The world is in flames. Germany has been reduced to rubble. Japan is no longer doing well either. But there is one person who refuses to give up.
Character & Story
‘ADOLF – I am sitting in my bonker’ is based on the famous character - created by Walter Moers. Walter contacted me in autumn of 2004 to ask if I would be interested in making a 3D-teaser for an animated feature. Of course I was happy to have been given the opportunity and in the following months I made a short music clip based on Walter’s storyboard and Thomas Pigor’s song. In the clip an irritable and frustrated ADOLF is sitting in his bunker - which is basically a bathroom - and complains about his miserable situation.
As mentioned above, the clip was planned as a teaser for a feature film. Walter’s previous animated features were done as 2D drawn animation, so we set out to prove that his universe works also in 3D. The first person who attempted to translate Walter’s open and loose graphic style into 3D was Bernhard Haux, studying at the Film Academy in Ludwigsburg at the time. His short film ‘Echte Vögel kotzen nicht’, also based on a story by Walter Moers, was a success at various film festivals. Bernhard’s first attempts made the possibilities as well as the challenges of a 3D-‘ADOLF’ apparent.
Production began in January of 2005 and completed in April, so proper preparation was key. Fortunately the people that Walter brought in were all highly motivated and excited to get to work.
I started with the modelling and shading of the backgrounds while Carsten Sommer made the maquettes* of Adolf and his dog Blondi. Carsten did the modelling for most of the merchandising figures of Walter’s characters, so he was the man charged with transitioning ‘ADOLF’ from sketches to a maquette. In order to build the mesh in 3D, we needed the maquette as a prototype. Together with Jan Berger and Carla Heinzel, I worked on finishing the modelling, rigging, shading, and animating as well as the rendering and compositing during the following months.
We made three versions of the clip, one in German, one in French and the third in English. There were even thoughts about making an Italian version.
*figurine of a character, made out of clay or other sculpting materials.
I tried to match Walter’s storyboard as closely as possible. I really wanted to keep the comic book-like framing.
The clip was finished on deadline. In the following months my team and I continued our freelance activities. Soon it became clear that a green light for feature production would not be coming in the near future. In the summer of 2006 Walter released the third volume of his ‘ADOLF’ comic, ‘ADOLF – der Bonker’, which included a DVD with the clip. Only a few days later the clip was uploaded to Youtube, Google video and other video hosting sites. It was downloaded more than 8 million times and was discussed throughout the media and arts sections in news papers. Some people criticized the clip because they considered it unacceptable to make a comedic film with such subject matter. Most opinions, however, were positive; some even mentioned that there is value in creating a caricature of evil.
Idea, Characters & Storyboard
3D Modelling & Character Rigging
Shading & Lighting
Baby Adolf Painting
Walter Moers, Thomas Pigor
Felix Gönnert, Carla Heinzel
Jan Berger, Felix Gönnert
Thomas Pigor, Ulf Henrich
Calyx Bo Kondren
Zweite Medienfonds German Filmproductions GFP
GmbH & Co. Beteiligungs KG
Walter Moers, Elvira Moers
Length 2’51” min
Format 4:3 | PAL | color | 25 fps | stereo sound | animated music clip