2018 NEXT Section Sundance Trading Card Series: #11. Jeremiah Zagar (We the Animals)
Eric Lavallee: Name me three of your favorite “2017 discoveries”.
Jeremiah Zagar: Foxtrot, Big Mouth, Pattie Cake$
Lavallee: It’s rare to see book to micro-indie adaptations, in penning the screenplay, what is a key character, backdrop, or sequence that you were unable to extrapolate from Justin Torres’ source material and for what reason?
Zagar: In the last few chapters of the book, the main character jumps many years in age. Because we did not want the audience to lose connection with our leads, we chose not to age them but rather use the seasons to portray a passage of time.
Lavallee: If I had to pinpoint animator’s Mark Samsonovich stylistically stamp, I’d say it’s almost medical dictionary slash folkloric inspired with a unique sense of humor. Could you discuss your collaboration with him in terms of what were some of the influences outside the guise of the screenplay and book and how it enhanced the filmed portions.
Zagar: My first films were animated (see Baby Eat Baby). I love tangible, textural materials. I was particularly into the idea of capturing grain on moving paper. Christina King, one of our producers, showed me Mark’s work and I thought it was incredible and that he would understand the movie I was trying to make. He did and below is his take:
“I think maybe something unique about the animation is that I had practically never done animation prior to this project (aside from small abstract stuff); meanwhile the film depicts the burgeoning creativity of Jonah – I think there’s a common thread between us figuring out Jonah’s world and Jonah figuring out his own world in the movie.”
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