got taken down!