Work / Animation

Hippolyte Cupillard’s film follows the dreamlike ascent of a mountain climber

Hippolyte Cupillard is currently studying filmmaking and animation at La Poudrière in Valence and Peupleute, was made for a one minute film exercise set to the class. “The idea was to create a move about bad weather. The film tells the story of a climber on the way to the top of a mountain. During his climb, the mountain becomes a place full of strange dreams,” explains Hippolyte. Blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, the animator wanted to explore the demise of a character and their journey through these ethereal visions.

The strangest scene is a “mountain singing in pain” while “strange characters that look like men” rain down from the sky, but Hippolyte’s warm, scratchy style of animation, with a soothing palette of browns, creams and greys makes these odd scenes digestible. The film was put together using hand-drawn animation using paper and dark pencils. While there are errors and mistakes in the final cut, Hippolyte feels this choice in materials allows the viewer to appreciate the surprises.

“To feel comfortable with the universe I was creating, I spent a lot of time on the storyboard. One of the big motivations when I started the film was to collaborate with various people for the sound,” explains the animator. “There is a mark of humanity with the voice of the mountain, the breath of the climber and sounds effects are coming together to create an alternative reality.” Hippolyte worked with composer Franck Gérard on the project and working together helped motivate them both.

While studying Hippolyte has co-founded animation studio Tabassco Studio with Bruno Tondeur, Gwendoline Gamboa, Margot Reumont and Ornella Macchia, and pool their skills together to create exciting animations and short films. “Animation is the perfect mix between three things I enjoy most: cinema, drawing and sound. When you are working on your own film, you make it your priority,” explains Hippolyte. “You take your time to think about reality – you have a chance to take a break from the world and see it how you want to.”


Hippolyte Cupillard: Peupleute (still)


Hippolyte Cupillard: Peupleute (still)


Hippolyte Cupillard: Peupleute (still)


Hippolyte Cupillard: Peupleute (still)