#SHORTVIEW: “(Otto)” by Job, Joris and Marieke


A woman who can’t have children steals the imaginary friend of a little girl and keeps this a secret from her husband. While the woman enjoys life with her imaginary child, the gap between her and her husband grows bigger.


> How did you come up with the idea of “stealing” an imaginary friend?

The inspiration for the story came from the daughter of Joris and Marieke. Their daughter, Aagje, had an imaginary friend which was a duckling – and once, when they were going to a family celebration, Aagje decided to “take” the duckling with her.

Once there, and once Aagje “presented” her friend to everybody, all the people started playing with this imaginary duckling, even grown-ups, which was very funny. Everybody played along. We were very impressed by this fact, that something as strange as an imaginary friend can be “shared” – and that’s how the idea came about.

> Your team consists of only three people – how did you manage to organize the work and realize the idea?

We worked on this film for six months, including the initial creation of the concept. On smaller projects, we always work with just the three of us, but for (Otto) we had two additional people working with us, a modeler and an animator.

In our experience, a small team is much more comfortable, because no time is lost on the communications itself, which can be a huge problem in bugger teams. Being small has also allowed us to be on top of everything on our projects, and to make sure that our designs and style of animation are just what we want them to be.

> Your short film doesn’t use any language at all. Was it difficult for you to convey meaning without words?

Most of our short films don’t use language – and we usually come up with pretty weird concepts for our films anyway, so it’s a challenge to get the message across every time without using words. But we’re kind of used to it. We like the challenge.

(Otto), however, was a more serious film than most, so it was even more difficult. The animation and acting of the characters, hence, had to be perfect, because that’s the only way that we could communicate with the public. The music is another essential piece to getting the right emotions and message across, we think.

> So – what was this message, in your opinion?

With this film, we wanted to tell a story about the immense power of imagination, and how imagination can sometimes be a powerful way to deal with very difficult issues.

At the time of the interview, the team from “Otto” was working on “a lot of different projects”, from a children’s book to a TV series, and hoping to build a “permanent team” in the coming future.