Storyboard Artist/Director, Xilam Animation
One of French storyboard artist and director Julien Bisaro’s earliest movie memories goes back to the time he was seven or eight, when he saw Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, along with a stop-motion animation short Bluebeard by Olivier Gillon. As he describes it,“It was a baroque profusion of creativity and unbridled imagination that left a deep mark on me!”
The 38-year-old Saint-Avold native studied at the Beaux-Arts Academy of Epinal and went on to train at the prestigious La Poudrière animation school. Soon, he found himself working as background and layout artist on Brendan and the Secret of Kells; animator and chief layout designer on Ernest
& Celestine; storyboarder and co-graphic designer on Le Tableau; and most recently as an Annie-nominated storyboard artist on the multi-award-winning feature I Lost My Body.
Bisaro’s animated short Bang Bang! was nominated for a César and was a festival favorite in 2015. His most recent half-hour short
Shooom’s Odyssey was released in French theaters in January. He’s now developing his first feature with Xilam’s CEO and producer Marc du Pontavice.
He tells us that he loves the storyboard and animatics stages of an animated project. “For me, it’s like writing with images,” he explains. “You can experiment with so many things, design a film’s shape. It’s a pleasant stage in the work, because it doesn’t require massive investment. You can get rid of whatever doesn’t work and start over again until you reach the emotion you’re after!”
Bisaro maintains that kicking off a new project is always a challenge. “I just finished a medium-length feature for preschoolers,” he points out. “We wanted to create a first film experience for very young children (three-year olds), a non-anthropomorphic view of animals in nature. The new feature film I’m developing also focuses on nature and animals, but this time, we aim for an adult audience. Though the subjects are very close, the issues and intrigues are completely different, and that’s what makes it very stimulating.”
He is quite modest when we ask him to share some career advice with us. His response is, “I don’t feel that it’s entirely appropriate for me to offer advice about working in animation, but I’d recommend that you mustn’t forget your personal motivations, the ones that led you into the business. It is very important to maintain a space of personal creativity.” Now these are words to keep close to your heart.