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Partnership / Channel 4 Random Acts

Mattis Dovier tracks the painful metamorphosis of man into machine in his new short

Animator Mattis Dovier applies his dramatic, monochrome style to tell the tortuous tale of a man mutating into a machine in his new short. The film has been created as part of It’s Nice That’s partnership with Channel 4 Random Acts, where we’ve commissioned a series of films with five of the most exciting filmmakers working in the industry today. As part of Random Act’s expansion it has launched a new TV show for the first time in which our films will feature. You can catch Mattis’ film in the show’s third episode which aired on Monday night and can be caught up with on All 4 now.

Mattis Dovier’s animation sees the metamorphosis of a man into a robot and tracks each emotion and physical change in unnerving detail. “I put myself in the place of a man who saw himself losing his part of humanity and I wondered how I could share this testimony,” the animator says. A hybrid of comic book illustration and pointillism, black and white visuals work together with the narrator’s inner turmoil.

Mattis typically works on music videos so for his film, Inside, the project required a new way of working. “The main difficulty was to adapt myself to a different approach and to not only focus on the rhythm, the sound and image but also on the writing and integration of a text in a video,” he explains.

“I worked on the voiceover before drawing and because the narrator writes what happened to him in his diary, the images are a graphic interpretation of the story,” says Mattis. “It’s the first time I’ve worked from written material, so the rest of the film built itself around this element. Throughout the process I found the words had an impact and strong power just like the visuals and sound, so there was a balance to be found between all of these things so they make sense.” The advantage of a voiceover also means Mattis creates an intimacy by making it easier for the audience to put themselves in the narrator’s position, an underlying theme in the film.

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Mattis Dovier: Inside

Mattis approached Mondkopf, a French electronic music producer, for the film’s score. “There is something powerful and fragile in his music,” says the animator. “It is sensitive and radical at the same time, and almost spiritual but also a bit chaotic and devastating. It’s this energy that I wanted to provide, to illustrates the inner fight of the narrator. I sent him the synopsis and some pictures and he came back to me with a composition of a few minutes – it was exactly what I saw!”

The film took five weeks to make, which saw Mattis spending one week developing the writing and storyboard, one week to draw the images of the main scenes and then three weeks animating the piece. Much of Mattis’ work is in black and white and for Inside he felt it fit the mood of the film well. “I find it brings an intensity and strong dramatic dimensions. I like not giving too much information and leaving an aspect a bit abstract in my work,” he says. “I am inspired by a low-tech aesthetic so I cam concentrate on the essentials of what I want to illustrate. It’s also a question of speed, because the less information that’s there, the faster it is to draw and the closest the render is to my initial intentions.”

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Mattis Dovier: Inside

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Mattis Dovier: Inside

Channel 4 Random Acts showcases three-minute films created by established artists and up-and-coming amateurs, chosen for their bold and original expressions of creativity. To watch weekly Random Acts selections or explore the entire archive, head to the Random Acts website.