The Two Princes gets the Special Jury Prize at the Havana Film Festival

These are questions that are well worth asking in a context in which many of us are victims -even at the end-, where we are all the same.

The poem of the same name 'Los dos Príncipes', by José Martí, is an emblematic piece that carries an intrinsic load of values, emotions, feelings, sense of loss … It is based on the poem The Prince is Dead (The Prince is Dead) by the North American poet Helen Hunt Jackson, who experienced the unfortunate loss of her husband and two children, falling into deep melancholy.

A team of young filmmakers from the Animation Studios of ICAIC wanted to continue the path of production that includes several titles inspired by the work of Martí, that is why they chose The Two Princes. Its directors Yemelí Cruz and Adanoe Lima presented some of their experiences in the conception of this 15-minute short film. It was premiered in December as part of the 39th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.

How did the idea of ​​making an animated short film based on this poem by José Martí and not another come about?

"We had the privilege of choosing The Two Princes, for being the text that we like most about the Golden Age by Marti. What most attracts us about this poem is how Martí exposes us in such a beautiful way, a subject as sad and heartbreaking as the loss of a child, also inviting us to reflect, because when we compare the loss of a king's son with the loss of a shepherd's son, the obvious differences impact as much as the painful similarities. "

"We were always clear that we would use the Stop Motion technique for the animation of the short film. First we thought about doing Cut-out, but for production reasons we had to do artistic-conceptual research that pointed us towards a more theatrical aesthetic that demanded the use of puppets. We let ourselves be intuitively led to the animation of puppets, which in addition to allowing us more speed in the processes, created an aesthetic much more coherent with the story we are telling ".

"In addition to the Stop Motion animation that fundamentally characterizes the four main characters, there are also animations in 2D and 3D, which means a totally different preparation for each specialty. Broadly speaking, we can say that, for example, the construction of characters for Stop Motion (puppets in this case) requires a metal armor that allows the movements of the dolls, and then finally put clothes on them. For the construction of the heads papier mache was used, with a paint finish … the hands are made of wood ".

How complex was the conception of this short film?

"Animation films, compared to fiction, from our point of view, have more productive processes, these in turn require more specialists. The directors also fulfill other roles in production such as designing, building models, characters and then encouraging them, it is quite exhausting. In addition to adding a production schedule quite tight for a short film with the characteristics of art and the pretensions of The Two Princes the poem.

The advice of the filmmaker Fernando Pérez influenced to a great extent. Tell us about it

"Addressing Marti always entails an extra responsibility. We are admirers of Fernando's work and as he had already made the film 'The Eye of the Canary' (about the young life of Jose Marti), so we were anxious that he accept the role of advising us ".

"Luckily it was not just a wish, and we had his advice several times at the beginning of the preproduction, along with Aramís Acosta, who was in charge of this stage. In these meetings we talked about the script, the aesthetics … he made observations; but above all he gave us confidence and motivated us to face the challenge ".

Completion of the film,took 10 months including pre-production, production and post-production. So it was good timing for the 39th edition of this festival?

"It is a privilege that the animation has been selected to compete. This will allow the work to reach enough people, although unfortunately animation is not as popular as fiction, but The Two Princes has from the beginning the aim to call for reflection and sensitivity, and what better impetus for this purpose, than the audience at the Film Festival ".

The premiere coincided with an exhibition with pieces of the production process of the work. In this you can see 40 snapshots, puppets and some of the models used. The curator was Mayrelis Aldama – who was in charge of the direction of photography. The Two Princes competed in the Animation category in this Festival, where they won the Special Jury Prize. In addition, it has been presented at other international festivals such as the Festival Mostra, in Portugal, and the Toulusse Festival, in France …

link to original interiew in spanish