National Film Festival for Talented Youth | Seattle Youth Film Festival | Student Film Festival

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Broken Wing

11/22/2013
Film of the Week

Keller and Hawking are best friends with extremely different personalities. One is energetic and confident, and the other is clumsy and unhappy. However, time passes and a life-changing experience switches their roles. In a journey through childhood memories, Keller uses a Rubik’s cube to motivate his best friend to see the brighter side of life.

Broken Wing was an official selection of NFFTY 2013 and has won the Audience Choice award in the category of Bring the Kids. 

Broken Wing [Film] from amossussigan on Vimeo.

About the director:

amos_sussigan

Amos has always been a restless, creative soul, never interested in the obvious or the easily-obtained. He completed his diploma in Languages (Italian, English, Spanish, French, and German) in Switzerland, while working as a graphic designer for his own company. Working at a TV channel soon followed and Amos still collaborates with two of Switzerland’s national radio stations – Rete 1 and Rete 3 as the youngest official Swiss Italian correspondent for Warner Brothers and Fox. Amos’s blog, in which  conveyed his sadness in being away from home,  became a radio program, and many youngsters like him, who wanted to follow their dreams away from home, followed his story.

Amos is our guest blogger for the week. Check out his post Is Animation taking over Film? as he provides an introspective view and comparison of action and animated film.

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We speak to Amos to find out more about his story behind creating Broken Wing.

Q: What is the context of this story? What inspired you to make this film ? 

Amos:  Broken Wing is my first animated short and it was inspired by one of my best friends, Andre, and what happened after an event that changed both our lives.

I vividly remember that July 10, 2010. I could not know that that warm Saturday afternoon was going to change the way I see things. I was just getting ready to go to a party down by the river with Andrè, who was going to pick me up.  However, at around 5 p.m., my phone rang. It was not Andrè. Andrè had a motorcycle accident and fractured his spinal cord. Mixed thoughts of hope and dreadfulness were bursting in my head like if I was not mature enough to handle the convulsion of emotions spinning inside me, thoughts that transformed into reality once I realized that no matter how much time I spent in the hospital with him, the fact remained that he would never be able to walk again. Spending the summer in the hospital with him and his family, I witnessed his pain and desperation, feeling useless and almost intruding in such intimate life-transition. I wanted to let him know that it did not matter if he could run, walk, or sit, we would still be there next to him, no matter what. However, words seemed not to be working.

I pitched the idea of making an animated short to a few friends. Andrè did not know about this project, and kept going through rehab for the upcoming year. While we were in production, we would notice that Andrè’s Facebook page started to get filled with photos of him going snowboarding, swimming, and winning hand bike competitions. It was mesmerizing.

After a year, we had almost 11’000 drawings, hand drawn, scanned and painted one by one, 30 background paintings (some of them were 5 feet long), and managed to get help form extraordinary British Composer Mark Slater.  Broken Wing is an ode to our friendship; it’s an abstract depiction of the power of the art of healing and human resilience. I wanted to make him see the brighter side of life, and funny enough, turned into an internal journey that made me a better person, as a friend, as a filmmaker. A labor of love, inspired by just that, the deep love of one friend to another.

Q: Why Rubik’s cube? Is there any significant meaning to it? 

Amos: After the first surgery, Andre kept playing with this old and scratched Rubik’s cube, asking for bigger, newer, and more complicated ones. The cube for him was just a game, but for me, it was such a symbolic way to express that even if he was not walking anymore, he could still use his hands. Every minute was a challenge as he tried to beat the clock, but he was never satisfied. It was an old and simple object to me that expressed the way people try to “fix” things, trying to have all the sides of their life of the same color, perfectly complete, and in a short amount of time. People tend to look at their lives overall. The workplace needs to be pleasant, the money needs to flow smoothly into bank accounts, and girlfriends or boyfriends need to resemble perfection in every aspect. I personally think that it would be better to concentrate and appreciate the smaller things in life and be grateful for them. The sides that are completed first, from that correct angle, make the cube seem entirely complete. This is when I started to think about a story to share with the world

Q: Has participation in NFFTY helped to pave out a way for your current career? 

Amos:  NFFTY was unexpected, humbling, and exciting. I have been lucky enough to be considered for a few other festivals but I can truly say that NFFTY was above every expectation. I met down to heart people who create marvelous pearls of filmmaking at such young age, never shy to share their point of view, suggestions, or compliments. You are constantly confronted with the kind of “genuine competition” that makes you want to improve your skills and become a better artist, instead of raising your eyebrows and share looks of understated superiority. Truth is that it is common in the film industry, especially here in LA, to be confronted with a different kind of competition, the one that inspires jealousy, judgment, and that most of the times leads towards mediocrity, instead of greatness. Those who I had the pleasure to meet, including the organizers, struck me because they were making movies because they loved to make them. They were young, passionate, and good filmmakers. At NFFTY being a good filmmaker is much more relevant than being a famous filmmaker, probably something that is strongly related with the young age of who takes part to it.  I met filmmakers from all over the world who, once the festival ended, still kept in touch with me, some, have even become friends that I cherish greatly. In this industry, friends are the ones you need the most. Filmmaking is never “a one-man-show”, it’s a team effort. The better the team, the more genuine friends you have, the better the product will be.

After winning the audience awards at NFFTY I got a scholarship for THE FILM SCHOOL and I spent a month in Seattle, where I made great connections, and even more friends with who I am currently working on a few projects, transitioning a little more towards live-action.

To find out more about Amos, check out his website or his Facebook page.

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To all filmmakers out there:

Inspired by Amos’s story? Have your own animation and would like to be like Amos? Submit to NFFTY now before our Mid-deadline closes. NFFTY has a category specially for animation, so do submit if you have one! Check out our submission page for more details.

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