Getting ready for Christmas

FESTIVAL. Jacob Ley wants to restore some of the good old Christmas magic in his animation fairy tale "Get Santa" which is now opening at festivals – including the Busan Film Festival running 6-15 October.

South Korea's biggest film event is presenting a strong line-up of 301 films, and screening in the children's programme is animation director Jacob Ley's feature film debut "Get Santa," which world premiered a week back at the Film Festival Schlingel in Chemnitz.

"Get Santa" is a story about Julius who lives in an orphanage. A bit of an outsider he still, secretly, believes in Santa Claus. When he is confronted with the fact that Santa Claus may just be the headmaster dressing up, Julius loses not only his belief in Santa, but also his faith in himself. But then something strange happens, and Julius suddenly finds himself in a magical world of frost and talking animals.

"My intention was to pass on my own interpretation of the magic of Christmas," says Jacob Ley, who graduated as an animation director from the National Film School of Denmark in 2006. "I wanted to make a Christmas film that will enable us to rediscover the joys of the old traditions, a film that illustrates that there is value in maintaining your childhood beliefs."

With his short film "The Secret of the Ice Flower" from 2012, Ley combined clay animation and stop motion with cutout and other techniques. Hoping to achieve the same unique look in "Get Santa," Ley and his team finetuned the mixed technique, this time also going for a distinct Nordic look – with "a hint of Henry Selick's 'The Nightmare before Christmas,'" as Ley puts it.

"Get Santa" is produced by Copenhagen Bombay, a production outfit led by producer Sarita Christensen boasting a strong brand in Scandinavian children's animation, having signed numerous shorts, series and such feature films as Esben Toft Jacobsen's "The Great Bear" (2011) and "Beyond Beyond" (2014).

The film has received funding from the Danish Film Institute and is out in local theatres from 10 November.

Also in Busan are the two feature films "Heartstone" by Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson and "Wolf and Sheep" by Shahrbanoo Sadat.

Busan International Film Festival 6-15 October 2016

Watch trailer (in Danish)