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Top Spot of the Week: HouseSpecial's Kirk Kelley Directs "Armor del Amor" Indie Short

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Robert Goldrich
Thursday, Jun. 14, 2018

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From animation studio HouseSpecial and director Kirk Kelley comes Armor del Amor, a scripted nature “documentary” short--a combination of CG and live action--that follows the mating rituals of the nine-banded armadillo to discover the dark underbelly of modern mammalian dating.

The tongue-in-cheek narrative follows the armadillo (a CG character creation) as she emerges from her burrow and into the lonely Texas landscape. HouseSpecial researchers captured footage of this modern animal’s efforts to find a potential mate until finally, after several ill-fated opportunities, a match is made.

“Our short film is an homage to nature shows like Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. In reality, we are all just animals looking to find a connection,” Kelley said. “I wanted to explore how far removed we’ve become from unscripted mating rituals in everyday life. Since Match.com launched in 1995, dating has dramatically evolved...or de-evolved, depending on your POV.” 

The idea to make a short about armadillos ignited as Kelly shared stories of his youth in Texas.  He grew up in the farmlands about 50 miles north of Dallas where road kill is a familiar part of the landscape. Adding the social commentary about modern dating highlighted the fact that even though we are humans in a world filled with technology, we are only a few genes away from being wild. 

“The biggest challenge was finding a location in Oregon that looked enough like Texas to work for the film,” Kelley said. The crew ended up in Dufur, Oregon near the Eastern Columbia River Gorge.

The short was recently screened at the Northwest Animation Festival’s Animators Showcase program at The Hollywood Theatre in Portland. Portland International Airport travelers can also catch the piece through July in the The Hollywood Theatre’s Micro-Cinema on C Concourse.

Credits

Animation Production HouseSpecial Kirk Kelley, director/creative director; Lourri Hammack, executive producer; Karly Richter, producer; Cam Wiliams, editor; Rex Carter, Flame artist. CG Beavan Blolcker, Greg Kyle, animators; Karl Richter, technical director; Josh Tonnesen, Kendra Philips, modeling artists; Nikie Monteleone, texture artist; Matt Reslier, lighting artist; Terence Jacobson, John Lally, rigging artists; Karl Richter, Walter Behrnes, VFX; John Corbett, Nuke compositing; Tyler Bay, intern texture artist; Johnny Nam, intern lighting artist. Live Production Kirk Kelley, director; Eric Edwards, DP; Rex Carter, VFX supervisor; Elliot Freeman, line producer; Noel Adams, 1st assistant camera; Gee Staughton, art director; Clay Conally, Jake Hauswirth, grips. Fabrication Katie Mello, Margaret Meyer, prop fabrication; Rob Melchior, set fabrication. Stage John Nolan, DP; Jake Hauswirth, swing/electric/grip; Rob Melchior, wrangler; Erica Johnson, fabrication/stage dept. manager.  Design Stephen Bodin, title/credits artist; Alan Cook, graphics artist; Olga Sokal, graphics intern. Postprdouction Rychelle Bedalov-Valde, assistant editor; Dino Coons, tape room op; Alvaro Cubillas, COO. (Toolbox: Nuke, Flame, PTGui, Maya with Arnold, Houdini, Mari, Substance Painter, ZBrush, Mudbox) Music Dave Depper (Death Cab for Cutie), writer/performer

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