Meet Jim Batt, who is creating the wonderful stop-motion short film of Neil Gaiman's poem: IN RELIG ORAN.
The film title is THE GRAVE OF SAINT ORAN. Please consider backing!
His Kickstarter is here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jimbatt/the-grave-of-saint-oran-a-neil-gaiman-animation/comments
Only a few days left to get in on this campaign, and we have sent Jim a few signed Neil prints, illustrated by maestro Michael Zulli.
I did a little interview with Jim, read on!
1. What inspired you to work with Neil? How did you meet?
I've been a long time admirer of Neil's work, since I first read Sandman really - which I first encountered at my university library. I would while away the hours between lectures, losing myself in the overlapping stories and strange yet familiar characters. Those books will always bring back memories of musty bookshelves, leather chairs and low voices of people arguing cartesian philosophy or swearing they really do understand postmodernism.
Years later, I was lucky enough to get to know Neil through both Kim Boekbinder and Amanda Palmer. I think we first met backstage at a gig, but would cross paths in various parts of the world fairly often, as our friendship circles overlapped in a big international art family.
Neil's writing, the deft way he weaves together our world with magic and myth, has been a big influence on me, so getting the chance to work with one of his stories is an amazing opportunity.
2. Why did you chose to illustrate IN RELIG ORAN?
I had finished of a long year of work, and was looking about for my next personal project. I'd had the poem stuck in my head for a while, something about the oddness of the story and the rhythm of it had caught hold. It's such a strange story - equal parts myth and history, philosophy and horror, I think of it as a kind of existential ghost story. But at the heart of it all, is the big question humanity has always faced - how much do we really understand about our place in the world? A question that is approached with both curiosity and fear, but never leaves us. It was that line "He will touch you, he will taste you, he will leave his words inside you - god is not what you imagine, nor is hell, and nor is heaven" that really made me want to explore the story further.
3. Do you think your work with Amanda on the brilliant WANT IT BACK will inform this film?
The WANT IT BACK video was very much a response to the chaotic energy of that song, and the creative process that Amanda and I have developed, incorporating both spontaneity and planning. The sheer madness of doing stopmotion video with live humans definitely made that video a unique beast all of it's own. Every stopmotion film I've worked on has brought it's own special brand of insanity with it, so I'm guessing The Grave of St Oran will do the same…
4. You reside in Melbourne, Australia. Is this where will you be filming THE GRAVE OF SAINT ORAN?
I've been splitting my time between Melbourne and New York for a while now, and I intend to shoot this project here in my Brooklyn studio this time around!
5. Do you have any other upcoming project are you especially excited about?
Over the last year or so, Jherek Bischoff and I have been working on series of videos to accompany his next album and its looking amazing. And I've been doing a lot of work with Kim Boekbinder and Molly Crabapple, creating illustrated political animations that touch on some really important topics. So keep an eye out for those!
6. If you could meet any of Neil's fictional characters, who would you like to have a conversation with?
Coraline is easily one of my favourite characters, but I suspect Hob Gadling would make for a very interesting evening of conversation over a few drinks. He likes to talk, and has seen a lot in his many years on this planet.
7. Who might play you in the movie version of your life?
Wait - I thought this WAS the movie version of my life?
8. How do you plan to promote this film? What is your best hope for where the film winds up?
Once the film is finished, we're hoping to get it into a few festivals. Obviously all of our backers will get their own private online screening, but we'd love to send it out into the world for some big screen love - it would be a dream to get into some of the top animation festivals like Annecy or Stuttgart!
9. Do you have someone in mind for the soundtrack for the film?
Yes! We're incredibly lucky to have musical maestro Jherek Bischoff onboard to score the film. Can't wait to see what he dreams up, his music is always so evocative.
10. The best digital link to find me is: @battsignal on twitter if you want to say hello, or www.jimbatt.com if you want to see some of my other work.
the best analog place to find me is: At my local East Village cafe, drinking coffee and working from my laptop.