"Deep into a forest, a gathering of wild animals start a nocturnal opera."

Maestro is a short film directed by Illogic that features an animal orchestra interpreting a nocturnal opera. The Illogic collective was formed by a group of Supinfocom Arles (MOPA) graduates, best known for their Garden Party short film. Maestro is a unique film due to the way it was produced: most artists who graduate from schools such as Supinfocom collaborate on great shorts during their studies, but then disband and end up working in different parts of the world. Seldom do they have the opportunity to stay together in large numbers and dedicate the time, funding and energy to produce more films.

Maestro is in this regard an exception, an example of artists who have sought to stay together to keep collaborating on the production of creative films after leaving school, and have gained the knowledge on how to make films that can captivate and communicate with a wide audience.

The film’s cast of CG animals, emphasis on humor, surprise, timing, contrasts and photorealistic CG can be traced back to the artists’ previous shorts: Gabriel Grapperon’s Locked Up, Victor Caire’s Pinnipèdes, Théophile Dufresne’s Démineur, Vincent Bayoux’s Marée Noire, Florian Babikian’s Ichtus and Lucas Navarro’s Bord de Mer. Their video titled Turn it Up! also shows some of these elements.

This is what happens when you’re not there and animals can do what they want.

Maestro belongs to the series of animated interpretations of classical music, which Disney is well known for. While it retains the crowd-based characteristic of Garden Party, rather than using animals as narrative devices for exploring a crime scene, here they have been transformed into music interpreters, with an accent on performance and expressiveness (with shot sizes adapting accordingly).

The focus on visual rhythm is also worth highlighting. Maestro features much faster camera moves, using all the tricks in the bag to produce visual rhythm that is synced to the pace of music: dollies, pans, cranes, zooms, motion within the frame, focus shifts, editing, etc.

Classical music is usually listened to from a fixed point of view. It took some good work to adapt animals, camera moves and the film’s rhythm to that of the song.

As is the case with Garden Party, the aesthetic work is astounding. Composition, framing, colors, lighting, etc., are a feast for the eyes.

What makes the film work so well? Surprise, humor, impressive aesthetics, great character design and staging, and unexpected changes of register between documentary and musical genres that is playfully implemented through changes in animals’ performances.

The authors of Maestro have founded Bloom Pictures studio in Montpellier, France. You can find out more about their work in the links below.

Making of video

Illogic's website


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