MOVIE NEWS – It is not easy to draw a duck – complains the director and screenwriter of the family comedy Duck Feet, Benjamin Renner. The Oscar-nominated French filmmaker and comic book artist was asked by the most successful American animation studio, Illumination, to produce the new production in order to enrich the genre with individual colors with his European vision and sensibility.
The story is about an adventurous family of ducks who set out on a journey from the north through New York to have a great vacation in Jamaica. Of course, nothing goes as planned, unexpected adventures thoroughly rearrange their world view, but also the relationships within the four-member family.
It was a big challenge for Renner that this time he had to work with duck heroes in 3D. “When I’m dealing with 2D, I take a blank piece of paper and start drawing lines on it,” the director introduced the audience to his working method at one of the performances of the Contenders Film: Los Angeles event series organized by Collider magazine. – When I see that what I wanted to display is already on the paper, I stop dragging. When I want to draw a duck, three lines are enough. Some say it’s a minimalist approach, others say it’s laziness. Then 3D opened new horizons. It quickly became clear to me what the crucial difference was. It is based on 2D addition, if something is missing from the diagram, I draw another line. 3D, on the other hand, is a game of subtraction: everything is there on the screen at the press of a button, textures, light, shadow, and I have to carefully remove the elements that I think are not necessary. 2D therefore creates something from nothing, but in the case of 3D, by default, there is so much that needs to be taken away.”
Ducks are seemingly simple creatures, but they become complicated when they have to be portrayed as the heroes of an adventure story. During the making of the film, there was a situation when fifty animators stood around a duck in the studio and tried to decipher its movements. “The duck must have felt like a human being abducted by aliens to study,” Renner said. – We stood there, watching in silence, the duck looked completely bewildered, because it didn’t understand what it should do. In any case, I can assure everyone that he was not harmed. In the end, he pretended to shrug his shoulders and staggered back into his cage.”
(Migration – domestic presentation. December 7, 2023.)