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Work / Animation

Michaela Mihalyiová’s stop-motion animation playfully explores rituals at mealtimes

Slovakia-born animator Michaela Mihalyiová has created Food, a stop-motion animation that interprets meal times through a handful of sweet visual jokes, connected by one character. The idea first came to Michaela when she was having a coffee and “imagined a naked person taking a bath in my espresso”. She then thought of other amusing food/human combinations and started exploring the rituals surrounding certain meals of the day.

Inspired by cut-out illustrations Michaela wanted to add movement to the style and spent about a week hand-making the puppets and sets. “The actual shooting of the film happened in a school atelier in Prague and it took all of the Harry Potter audiobooks, around 25 New Yorker podcasts and a few TED talk recordings to get it finished, all in all it was about two weeks,” says Michaela who’s currently studying animation at FAMU in Prague.

In the film we see a man take a dip in a cup of coffee, some soup splashed playfully between a couple at lunchtime, and then our protagonists get a bit steamy over a saucy plate of spaghetti. The film is simple and well-executed. Michaela’s incredible attention to detail is evident in the multiple moving parts of the puppets. “I wanted to make the hands for the characters really look like paper and be thin but stay in position for shooting,” explains Michaela. “Finally I found I could use disposable metal barbecue plates. I cut the hands out and painted them in white, the hands still kept falling apart so I needed like 15 of them.”

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Michaela Mihalyiová: Food (still)

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Michaela Mihalyiová: Food (still)

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Michaela Mihalyiová: Food (still)