New techniques

This article introduces the animated encaustic painting technique Theodore Ushev developed to animate his latest film, The Physics of Sorrow.

He has made a practice of using a new technique for each of his short films, a challenge which I respect greatly – pushing past the comfort zone and allowing each story its own visual language.

Based on Georgi Gospodinov’s novel The Physics of Sorrow, Ushev translates and presents the story as a time capsule of his own experiences.

Ushev writes, “The first ever time capsules were the Egyptians tombs. And they had these beautiful, realistic portraits on the cover of their sarcophagus, created with encaustic painting. Made of melted beeswax and color pigments, they stayed absolutely intact for 20 centuries. So I thought this would be the perfect technique to employ for my film.”

This meant he not only had to learn the technique, but also a way to animate the frames…using different kinds of wax to layer the paintings, he was able to add animation just to the moving figures on the top layer, a kind of stop motion approach to painting.

It’s just debuted and is making the festival rounds – I’m keeping an eye out and hope to see it soon!

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