CINEFONDATION 2012. Morten Helgeland and eight of his fellow students have made a hilarious animated short about "killer slugs" pitched in battle with an elderly lady. The director got the inspiration for "Slug Invasion" right in his grandmother's own backyard. The film is one of the 15 films in Cannes' Cinéfondation selected out of more than 1,700 submissions from 320 film schools.
"Rise and shine, maggots!" goes the call to arms for an army of slugs. The battleground: an old lady's garden. Their mission: to take a tasty flower that will keep them satisfied for months. But as in any war movie, danger lurks behind enemy lines. Only in this case the enemy is an old lady armed with pruning shears and a bucket.
This will give you a taste of "Slug Invasion", a six-minute animated film by students at the Animation Workshop in Viborg. The story is based more or less on actual events, director Morten Helgeland says.
"Every summer my grandmother is in her garden, fighting slugs with pruning shears and a bucket of salt. I just thought it was so funny to see her standing there day after day, year after year, and I thought it would be fun to do a film showing the slugs' side of the story," Helgeland says.
"Slug Invasion" has everything a classic war movie should. The manic commanding officer ready to give his life for his country and his mission. The scared newbie who eventually grows into a real soldier and the kind-hearted, fatherly soldier who helps him along. Add zingers like "Did someone just die without my permission?" and it's not hard to see how Helgeland and the rest of his team gleefully raided movies like "Saving Private Ryan", "Apocalypse Now" and "Band of Brothers" for inspiration.
From Norway to Denmark
Helgeland, a Norwegian, applied to the Animation Workshop in Viborg when he didn't get into the animation school in Norway. He started out taking one of the shorter courses.
"It opened my eyes to what a great environment it is. Just to be around and get to talk with so many other creative people, both animators and computer-graphic artists. Plus, you get to experience so many noted instructors from around the world," Helgeland says.
Helgeland soon applied and was admitted to Viborg's bachelor programme in character animation. Most of the Animation Workshop's classes are in English, which is a huge advantage, Helgeland says, now that he has graduated and it's time to go out and conquer the world.
"It definitely opens some doors when you have already worked with people from all over the world, in school. It opens opportunities for collaborating not just with Danish but also with international companies," Helgeland says.
For now, Helgeland is staying in Denmark. He is currently working as an animator on the fifth version of the popular computer game "Hitman" for IO Interactive.
This is the first time that the Animation Workshop in Viborg has had a film selected for Cannes.