CRAC!

[Document: P_0881]
Photo

Oscar® for Best Animated Short Film, Los Angeles, California, March 1982. The team: seated, Frédéric Back, Gervais Lessard (accordion), Ghylaine Paquin-Back and Pierre Vézina (guitar); standing, Hubert Tison, Normand Roger, Michel Descombes, Claude Lapierre, Jacques Leroux, Jean Robillard, Gilles Paré, André J. Riopel and Claude Méthé (fiddle).

Credit: Radio-Canada, 1982

Fact sheet

Animated film without words
Production year: 1981
Running time: 15 minutes
Production time: 22 months
(March 1979 to February 1981)
Assistant: Lise-Hélène Larin (11 weeks)
Number of drawings: 7,000

Technique: Prismacolor® pencil and pastel on frosted cels
Always pressed for time in the fast-paced television environment, Frédéric Back focused his energies on the film's moving elements. The backgrounds were only roughly sketched in to give a sense of the place or ambiance in which the action unfolds. "In animated film, it's the action that draws the viewer's attention. The rest is secondary," explains the filmmaker. The use of coloured pencil on frosted cels turned out to be a practical solution, since the drawing and colouring could be done simultaneously. The fact that some of the elements did not need to be drawn in detail considerably lightened Back's workload as well. The transparency of the cels allowed him to superimpose multiple layers of 'action' over an unchanging background-a technique that affords a wide range of creative possibilities, like mixing pencil drawings with pastel or even painting on the smooth side of the cel.

Crac! has relatively few drawings for a film of its length. This is due in part to the repetitive actions in several sequences (for instance, the dance and rocking scenes), which allowed the same drawings to be re-used with only slight modifications.

The theme song from the famous Quebec soap opera Les belles histoires des pays d'en haut (adapted from Glazunov's The Seasons) was completely redone on a synthesizer by Denis Chartrand, who successively mimicked the different tones.

Unfortunately, just before he was about to head off to Los Angeles, where his film All Nothing was in the running for an Oscar®, Frédéric Back had an accident: while he was applying a coat of fixative to a Crac! drawing, the fumes got into his right eye. He went to Hollywood all the same, but his eye would never recover.

Credits

Script and animation: Frédéric Back
Original music and sound design: Normand Roger
In cooperation with: Le rêve du diable and Denis Chartrand
Camera: Claude Lapierre, Jean Robillard
Editing: Jacques Leroux
Sound: André J. Riopel
Sound effects: Gilles Paré
Final mix: Michel Descombes
Producer: Hubert Tison
Director: Frédéric Back
Produced by Radio-Canada, 1981