The Shaman Eagle
Script for animated short feature by Ivan Bogoev, student in Animation at NBU, Sofia
This is a fantastic story mixed with the folklore of the North American Indian tribes that talks about white people and Indians, about fight and defeat and about the meeting of an old Indian woman with the shaman of the tribe who has the magic power to turn into eagle and vise versa. His mission is to preserve his tribe by saving a baby’s life. The shaman saves the collective spirit of the tribe and continues its path in the eternity of nature...
Considering the characteristics of the animated short feature with its inherent limited screen time, I stood before the test to select a theme, which simultaneously can be realized visually impressive and scenarios well founded.
Looking at the world of Indians and their folklore was in favor of their chosen subject that discusses namely the preservation of family and relationship with the spirits of nature.
As a major source of inspiration and information I used myths and legends from the folklore of the North American Indians. I stumbled upon the legend of the five elements of nature - fire, air, water, land and...eagle. According to legend, an adolescent can mature as a man when he went hunting in the forest and meet face to face with the last element - the eagle. I combined part of this tradition with a fantastic element of metamorphosis and changed the plot in another direction - the eagle now becomes a shaman who meets his people and save their future. The film briefly touches a particularly unfortunate moment in the history of Indian people - the settlement of white men who forced seize the lands of indigenous people of North America and led them to the brink of genocide. I wanted to oppose baleful presence of white people in the lives of Indians powered by the healing strenght of the eagle - a symbol and idol. I composed the image of an eagle with the appearance of the character of the shaman.
The shaman is a very important figure in the Indian community. He is the one who communicates with spirits of nature, who sees into the future and the one who receives the gift to fall into trance and to exorcise demons and diseases from the bodies and souls. His enigmatic figure decides to reincarnate by transforming into an eagle and vice versa.
The Eagle and the shaman, their nature and mission are inextricably linked.
The techniques used for the visual language in the film helped me achieve a ripple effect of story telling and incompleteness in the dynamic images. They appear from nowhere on the screen, honor us with their presence for a short time and then they are lost again, being replaced by new ones. So I found a proper technique the 2D drawn animation on paper with soft pastel and charcoal in combination with 2D computer effects and composition.
Coloring I first chose to be in a poorer gamma - gray, black, white, green in order to emphasize what is happening, the action, the drama and the feeling for winter.
At the end of the film I show mountain views and pine trees, wrapped in the colors of the sunset. This picture which is shown in the final seconds of the movie I chose to paint in full color in contrast to the monochrome atmosphere at the beginning of the film. With that I aim to instill hope, which occurs after winter, after the destruction and sorrow with the approach of spring.
Also very Important is the sound design in a film production. That is why I carefully selected Indian folk music. Drums, flutes and the specific rhythm that fascinates along with the simple but strong in messages melody merged beautifully in the primary pattern of images and animation in the film. I used the sound of the wind too, because it associates with folklore again. Indians believe that people are living while the wind blows in their souls. If it stops, they die. So does the melody, so does their flight…