Filmmaker Interview: “The Orange”

The Orange,” is Nick Fox-Gieg’s funny and lyrical animated short film about an orange that ruled the world. It takes its place along side other grand stories in little packages, as  part of Rooftop Films’ Opening Night: This is What We Mean By Short Films. With poetic whimsy, “The Orange” fits a breathtaking story of absolute power and  absolute reverence into just under two minutes, before credits.

We spoke to Nick to find out more.

Rooftop Films: Give a brief description of the film for those of us who haven’t seen it.

Nick Fox-Gieg: Suddenly, a humble citrus fruit is granted absolute power over the universe.

RF: Where did the idea of an orange ruling the world come from?

NFG: It’s based on a short story by Benjamin Rosenbaum that I found online in 2004–it was funny, it was thought-provoking, and it fit on one page.  I wrote Rosenbaum, got his permission, and completed the film by tiny bits over the next few years.

RF: Is this film making statements about the nature of the universe or the state of the divine?

NFG: I like to think of it as a foundation myth, but for a really silly civilization.

RF: We’ve put your film in our Opening Night program, all about grand stories in little packages, with films “about the power of storytelling, about the dangers of posturing and the joys of lying, about the magnificent thrill of re-writing history.”  We think it fits. What about you?

NFG: It’s a cosmic messiah story told in under two minutes (before credits) and one continuous (well, almost) shot–I’m biased, but I’d agree it qualifies!

RF: Describe the style of animation used in the film.

NFG: It was mainly done with Flash and a Wacom tablet; compositing was done in After Effects, audio mixing in Audition, and I assembled it all in Final Cut.  The textures in the background are macro photos of an actual orange, which I ate afterwards.

RF: How perfect. Are you a full-time filmmaker? If not, what else are you up to?

NFG: Maybe I’m a flex-time filmmaker–I do TV animation and short film commissions, and I also design projections for live events and teach animation and graphics programming.

RF: Describe your next project.

NFG: I’m currently working on a short for Bravo Canada, loosely based on the story of a Resistance agent in Vichy France who became history’s first computer hacker.

RF: What excites you about screening with Rooftop Films?

NFG: As an Ottawa Animation Festival regular, I’ve been following the work of your NYC-based alumni for years–so it’s great to become a part of it!’