Masterclass: PRIIT PÄRN

During the International Istanbul Film Festival I’ve attended the cinema class “Constructing the Story” which was given by Estonian master animator, graphic artist, caricaturist, illustrator Priit Pärn. He explained us the basic techniques for working with ideas and constructing the script, besides he has us showed his 2 short commercial films and “Life without Gabriella Ferri” which won lots of awards. He shared some  known and  unknown  informations about his film.  Here is the few  basic notes from his class:

“I’ve been drawing since i was a little kid. I graduated from the Department of Biology of Tartu University in 1970 and afterwards worked at the Botanical Garden of Tallinn as a plant ecologist.  I’ve been working on animation since 1976.  I didn’t study cinema but i’ve been teaching it for many years. I am the head of the Animation Department in Estonian Art Academy since 2006.

About “Life Without Gabriella Ferri”…

Why did i choose the name “Life Without Gabriella Ferri” for my movie? First of all, i thought it was a really nice name for a movie. May be many of you might not have heard the name of Gabriella Ferri. She is an Italian singer who passed away in 2004. Furthermore, as a creator,  this “without” word made me feel real free while i was making the movie.

The letters A and B we have seen in the movie are symbolizing a choice. Either A or B. While the little boy shows A+B to his father, he might refer his desire for his parents to stick together symbolically.

The characters in the movie are looking at the camera frequently and looking like  they are made of wood. It gives a strange impression which reflects the erotism to the audiences when they are playing with the knife. I am thankful to our sound editor for the annoying knife sound which has been heard frequently in the scene. This was really helpful for me to create the effect i wanted. The fish is being used for the symbol of erotism which is also the element for creating the play. The trio of  Fish-Knife-Music is reflecting the sad and deep feelings.”

(After one of the audiences was likening him to Andrei Tarkovsky’s style) “I don’t think i am likening to Tarkovsky’s style. Unlike me he has no sense of humor and  he is taking himself so serious. Besides i am the person who can laught at myself.  For instance if he shot my movie he wouldn’t use these hen and spider which i used. His child characters are also different. Our boy is a unique character. He is ugly, unattractive and he has plasters in his both hands. Hands are very important in this movie. I even have thought about giving the name “Hand” to my movie before I have decided “Gabriella”. This boy is representing the generation who has been raising with computer. They see but they don’t know how to touch. The reason he hits his head towards to wall is for taking his parent’s attention and getting locked himself in his room. Thereby he can be more free to log into porn sites on internet.”

I have told Mr. Pärn that  I have watched his 2 short movies some time ago which are “Time Out” and “1895” and i especially loved the black humor in “1895” which is telling a story about the history of the cinema with an  amazing and different way. I have found “Gabriella” too much  pessimistic and dark even  it is a very impressive movie. It might be only  me  but i still wanted to know if he had any explanations or spesific reason about it:

“I lost my ex wife at the same year that Gabriella Ferri passed away in 2004. I was very sad during that period. I guesss my mood is being anticipated in this movie. Yes this is a bit dark movie yet i don’t think it is pessimistic. I met with my current wife Olga by nice coincidence. We have decided to make this movie together. Since then we’ve been working and producing together and she is very supportive to me in every aspects.

The Relationship Between “Hammer – Nail – Screw” and A Story Development In Animation Movie

A hammer is a tool which is dominant but cruel and silly on the other hand. A nail is a tool which is tiny, passive but it attaches two woods together. Hammer is aware its power. Nail doesn’t have a big love for hammer but still they have to live together (Love & Hate Relationship). When it comes to a screw, we see a tool which has same mission with nail. But it is more sophisticated and educated tool by comparison to nail. Nail doesn’t like screw at all, screw finds nail arrogant. Although screw’s approach is negative to hammer, the attraction between them can not be obstructed. Screw finds their relationship ordinary. According to screw, it is more attractive situation when the hammer hit the screw…

All these relationship descriminations are here for exploring what’s going on in the possibilites arena. I haven’t created the story yet. I only know their structure and what they consist of. I will create the story with these datas.  I have to decide which one i will show firstly  in the movie. The hammer or the nail or  the screw or three of them together? Instead of showing the unhappiness of the hammer & nail couple’s in the beginnig,  i must show their good times together first and then their conflicts and bad times with their reasons.

One of  the main mistakes of the students who shot their short movies is that they have very good story but it has no end. Then suddenly very good ends come to their minds and  the story is already ruined  when they find the very best end for their stories.

Let’s say a film making process will take a year. Of course during in a year some improvise thoughts may pop up. But due to we are working in a studio, we have very limited opportunity for improvisation . The most creative procedure for us is the editing. Because unlike the other type of movies we are creating the camera movements during the editing procedure. We are molding the film as the way we want.

Animation is an abstract concept comparing to “live action”. Nothing is the same as the way they look like. The audiences have to guess what lies beyond the surface by the help of their subconsciousnesses. The most remarkable difference between my animations and animations such as “Persepolis” or “Waltz with Bashir” is they are like feature films.

It took 1 year to finish the script of “Gabriella”. Some directors draw storyboards completely but i only draw partly. We formed the characters linearly for creating the visual world of the movie. We used more than 700 backgrounds. If we didn’t have the computer based system we couldn’t make that movie, that’s for sure.

Actually i’d love to make a live action movie one day, i even wrote some scripts. But finding the money / fund is very hard for that kind of movies. That’s why i feel more free and independent while i’m making my animated films.”


During the International Istanbul Film Festival I’ve attended the cinema class “Constructing the Story” which was given by Estonian master animator, graphic artist, caricaturist, illustrator Priit Pärn. He explained us the basic techniques for working with ideas and constructing the script, besides he has us showed his 2 short commercial films and “Life without Gabriella Ferri” which won lots of awards. He shared some  known and  unknown  informations about his film.  Here is the few  basic notes from his class:

I’ve been drawing since i was a little kid. I graduated from the Department of Biology of Tartu University in 1970 and afterwards worked at the Botanical Garden of Tallinn as a plant ecologist.  I’ve been working on animation since 1976.  I didn’t study cinema but i’ve been teaching it for many years. I am the head of the Animation Department in Estonian Art Academy since 2006.

About “Life Without Gabriella Ferri”…

Why did i choose the name “Life Without Gabriella Ferri” for my movie? First of all, i thought it was a really nice name for a movie. May be many of you might not have heard the name of Gabriella Ferri. She is an Italian singer who passed away in 2004. Furthermore, as a creator,  this “without” word made me feel real free while i was making the movie.

The letters A and B we have seen in the movie are symbolizing a choice. Either A or B. While the little boy shows A+B to his father, he might refer his desire for his parents to stick together symbolically.

The characters in the movie are looking at the camera frequently and looking like  they are made of wood. It gives a strange impression which reflects the erotism to the audiences when they are playing with the knife. I am thankful to our sound editor for the annoying knife sound which has been heard frequently in the scene. This was really helpful for me to create the effect i wanted. The fish is being used for the symbol of erotism which is also the element for creating the play. The trio of  Fish-Knife-Music is reflecting the sad and deep feelings.

(After one of the audiences was likening him to Andrei Tarkovski’s style) I don’t think i am likening to Tarkovski’s style. Unlike me he has no sense of humor and  he is taking himself so serious. Besides i am the person who can laught at myself.  For instance if he shot my movie he wouldn’t use these hen and spider which i used. His child characters are also different. Our boy is a unique character. He is ugly, unattractive and he has plasters in his both hands. Hands are very important in this movie. I even have thought about giving the name “Hand” to my movie before I have decided “Gabriella”. This boy is representing the generation who has been raising with computer. They see but they don’t know how to touch. The reason he hits his head towards to wall is for taking his parent’s attention and getting locked himself in his room. Thereby he can be more free to log into porn sites on internet.

I have told Mr. Pärn that  I have watched his 2 short movies some time ago which are “Time Out” and “1895” and i especially loved the black humor in “1895” which is telling a story about the history of the cinema with an  amazing and different way. I have found “Gabriella” too much  pessimistic and dark even  it is a very impressive movie. It might be only  me  but i still wanted to know if he had any explanations or spesific reason about it:

I lost my ex wife at the same year that Gabriella Ferri passed away in 2004. I was very sad during that period. I guesss my mood is being anticipated in this movie. Yes this is a bit dark movie yet i don’t think it is pessimistic. I met with my current wife Olga by nice coincidence. We have decided to make this movie together. Since then we’ve been working and producing together and she is very supportive to me in every aspects.

The Relationship Between Hammer & Nail & Screw and A Story Development In Animation Movie

A hammer is a tool which is dominant but cruel and silly on the other hand. A nail is a tool which is tiny, passive but it attaches two woods together. Hammer is aware its power. Nail doesn’t have a big love for hammer but still they have to live together (Love & Hate Relationship). When it comes to a screw, we see a tool which has same mission with nail. But it is more sophisticated and educated tool by comparison to nail. Nail doesn’t like screw at all, screw finds nail arrogant. Although screw’s approach is negative to hammer, the attraction between them can not be obstructed. Screw finds their relationship ordinary. According to screw, it is more attractive situation when the hammer hit the screw…

All these relationship descriminations are here for exploring what’s going on in the possibilites arena. I haven’t created the story yet. I only know their structure and what they consist of. I will create the story with these datas.  I have to decide which one i will show firstly  in the movie. The hammer or the nail or  the screw or three of them together? Instead of showing the unhappiness of the hammer & nail couple’s in the beginnig,  i must show their good times together first and then their conflicts and bad times with their reasons.

One of  the main mistakes of the students who shot their short movies is that they have very good story but it has no end. Then suddenly very good ends come to their minds and  the story is already ruined  when they find the very best end for their stories.

Let’s say a film making process will take a year. Of course during in a year some improvise thoughts may pop up. But due to we are working in a studio, we have very limited opportunity for improvisation . The most creative procedure for us is the editing. Because unlike the other type of movies we are creating the camera movements during the editing procedure. We are molding the film as the way we want.

Animation is an abstract concept comparing to “live action”. Nothing is the same as the way they look like. The audiences have to guess what lies beyond the surface by the help of their subconsciousnesses. The most remarkable difference between my animations and animations such as “Persepolis” or “Waltz with Bashir” is they are like feature films.

It took 1 year to finish the script of “Gabriella”. Some directors draw storyboards completely but i only draw partly. We formed the characters linearly for creating the visual world of the movie. We used more than 700 backgrounds. If we didn’t have the computer based system we couldn’t make that movie, that’s for sure.

Actually i’d love to make a live action movie one day, i even wrote some scripts. But finding the money / fund is very hard for that kind of movies. That’s why i feel more free and independent while i’m making my animated films.

Orkide Ünsür

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