Colin Theys is a young director and visual effects artist currently working for Connecticut-based Synthetic Cinema International, having graduated from Wesleyan University with a dual major in film studies and psychology in 2007. His work is rather spectacular and I reckon he’s got a big future ahead of him. I plan to highlight two of his major projects — a short film that was created as his senior thesis, and his first feature for Synthetic Cinema International.
One: A Giant Rabbit
William F. Claxton tried it with his 1972 schlock flick, Night of the Lepus, featuring giant mutant rabbits terrorizing the southwest. Not good. With its bad dialogue (albeit given to some decent actors) and ordinary sized bunnies superimposed to look big or hopping about in miniature sets (see below), it isn’t considered an artistic success by many.
Perhaps it’s simply a bit difficult to make cute fluffy bunnies scary. That was the joke behind the killer rabbit and the Holy Hand-grenade of Antioch sequence in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, of course:
Colin Theys’ short film Harold and Burns might be funny and feature a cute fluffy bunny, but his giant rabbit has great leporidic presence and an enormous tongue. It eats people, too.
Harold and Burns (US-2007; short film [13 min.]; dir. Colin Theys)
When Harold is asked to babysit his aunt Gwen and uncle Garth’s pampered pet things quickly get out of hand, and soon he’s dealing with one “big bunny” problem.
It is a terrific little film, comically stylised, well-acted, colourful and with excellent SFX by Theys, including “two full CG creatures (a rabbit and a giant rabbit), a digital human stunt double, a CG tongue, several photorealistic digitally reconstructed sets, and loads of motion tracking”.
It looks beautiful at a decent resolution, so I suggest going to Theys’ website and watching the full thing (13 minutes, including credits). You won’t regret the time spent. He has also provided several short sequences that show the meticulaous work he put into the SFX (view them here).
What has been amazing me over the past year or so is how many spectacularly competent and artistically professional short films are being made out there by film students and other enthusiastic “amateurs”. Partly it’s that digital technology has given full rein to imagination and talent at a level of technical skill that wasn’t previously possible without lots of money and the backing of a decent-sized studio. All you need now is a Mac and the right software … oh, and lots of talent and dedication.
Since making Harold and Burns, Theys has gone on to make his first full-length film for Synthetic Cinema International, a horror movie featuring a number of 20-something victims and a nasty, super-sonic monster.