Promonews - 22nd Apr 2021

Isabel Garratt directs a delightful stop motion animated video for Eels' Earth To Dora - the title track of band's new album. It's Garratt's first project since joining the directors' roster at Prettybird in London, and released the day before Earth Day.

The music video finds Dora living on the moon, surrounded by otherworldly sadness and surreal depictions of misery - and a very large snake. It's up to E (Mark Oliver Everett, the band's frontman) to convince Dora it's time to come back down to Earth. 

E and Dora's story of interplanetary friendship plays out with the deft combination of two different animation techniques - puppetry and painting on glass. The Welsh director - who's previous work includes the award-winning short film Listen To Me Sing - undertook the stop motion aspect of the production, mixed with paintings by animators David McShane and Renee Zhan.

Garrett is an alumna of the National Film and Television School and artist-in-residence at Alexander McQueen’s Sarabande Foundation, where she created the video. She now joins Prettybird's global roster of multidisciplinary directors working across branded entertainment. 

“I’m so happy that Isabel has joined the PRETTYBIRD UK director roster," says Juliette Larthe, co-founder and executive producer of Prettybird UK. "Isabel’s unique stop-motion animation technique, mixed with painterly elements and an ethereal sensibility, her innate humour and magical way she expresses emotion with her character stole my heart when I saw her work, and I’m delighted we are now working together.”

ISABEL GARRETT:

I liked the idea of mixing paint with stop motion to make a world which is a bit playful and nostalgic.

"The song is about E trying to cheer up an old friend over text. There’s something magical and otherworldly about the lyrics that made me think of Dora being stuck on another planet, surrounded by misery and needing a route home. For me the song is about the distance that depression creates and the beauty of companionship. I liked the idea of mixing paint with stop motion to make a world which is a bit playful and nostalgic with lots of handmade texture to capture the sensitivity of the lyrics.

“David McShane also animated most of the video, and it took about three weeks to animate all the stop motion. It's the old-fashioned way of animating the puppets frame-by-frame, and the average is about ten seconds of animation per day. The paint is gouache on glass, which is also a traditional animation technique, but we shot it on greenscreen so it could be composited into the stop-motion world.

"PRETTYBIRD has such a brilliant energy. They’re champions of interesting, bold and unconventional ideas. This approach and the totally wonderful team at Prettybird means the work they produce is always exciting and surprising, covering everything from important and moving narratives to the most absurd humour with complete confidence. They approached me with such an understanding of my work and sensibilities, as well as a genuine interest in the world of animation and the potential it has.

"I knew straight away that PRETTYBIRD is the right place for me, and it’s a privilege to be joining such an amazing rosta of directors. I’m also super excited to be releasing our first project together, a music video for Eels, which has been a dream to work on. It’s a beautiful track which leant itself perfectly to animation.”

PRO Credits

Credits

DirectorIsabel Garrett
ProducerChris Murdoch
Production CompanyPrettybird
Executive ProducerJuliette Larthe
Director of PhotographyDaniel Morgan
Production designerTheo Boswell
AnimatorDavid McShane
Other creditsPaint on Glass: Renee Zhan & David McShane Modelmakers: Alice Simonato, Oliver Arnell Argles, Thomas Garnon, Richard Malone, Claire Smithson, Agatha Roudaut, Bluey Byrne Puppet Maker: Lisa Ott Edit/ Composite: Isabel Garrett Shot at Sarabande Foundation

Promonews - 22nd Apr 2021

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