New York creative audio studios Antfood and Mr. Bronx teamed up with Miyu Productions, Temple Carrington & Brown, and Psyop to bring Director Tom Brown’s queer operatic thriller, Christopher at Sea, to life. The film premiered at the 79th Venice Film Festival on September 9th, 2022.   

The 20-minute animated film sees the protagonist, Christopher (Jocelyn Si), embark on a transatlantic voyage as a passenger on a cargo ship. A chance encounter with Third Engineer, Valentin (Andrew Isar) under moonlight waylays his hopes of finding out what lures so many men to sea and sets him on a journey into solitude, fantasy, and obsession.

Tom Brown is a British Artist and filmmaker, primarily known for his short films “t.o.m.” (2007), “teeth” (2015), & “Cousin John - The Arrival” (2020) which collectively won over 50 awards at festivals around the world including Sundance, SXSW, Annecy, and AFI Fest.

Brown states, “I set out to write a love story, but Christopher’s romance soon became entwined with my own story of struggle with identity, discovering my truth, a dramatic retelling of the communal showers in a hostel at Sundance, and a rewriting of Mother’s prophecy. Christopher at Sea is set to the emotive music of Schubert’s 1823 song cycle ‘Die schöne Müllerin’ alongside contemporary music from Casey Spooner, Walt Disco, and the film’s composers Brian Mcomber and Judith Berkson. Christopher’s journey, mirrored by the narrative of Schubert's journeying Miller, bursts with emotion and fantasy as the melodrama of opera meets the reality of life on board a merchant vessel.”

Tasked with crafting the sound design, Antfood was able to build on the operatic and contemporary soundtrack to build additional layers of meaning. This was particularly important in the finale sequence, which has no dialogue, meaning sound design can come to the fore.

Charlie Blasberg, Antfood Producer, offers insight into the process: “The deft symbolism within the film gave us opportunities to establish sonic motifs and return to them at special moments throughout the story. This culminates in the finale sequence where we were able to reference important sonic themes and drench them with out-of-the-box techniques, creating an epic crescendo to close the film. Led by expert sound designers, Bennett Eiferman, Rory White, and Zac Greenberg, the Antfood team spanned three timezones yet managed a totally collaborative workflow over our months of work on the sound design for Christopher at Sea. Some highlights of our process were recording live ocean and ship sounds at a marina in San Diego, capturing drips and wet footsteps in a crowded Antfood bathroom, and recording a live woodwind section for an airy and eerie tone that comes through at the end of the film.”

The world premiere of Christopher at Sea took place at the Venice International Film Festival in September on 9th September 2022. It is the only animated film playing in the prestigious Orizzonti competition selection. 

Christopher at Sea Credits

Director: Tom C J Brown
Production: Miyu Productions, Temple Carrington & Brown, Psyop
Sound Design: Antfood 
Executive Creative Director: Wilson Brown
Executive Producer: Sue Lee
Sound Designer: Bennett Eiferman & Zac Greenberg
Sound Designer & Composer: Rory White
Producers: Charlie Blasberg & Jennifer Fife
Assistant Sound Designers: Alex Taub, Sebastian Sack, Wills Guggenheim, Linton Smith II
Audio Post: Mr. Bronx
Dialogue and Re-Recording Mix: David Wolfe (Mr. Bronx)