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For most part of 2013 the most irritating people coming out of Canada were Justin Bieber and Avril Lavigne — not bad for a country with more than 33 million souls. But fast forward to October and here comes a new villain in town, Toronto’s Mayor Ford.
Mayor Ford is now globally renewed passion for booze, class A drugs and racial slurs but also for his very right wing approach to public spending. Toronto is the home of one of the best and biggest public system in the world and it’s no surprise that this non-profit service has come under the radar of his ruthless chopping board.
However the people of Toronto wouldn’t have any of this nonsense and decided to join forces and create a network called OurPublicLibrary.to in order to defend this valuable asset for the community. Machas Artist James Braithwaite and friend and animator Josh Ruskin joined their plight and created a very smart and witty viral video, we called James up to shed some light on their new work.
M: How did you get involved in this project? it is not an issue that affects your city as you live in Montreal, correct?
JB: I have worked with a great man named Bill Reno for a few years on a series of union related projects. He brought up the idea of making a video for the Toronto Library Workers Union, and I wanted to get my old friend, and collaborator Josh involved in the project. I do, however, live in Montreal, so I went down to Toronto for three months to work on this project. Sorry, Emily [James’ wife].
M: Who came up with the creative concept and how was it developed?
JB: The creative concept was devised by Josh and I. Our original idea was to steer clear of making a simple digital animation. Right from the beginning, we wanted to stay away from the clean and make the project feel tactile and handmade. So we decided to do something slightly crazy: I drew all the pieces, Josh animated them in After Effects, and the we printed all the frames out and bound them into a series of 6 books. From there, we re-shot the book in stop-motion to bring it back to life.
M: That was quite of a challenge!
JB: It was a bit of a nightmare but we had a book-binding wizard, named Ali Qadeer, to guide us through the darker bits. One of the main concerns was that the registration had to be spot on, or as close to spot on as possible, or the animation would be a wobbling disaster. Printing is an inexact science, so getting things to register for the books was a long process and we ended up cutting all the pages out by hand to make sure it was as close as could be.
M: Was there anything that you wish you’d done differently? Maybe a crack pipe in Ford’s hand?
JB: The Rob Ford thing happened right in the middle of production. It was a blessing and a curse at the same time. Rob Ford is the most hilariously awful politician since Berlusconi and we all love him dearly. I pray to the GODS ABOVE, that we never see film of a Rob Ford bunga bunga party.
M: This is not the first time you work with Josh, actually we can say you’re a great team! I mean you guys have won an Emmy and got nominated to an Academy Awards… How was working together this time?
JB: I have worked with Josh many times over the last few years, but this is the longest, most intense animation romance we’ve had since The Walrus. For a whole week, Josh was draped over my shoulders, moving my hands millimetres for each shot. It both was extremely romantic, and the closest I’ve ever come to killing someone.