The 'live action' animation that won't stop winning

Words: Alex Williamson (opens in new tab)

Luminaris (opens in new tab) is an animation phenomenon. An Argentinian stop-motion short made using the pixilation (opens in new tab) technique - combining real actors interacting with animated objects and time-lapse sequences - it was first shown at film festivals in 2011 and took home some big-name awards.

So far so impressive... but the story doesn't end there. It's gone from festival to festival and scooped up awards after award after award - 152 and counting. Just yesterday it won the Best International Short Film gong at the Baja International Film Festival (opens in new tab) in Los Angeles.

Culture range

So what's all the fuss about? Well, this amusing and realistic animation combines real actors with a variety of artistic styles including art deco, surrealism, and neo realism in order to show the wide range of cultures on offer in the town of Buenos Aires, where it is set. It's a tall order, but it pulls it off spectacularly well.

The animation combines live action footage with a variety of artistic styles

The animation combines live action footage with a variety of artistic styles

The idea behind this animation, which runs to just over six minutes, is simple. The people of Buenos Aires wake and rise by the sun's light as if by a magnetic force that pulls them to and from work.

It was inspired by an instrumental tango piece, Lluvia de Estrellas, which director Juan Zaramella remembers as the backdrop to his childhood. "I had always liked this piece as a child but, as an adult, it gradually dawned on me that this music could be the score to a film that had never been made," he says.

Barely a day goes by without the short picking up another award

Barely a day goes by without the short picking up another award

The animation was actually conceived in southern France where Zaramella watching the sun flow into his garden every day. However the project posed a few unforeseen challenges: one being the ever-changing light conditions, which meant the exposure had to be constantly adjusted causing the film to take a total of two years to produce.

Only the trailer is online at the moment, so keep your eye out for the full version at short film festivals - and we'll let you know the moment it's available to view digitally.

  • Alex Williamson (opens in new tab) is an art and design student in London, who blogs about design, art and illustration. Follow him on Twitter (opens in new tab).

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