A man enters his local fish store with the intention of returning a recently purchased, odd-looking fish. The fish’s oddities quickly turn endearing and the man is left with a difficult decision to make.
Harley was an official selection of NFFTY 2014 and screened as a part of the Happy Hour Shorts category.
Film of the Week is presented by Volvo Cars of North America.
About the director:
Tom Teller was born in Portland, OR before moving to beautiful Bend, OR nine years ago. He will be a junior studying Film Production at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in Orange, CA. Tom’s passion for filmmaking started with filming silly videos of his friends and following them skiing on the mountain. This newfound passion for filmmaking went hand in hand with his love for art and technology. When Tom entered film school he really began applying my skills and realizing they could all be combined and utilized on one project. He doesn’t know what the future holds but he would love to do many things whether it be directing, shooting, animating, supervising, or even key gripping. He has enjoyed all aspects of filmmaking from the pre-production table to the five consecutive all nighters to finish a film. It’s a blast.
NFFTY spoke with Tom about his work.
Q: What made you want to tell the story of Harley and his troubles of finding ownership?
I wanted to tell the story of Harley because I think it teaches a very valuable lesson and is something everyone can relate to. The story itself is quite simplistic because I wanted to produce a short film that could be understood by all audiences and at the same time bring out the most fundamental emotions from the viewer. It also helps that most people have a soft spot for small funny looking animals!
Q: Was this your first time combining live action and CG animation? What was the biggest challenge in making Harley come to life?
I have done Visual Effects for quite some time so the concept of combining CGI elements with live action was not foreign to me, but Harley was in a whole new territory. When I committed to the film I didn’t know how to do the majority of the effects that I ended up creating. Committing to the project before I had the skill set to accomplish it really drove me to learn a lot of new tools and apply them very quickly. The biggest challenge for me was animating Harley. I had never really animated in 3D before and a fish was probably the worst way to start, it was a seriously rewarding headache.
Q: Are you working on anything new?
Currently I have several projects in the works. I just finished another partially animated film with an amazing team and the talented director Trevor Stevens, called Mr. Bananas, it’s about a teenage boy, Curtis, who wakes up being threatened by his little sisters stuffed monkey who Curtis has ruthlessly tortured with his friends. That was probably the most technically challenging project I’ve worked on so far. On a different note, over the next half year I’ll be finalizing my mountain biking documentary, The Rise of Enduro which explains the racing format of Enduro and tracks the race season as we follow it around the world throughout the year. Lastly, in the spring I am planning to direct and animate another CGI / Live Action film about a mistreated robot. I don’t want to reveal more than that but if Harley was technically challenging then this film will be a nightmare, and I can’t wait. Thank you for selecting Harley to be the NFFTY Film of the Week!
Visit Tom’s website to learn more about him and his work.