Tarte aux pommes Tarte aux pommes

In this ongoing series, we profile the most interesting independent animation filmmakers working today — the artists who, through short films and other projects, change our ideas of what the medium can do.

This week’s subject is Swiss animator Isabelle Favez, whose short films and tv work feature an assortment of odd yet lovable and compassionate characters seeking social connections.

In a sentence: Favez has created a diverse body of work, often aimed at younger audiences, that eschews loud, obnoxious characters and trite storylines in favor of quieter, deceptively simple, frequently silly, and visually vibrant stories that subtly transmit themes of cooperation and bonding.

Where to start: Tarte aux pommes (Apple Pie, 2006). This comic love triangle features a cat, a dog, a baker, a hunter, and a rather surly, borderline-psychotic butcher. With a minimal soundtrack and a somewhat crude yet effective design, Favez creates an engaging work about the ups and downs of human relationships.

What to watch next: In The Heart of Winter (2012). Five forest dwellers try to find food before winter comes. A beautiful, gentle, and comic ode to connection, community, and nature.

Other key works: mixedbag (2009), Circuit Marine (2003), Lost Brain (2021)

Influences: Mark Baker, Mikhail Aldashin

Says: “Normally, I finish my films in the editing room. That’s really where the magic happens. When my editor is just telling me, for instance, that ‘the footage doesn’t work, you need a close up,’ I can go back and make a correction the next day – and we fix it.”

Currently working on: Trying to develop a feature film for children, titled Rouxelle et les Pirates.

Pictured at top: Tarte aux pommes

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Chris Robinson

Chris Robinson is a writer and Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF). Robinson has authored thirteen books including Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy: A Story of Estonian Animation (2006), Ballad of a Thin Man: In Search of Ryan Larkin (2008), and Japanese Animation: Time Out of Mind (2010). He also wrote the screenplay for the award-winning animation short, Lipsett Diaries.

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