“Le Gouffre” Looks Beautiful and Was Made by Just 3 Artists

When French Canadian animators David Forest, Carl Beauchemin and Thomas Chrétien started a Kickstarter for their short film Le Gouffre earlier this month, they set a modest budget of $5,000 Canadian. The figure was just enough to cover the costs of completing the eight minute piece, which they have been working on full-time since quitting their jobs in January 2012.

The film, about two travelers building a bridge across a vast chasm, reached 200% of its funding goal in less than two days, and has gone on to raise over $19,000, or nearly 400% of its goal. Picking up attention from sites like Branchez-vous and the Québécois edition of The Huffington Post, as well as being featured as “Project of the Day” on the Kickstarter website and receiving a contribution of $1,000 from the animation department of the trio’s alma mater, Cégep du Vieux-Montréal.

Work-in-progress clips and images of Le Gouffre are being posted on the team’s production blog, including the progression of a more “painterly style” that they are attempting to add to the look of the production, by way of reprojection camera techniques.




With the campaign running until October 9th, the trio has set their stretch goal at $20,000 to help enter the film into festivals, launch their next project, and assist in paying off their debts accumulated during production.


  • Matt Sullivan

    Not bad at all. I wish we struggling animators would band together to create new and exciting films and studios…but for the most part we’re still suckling at the big studios collective teats.

    • Ant G

      Those guys quit their jobs to work on this and then started a kickstarter to get people to cover their unemployment debt. If all of us “struggling animators” did this, the demand would overwhelmingly exceed the supply and no one would donate.

      Canada is also way more supportive of artists than the US. American animators would not be able to do what they did unless we had our own savings or a trust fund to support us, which are two things animators with student loans to pay just wouldn’t have.

      • Aimebebe

        They started a kickstarter in order to get 5000$ to pay for the music and sound guys. The money was intended for people other than themselves. It was not to pay off their debt.
        They did apply for government founding but didn’t get it, it’s all on their production blog.

  • Matt

    I love how a group of 3 in debt students are making a film that looks wise out does what most of the larger studios are doing and it is all being done out of their apartment. Also it is all being done for a rain drop of cash as to what the studios spend.

    • Phil

      Quick correction, these are not students. They’re professionals who quit their jobs to work on their project.

    • Ant G

      You’re correct, it merely “looks” like a big studio film, but that rain drop of cash difference will be noticeable because the millions the studios spend go into story development and paying the best writers they can afford, animation and paying the best animators they can afford, voice acting and paying… etc etc. Point is, anyone can pull off the visuals if you can get your hands on the software and watch tutorials. It takes much more than pretty graphics to make a good movie though.

      • Aimebebe

        No, not everyone can pull off beautiful visuals with just a software and tutorial. Yes you need the technical knowledge but you mostly need an artistic vision and dedication. It’s like saying anyone can draw if they just pick up a pen and paper…
        I went to school with those guys and they are one of the most hard working and talented people I know. They spent a very very long time working on the story and were humble enough to just throw away huge amounts of work because it didn’t support the story. Throwing money at someone doesn’t mean they’ll come up with good ideas.
        Oh Cartoon Brew…. you always find a way to make everything about the big studios…

    • Vincent

      It looks very different from the usual Hollywood CG movie, in fact it’s closer to video game cutscenes like in Walking Dead and Borderlands. The style was in chosen because it let them still have a decent look while not having to spend years to shade and render everything photo-real.

      Also keep in mind those are three professionals working on their own with no budget and only their passion and savings supporting themselves. All the pre-prod was also done in their spare time over several months while working their previous job. Hollywood budgets would also cost nothing if they had to look like video games and only paid each artist $100 every week, there’s a good reason they cost so much and it’s to pay the artists properly.

    • Foreign Devil

      There are no millionaire actors, producers, lawyers and studio execs to pay off. That’s the main reason.

  • Steven Bowser

    The style reminds me of “The Walking Dead” game by Telltale studios. It looks like a graphic novel in motion.

  • Ninja_Toes

    why haven’t we seen crowd funding like this for a full animation feature yet?
    If Zach Braff can raise millions on Kickstarter then why can’t an animator? Kudos to these guys, hopefully they go on producing more work like this, and hopefully this project builds on the potential of crowd funding for independent animators world wide .