Descendants by Heiko van der Scherm

Writer, director, designer and modeler Heiko van der Scherm took three years to produce his CG short film Descendants. Whoopi Goldberg lent her voice to the project, which has been playing film festivals and winning awards all over the world.

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  • chris

    Unbelievable. I had to back up at the first reveal because i completely didn’t see it coming. Shades of Alice in Wonderland. Is this a German or Swedish production? This is some “realistic” animation that I can get behind. The beauty of the landscape would be cheated in a Pixar format. Great Character design. Red Flower>Red Queen?

  • Andrew

    Absolutely incredible, if not just a tiny bit creepy. It’s fascinating how well van der Scherm’s sent us into the seemingly mundane world of flora.

  • Sherrie

    Fantastic! The ending was beautiful, and I definitely didn’t see it coming.

  • http://blissfulignorance551.deviantart.com/ A.J.

    …why did the deer die when he ate Whoopi? This is ambigious to the max…and I Hat literal film-making…ut some explanation for just that part would be great. I do understand that whoopi was wrong however, and they were able to have “children :)

  • http://ysogreenandlonely.blogspot.com/ joshuatree

    beautiful, A.J the blood in whoopi’s flower was poisonous she explains at one part to the other flower

  • AlphaTom

    The red flower was poisonous. Which is probably why the deer runs away when the red flower jumps out. It might have been frightened, but I think it knows that the red flower is poisonous. At one point the red flower makes a reference to her poison being gone. Which I assume returns after she becomes healthy again.

  • Tim Schuit

    Ermm, I guess I’m brushing against the grain when I saw this. I thought the whole short was quite boring. Didn’t really have an interesting message, characters looked very unappealing (the white flower’s face was OK….the red one looked pretty poor). Lighting wasn’t that great–the foreground was constantly blending into the background and it was hard to focus on the action….especially since there were many shots in which the characters’ faces were darker than the background elements.

    The only shot that really stood out to me, was the timelapse sequence at the end. I thought that was neat.

    Also, I thought Goldberg’s inclusion was…pointless? The role was basically a monotone speaking role that anyone could have done. I’m not sure why they thought they needed a celebrity actor. In fact, I thought Whoopi’s voice didn’t even match the character most of the time. Overall, I’d give the short 4/10 at best and have no interest in watching it again.

    But I can accept the fact that many people would disagree with me, considering the number of awards its won and the general acclaim it seems to be getting on the internet. Personally, I don’t get it…but congratulations to Scherm for making a film that is appealing to many other people.

    • neo

      wow Tim- I cant disagree more – you must be the most unpleasantly unintelligent person I have ever come across – how dare you judge such beautiful artful mastery! I am embarrassed and ashamed for you.

  • Schoenberger

    Thanks everyone about your comments.
    About the darkness of the characters. We will write a making-of. They had to be darker than the background. It is part of the story.
    It was produced for a cinema, dark room, large screen. It works pretty well if you see it there. And if the brightness is set right on for the projection.

    PS: It is not “why they needed a celebrity actor”.
    It was “Whoopy volunteered to give her voice for a student film”.
    So why not take it ?

  • Makkes

    zzzzzz…. Tim -.-

    there are always people like you who seem to think that critizism is a creative job. how would YOU have solved all the “problems” this film obviously has? did YOU ever put a difficult story like this into pictures? maybe you should check your computer equippment, because the lighting and the characters in my opinion look flawless… and if you activate your brain, then maybe you discover the message… oh… well, yeah i forgot. you gave it a 4/10 and never wach it again… maybe because it reminds you that you are uncapable of doing something like this… ;)

  • Autumn

    This was dark and beautiful. I really liked it

  • http://drip.de davidmaas

    @ Makkes… criticism IS a creative job! And Chris – the film is from Germany, students at the Filmakademie BW. Germans are used to overly harsh criticism – ;-). The film isn’t perfect, and criticism is generally valuable, that did come across as partly okay but generally shit. Which I can’t agree with at all. The animation is beautiful, the scene designs are breath-taking and the story is – not perfect, but I personally find it refreshing to see a student film that tries to hit these dramatic, philosophical chords.
    More power to the whole lot!

  • mick

    ease up makkes
    a thread of nothing but back slaps is no use to anyone. Not everyone will like this and it left me a little cold for much the same reasons as Tim high lights.

  • Makkes

    To say “this is not done well enough” is no “creative achievement” at all, davidmaas. it is, if you have a clue how to improove it. don’t disguise a personal opinion as “criticism” because a criticism always has to contain something constructive and at least a hint of how it can be improoved. in tims long text, no new and interesting ideas are offered. and thats what i call a cheap shot and whining. and what do you call “perfect” davidmaas? did you write a perfect story? i am eager to read it…

    i also do not like every little thing in this film, but i am honest enough to say that i wouldn’t have the skills to improove it.

  • http://www.vanderscherm.com Heiko van der Scherm

    Thank you all for your comments. obviously this movie is causing some controversy. I like that :) i learned something during the making of this movie:”ask a hundred different people and you get a hundred different opinions.” Actually when i see this movie i only see the flaws in it (i think this is normal) :) So i am very happy and honored that some of you write something nice and even kind of protected it :)

  • Tim Schuit

    Makkes: The problems I mentioned don’t have impossible solutions. For example, I mentioned the characters being darker than the backgrounds. There are a few shots where this is NOT the case because there is light being cast on their faces through the tree canopies above. They could have simulated this in the darker shots as well.

    I also didn’t state that I couldn’t figure out the message. I stated it was uninteresting to me.

    To say “I am uncapable of doing something like this”, implying that I cannot critique something if I don’t have the capacity to do it, is silly. Was this film made only for other animators? Or was it made for the general public to enjoy? If a member of the general public does not enjoy it, does he not have the right to voice his opinion?

    I stated clearly at the end of my “review” that I know people will disagree and I can appreciate that. Maybe you missed that part because you were too busy trying to find flaw in my OPINIONS.

    Scherm: Okay well if she offered her voice that was nice of her to do.

    • neo

      we dont want people like “Tim” in humanities gene pool !

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    I’m with Tim on this but kudos to Heiko for taking his criticism like a pro.

  • http://www.vanderscherm.com Heiko van der Scherm

    i do not feel “criticised” at all :) A person said his opinion, fair enough, but it’s only one opinion of a 1000 i heard so far. actually i do not think that any “critic” can put more pressure on me, than i put on myself anyway :)

    if someone wants to discuss more, i would be happy to do so.

    Tim, i wish you a possibility to experience the difference between working with a pro like Whoopi Goldberg and “anyone” ^^ she makes it LOOK easy, but this does not mean that it actually IS. you get yourself caught up in a trap if you conclude so :)

    with the lighting, same trap: the story demands: “only INdirect lighting on the flowers” wich is MUCH more difficult to create a beautiful look with, then with direct light. Holger Schoenberger did an amazing job on that :)

    A lot of things look easier than they actually are, right Tim? ^^

  • mick

    yeah good on ya Heiko. I have never made anything that I was happy with, I am hyper critical. We all should be.

    Again, good on ya Heiko both for making this and for taking it on the chin

  • Schoenberger

    About the “criticism”:
    I disagree with Makkes “a criticism always has to contain something constructive”. And I agree with Tim “cannot critique something if I don’t have the capacity to do it”.
    (But this does not mean that I agree with Tim first thread at all)
    For example I can criticise our animators when I feel that the animation does not look naturally. But I am not an animator, so I cannot fix it.
    But Makkes, you are right, a good criticism includes at least a way how to fix it. I also do not like people who criticise everything because they just did not like it.

    One thing I have learned about watching the short with others was that you need to be relaxed, take your time for it and you really need to understand the English very good. Otherwise you do not get a lot of messages in the end. (like the poison…)
    A lot of people do not get the whole story the first time they see it.

    Again about the light:
    It was *forbidden* to get direct light on the characters. And the clearing had to be in the full bright colorful sun.
    That was the difficulty, which was not easy to solve. (I only allowed a tiny bit of less-intense direct light at night or as rim in the morning)
    Yes, the faces are dark, especially the red one, but there was less you can do about it.
    You have you watch it fullscreen in a dark room and if the gamma of your screen is not right, it is even harder to see the facials.

  • Jonathan

    I appreciated Tim’s criticism far more than the short.

    There is nothing more boring to me than a string of comments that all say “great job.” I gave up on CGTalk because of that.

    Yeah, you step on the stage and do your best. No guarantees.

  • 5tephanie

    While the film moved slowly, the pace was obviously a part of the story, as in nature works in its own measured way, and so did this. I rather enjoyed the unraveling of the story which is how it felt, it was a nice experience. The dialog presented challenges for me in that it did not match the beauty of the scenery, to me, it did not have the same depth as the aesthetic. All in all I really enjoyed this, fully realizing it could be “better” viewed in a cinematic context. I look forward to more works.

  • http://community.imaginefx.com/fxpose/hethabyrs_portfolio/default.aspx Douglas Carrel

    A truly delightful little film. I found it completely compelling. Loved the characters, their designs, the quality and subtlety of the animation, the forest settings… heck, I even loved the sap-sucking bug things. It seems evident to me that a whole heap of thought, imagination and love went into this production. A doffing of my dusty old hat and a sweeping bow to all who were involved in its creation. Five twinkling little stars from me.

  • favian

    I was wondering where could i see more amazing videos like this i had seen this 1 and other videos on kqed 9 on tv and wanted to see them again but i wasnt able to find them

  • yelis cordona

    watching this while stoned is extremely satisfactory, it was life changing.