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Interview: Blair Fukumura discusses his latest project Wound Up

WOUND-UP-INTERVIEW-BLAIR-FUKUMARA

Blair Fukumura is a self taught 3D animator who is currently using Kickstarter to raise the $10,000 necessary to complete his latest project, Wound Up. Fukumura is a self-proclaimed starving artist who is currently living at a friends house were he has set up what he calls his no-frills animation studio. In addition to being incredibly talented he is also truly dedicated to his art –which he likens to building marionettes. I spoke to Fukumura about how he got into animation and what inspires him.

“I was a Pastry chef for 9 years.”

“To get out of the kitchen –I decided just for fun- to write a TV show about decorating cakes. This was about 10 years ago. I pitched it to a production company. They bought it and pitched it to Food Network. Food Network produced a pilot episode which is on YouTube, but it didn’t go anywhere after that.”

“In a way it got me out of the kitchen and got me in the direction of doing my own thing.”

It’s easy to see that Fukumura is a naturally creative person given his career choices. He says that he also studied stage design and costuming in school. Still, the average person doesn’t just decide to take up something as ambitious as 3D animation, the equipment and time required are intimidating to say the least. However, with his natural talent and drive Fukumura made it work.

“I initially started out with just a laptop. So my first two short films are basically glorified Power Point presentations. Just sort of short films exploring different ideas. But my first film made it into two Oscar qualifying film festivals so I thought OK I must be on the right foot. And my second one has played in film festivals across Canada so it just sort of got me feeling a bit more confident to try something else and I wanted something that looked a bit more interesting than just a slide show.”

Fukumura was recently recognized by The National Film Board when they signed him on to their Filmmakers Assistance Program.

“The National Film Board has donated money towards my short. I found out Oct 9th but they confirmed that they signed me on as part of their Filmmaker Assistance Program so they’ve given me a couple thousand dollars towards professional services. So that really means a lot because they’ll also be distributing my short once I finish.”

“Being from Winnipeg I grew up watching a lot of National Film Board stuff and I loved their animations so I would say that the animation from the National Film Board from the 80s is really what got me interested in animation.”

“I remember the Big Snit, that was one of my favourite ones when I was younger. That and The Cat Came Back and those are both from Winnipeg artists.”

Fukumura’s current project Wound Up follows a Canadian wind-up Mountie souvenir who must compete against other souvenir toys from around the world in an Olympic style race. The film explores the idea of what it means to be Canadian while asking the question, “At what cost is a race worth winning?” I asked Fukumura to elaborate upon his inspiration for the film.

“Well you know I’ve always had trouble with that idea of, what does it means to be Canadian. I’ve watched a lot of things recently at film festivals and that sort of thing that always poses that question. So this short film is sort of my attempt to try and answer that.”

Fukumura’s Kickstarter campaign ends on November 5. He has some great goodies to give away as donation incentives so check it out. Donations from $1 and up are currently being accepted. Money raised will go to essential software upgrades and equipment and service fees as well as various distribution costs for film festivals.

Click the link below to support Blair Fukumura and support his Kickstarter campaign.