Back in 2017, Igor Bastidas was contemplating moving to New York. At the time, the Venezuelan animator’s friends had been shouting about its brilliance and so, “New York looked like the perfect fit for us, in terms of a creative and cultural approach,” he explains, noting how it was an equal fit for his wife, a creative director. Making the leap from Caracas to New York a few months later, Igor’s been settled in the Big Apple ever since. And, it’s the Big Apple which is exactly what his latest film is about.
Taking a square format, Igor’s newest animation – one he’s been chipping away at since first moving to the city three years ago – is centred around the nickname for a city so good they named it twice. Placed in the middle of the frame is an illustrated apple which shifts and transitions (literally perfectly in terms of animated skill), to reveal small New York-based stories at its core. Just over in three minutes in length, each tale relates back to a feeling, a memory or circumstance Igor felt during his first week in New York and in turn, “is a film very deep in the intuitive experience,” he tells It’s Nice That. “Every apple is an individual piece but at the same time, all of them are literally connected.”
This unique way of storytelling developed from Igor attempting to recall each nugget of the film from his own subconscious, “ideas from my intuitive brain” which would lead one idea to another in a technique of seeing “where that process could take me,” the animator explains. As a result, it’s a short that many will be able to find relatable moments within, whether they live in New York, are a newcomer like Igor, or just a tourist who has visited once or twice. “You will find a lot of different personal experiences here,” he elaborates, “like the uncertainty of a new life in a new country represented by a clairvoyant squeezing a crystal ball until it bursts, or the stifling traffic of Manhattan I got stuck in for hours thinking it couldn’t be slower than the F train.”
Across three minutes, Igor’s tales of New York shift to news stories centred in the city too, each inspired by his own train of thought picking up possible links. For instance, in one short sequence, a woman’s finger enters the frame to push a button, a symbol of “the game-changing ideas of the #metoo movement in 2017,” points out the animator. Other details are more personal, viewers will notice a tie being cut in half towards the beginning, a representation of Igor’s “resistance to the establishment, among other things,” he says. Other details are simply fragments of the animator’s imagination too, a New York moment that might still happen, “like the traffic light or the brown 16-ball, all of those are things that suggest a new thing, which doesn’t yet exist.”
A snippet into the animator’s life for the past three years (the last time we caught up with Igor his characterful animations were donning the cover of our magazine, ), his life in New York is a little more settled than when this particular piece began. “When I first moved to New York I was wowed by the possibilities for a dreamy life,” he recalls. “Then, I realised that making a living here is not easy, but neither was living in Caracas.” Deducing now that a level of certain tension, a need to work hard in order to keep up alongside the city, is actually a driving factor in his work: “I’ve never been in a regular, peaceful state of mind and maybe this kind of environment helps me to come up with out-of-the-box ideas; the different ones,” Igor points out reflectively. “Or, at least try to do so.”
The Big Apple Igor shows exactly this level of thought. An irregular project in between others for the past three years, the actual making of the short only wrapped a few weeks ago, coming together finally when Igor found a collaborative partner in sound designer David Kamp – “his fantastic work took the film to a whole new level and it got me back into the flow,” adds Igor.
Now released for any New York friend or foe to indulge in, the animator hopes viewers can bear witness to “my first experience in this fantastic place where everything changes as quickly as the shape of apples,” he concludes. “In general, the film is a lot of fast-paced transitions just like the way this city feels, an amazing community in transit which is changing your life every day.”
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.