Creative Arts Emmys Showcase “Storytelling That Is Quite Unique”

Creative Arts Emmys Showcase “Storytelling That Is Quite Unique”

Creative talent behind programs such as NBC’s musical Annie Live!, Netflix’s video game-inspired animated series Arcane, and Tim Miller and David Fincher’s Love, Death Robots anthology series are among this year’s juried Emmy winners. These honors were handed out during the Creative Arts Emmys on Sept. 3 and 4. An edited version of the presentations will air Sept. 10 on FXX, followed by a Hulu release.

Recipients of Emmys in the juried categories include writer-director Alberto Mielgo, who is honored for the character design of his animated “Jibaro” episode of Love, Death Robots, which follows a siren who attempts to lure a knight with her dancing.

“This is some sort of toxic relationship between two predators, the golden woman and hero. It’s very open to interpretation, which is something that I like,” says the multi-Emmy winner, who earlier this year won an Oscar for his animated short The Windshield Wiper.

How would you describe your approach to the visual style of the episode?

I base my art mostly in impressionism. Even though it looks very rich, I tend to remove things that are not necessary and I put emphasis on things that are very important, like the eyes.

Tell us about your animation process.

We used key frame [hand] animation. I’m a purist and I really like animation and the art and the technique of animation itself. This is something that Disney has been doing since the ’40s and ’50s. For reference, they record actors, dancers — animators record themselves sometimes. As a director, I like to have strict control of the movements. It’s very important to do a first pass where I direct the actors and I explain to them what is happening in the scene. And basically, we just shoot the movie, and then we use this as a reference for animation. In the case of “Jibaro,” we were using choreography. I thought that dancing was the best way to communicate the feelings and the story, especially because this is a film that doesn’t actually have dialogue. I thought that dancing was a beautiful language to depict the feelings of these characters.

Can you describe the character design?

I wanted [the woman] to be a walking treasure, something that is so attractive and so full of jewelry and gems and colors that you almost forget that there is a human behind [the surface]. It was based also on folkloric ornaments. I was extremely happy to be able to depict so many [pieces of] jewelry and so many civilizations in just one single character. As for the other characters, we were getting a lot of [design] information from the armors of the Renaissance. I was extremely proud that we were able to bring these treasures to the screen.

Alberto Mielgo

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

What are your thoughts on the opportunities for shortform animation, and what are you working on next?

The concept of Love, Death Robots is very sweet because they’re short films, and nowadays people seem to have less time. Based on the success of this show, I see a possibility of people needing more short format.

It’s a completely different format; the storytelling technique is quite different. You need to make a nice impact … and everything needs to happen in less than 15, 17, 20 minutes. It’s challenging, and it’s beautiful that the platforms are taking care of short films.

Even though I told you that I like [short films], my dream is to make a feature film in animation. Something that is impactful, something that is not family-friendly, something that is not necessarily about a hero. I would like to do something that has never been done in animation before. I’m working on several scripts because I want to do more than one feature film.

Interview edited for length and clarity.

This story first appeared in the Sept. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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