‘Black Water’ is a 04:00 minute stop-motion animation film project produced with two main purposes in mind: to serve as a music video for Gerald Clark’s Black Water from his new album, also titled Black Water; to serve as a short-film, complying all the specifications needed to be entered into International short film and music video festivals.
The video as a whole took ten months to complete and includes creation of concept, story-boarding, character development, set design, animating, filming and editing. There were only two people involved in entire process; they are Marius Joubert and Daneille Jacobs from Yesterfang Puppetry & Animation. The project consists of 10 771 photographs taken in sequence to create the illusion of movement. In each photo the characters were manually manipulated no more than 5mm at a time. The video was filmed on a constructed set in the centre of a dam in Trompsburg in the Free State Province, South Africa.
The characters were constructed by sculpting realistic figures out of clay and were thereafter moulded in silicone. Each character is intact with a wire armature which serves as an operational skeleton. Additional materials used in finalizing the puppets include dog and horse hair, an old leather wallet, food colouring, fabric and olive oil.
The film can be categorized into the action/combat genre, depicting a progressive fight between two characters in which the undercurrent theme is the chase of desire and vengeance. The concept was created to support the poetic tension of Gerald Clark’s accompanying lyrics. The given genre provided the perfect opportunity to include a significant South African fighting technique onto the action film platform. We decided to promote stick-fighting as a rare form of martial arts in the video. It is an ancient fighting style developed centuries ago in the Eastern Cape, but is rapidly disappearing. Stick-fighting encourages an alternative and less harmful way of settling a brawl over more harmful weapons such as knives and guns. A fighter can successfully protect himself without inflicting extensive damage upon an opponent. The Stick-Fighting Company is a Cape Town based NGO supporting the growth of this sport by hosting stick-fighting events around townships during weekends.