Something a bit different for our Cartoon Brew Film of the Week. EVA GOES TO FOREIGN is a 1-minute, 45-second UK-produced public service announcement aimed at dissuading women in Carribbean countries who might engage in drug trafficking. The film is a powerful example of the medium, showing how animation can effectively communicate difficult, serious ideas in a short amount of time.
The spot is also impressive for its distinctive graphic look, courtesy of the film’s co-director and designer Neil Campbell Ross. The backgrounds have a painterly esthetic composed of solid swatches of color with no inked outline. The characters in front also have minimal use of line, with their bodies constructed of bold, colored forms. Both characters and backgrounds have highly abstracted light and shadows playing off their forms that really ties the piece together. Ross has previously done production design/illustration on films as diverse as ANTZ, THE CORPSE BRIDE, TARZAN II, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and Aardman’s upcoming FLUSHED AWAY. I’ve been a big fan since discovering his work online and was surprised to find a piece of animation like EVA that so faithfully translates his style to film. You can see more of his work, including lots of development art for EVA, at his website NeilCampbellRoss.co.uk. Also be sure to check out his BLOG and his incredible development art for THE CORPSE BRIDE.
I asked Neil if he could provide a few background details on the film and here’s what he wrote:
It is a public information short commisioned by FPWP/HIBISCUS, a voluntary organisation that works with drug offenders in the U.K. The story was conceived by Tass Darlington and is based on her interviews with Jamaican women doing time in British prisons for trafficking in hard drugs. It is now being shown on cable and local TV stations in the English-speaking Caribbean countries. Its purpose is to dissuade the kind of vulnerable individual, who gets lured into trafficking, from making the wrong move. The design ‘style’ I would call graphic – realistic. The characters and their settings had to be believable for the intended audience. The sad story is an abbreviated but accurate account of how a young Jamaican woman – EVA – becomes a ‘drug mule’ and the tragic consequences for herself and her family.
My initial designs and all backgrounds were done in Photoshop. The animation was roughed in traditionally – pencil on paper – then cleaned up in Flash and composited in After Effects. The tight soul-reggae music track is by Paul Maxx and Deep Rooted Production. Eva’s beautiful Jamaican patois is spoken by Susan Lawson-Reynolds. Script by Mark Holloway. Adapted by Leone Ross. Co-direction is by myself and Richard Burdett for ANIMAGE FILMS.