Interview with Anne Klotzek, director of short film Was bleibt/ What’s Left

What does the animation mean for you?

Animation means for me, that there is a possibility to breathe life into artwork. As a child I always prefered historical paintings, because they seemed to tell me stories and when I first saw Alexander Petrows „The Old Man and the Sea” I realized that there is a way to let those masterpieces speak to us.

How did you start in animation film industry?

It all began with my own movies during my film&animation studies. I sent them to festivals and I got my first job at a preproduction company for animated movies. There, I drew character designs, painted backgrounds, textures and what else was needed.

From whom did you learn animation?

The basics of film itself were brought to me by my film professor Jürgen Schopper at the Georg Simon Ohm University Nuremberg. But I learned the craft itseld with all its challenges from my fellow students. Of cours I read books like „The Animator’s Survival Kit” and watched many many many animation movies to see how it is done by the real gods of animation.

How would you describe What’s Left?

What’s left is a short movie, a short story, thoughts which I had, when I have been living in Nuremberg for six years, watching the behavior of its inhabitants.

It is my way of paying homage to those people, who are living their life without complaining about being lonely or about having other sorrowful fates. Those people somehow manage to keep seeing the small things and are happy to experience them. I have the highest respect for this kind of strength.

What is the message of the film?

There a various messages, which definitely depend on the person who watches the film. I am happy, if someone wants to call his grandmother after watching my movie. Two friends told me, that they helped an old woman with her heavy bags, the day after it was first screened. A fellow student came to me, telling me, that he is still living with four generations in one house and that this way of living will vanish and how sad this was.

A friend of mine began to think about his daughter and her life, why she is not happy, although she has everything she wants.

I wanted the film to make a person think about what is important to him in life. What he wants to be left with, when he is old, and perhaps alone. We need to see the small things and how big they are when we realize how much they are worth.

How do you manage to make films in this period of crisis?

I was lucky to study at a university where we had to make one film per semester without any money. You learn how to fulfill your duty and passion with all difficulties coming along. During my bachelor degree, I had to work and earn money to pay my rent, but although it took some time, I managed to finish the movie. I guess, it is all a matter of patience, endurance and devotion. If you really want it, you can do it.

What kind of animated films do you like?

I prefer the hand drawn movies, especially if we are still able to see the pencil line, for example in „the triplets de belleville”. But I do like 3D if the style looks handmade.

I adore Japanese movies with those detailled background paintings and i love the vividness of Disney’s or Ghibli’s character animations.

What future projects do you have?

I will be focusing on drawing and painting. I want to specialize in matte paintings and concept art. Therefore, my future projects contain canvases, brushes and the places and people around me.

What would you like to do in life that you couldn’t do it because of lack of time, resources, etc.?

There is a book next to my bed, full of stories and ideas. It would make me very happy to be able to animate them in different styles. For example I would love to do a rotoscoped movie about basketball. Of course, I would like to become a professional basketball player myself. I am also dreaming of being a musician, jazz-pianist, and singer-songwriter. But somehow, we have to decide and right now, for me, it is art.