Africa World Documentary Film Festival (South Africa) • Stellenbosch University South Africa April 30th and May 4th
Florida Film Festival • April
Ann Arbor Film Festival • March 20th at Michigan Theater
Black Maria Film Festival • March 7th at Hoboken Historical Museum
Vancouver International Women in Film Festival (Canada) • March 7th at Vancity Theater
Africa World Documentary Film Festival (Barbados) • March 1st at University of West Indies Cave Hill,
DC Independent Film Festival • February 17th at Naval Heritage Center
Africa World Documentary Film Festival • February 11th at Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis, MO
Ryerson University Toronto: Refugees: Film & Debate (Canada) • January 26th
DOC NYC Film Festival (world premiere) • November 14, 2017 at Cinepolis Chelsea, New York, NY
“Little Fiel” is a stop motion animation/documentary about the unending civil war. It that tells a universal story of peaceful people who have been coerced, conscripted and enticed into killing each other. It is based on the life story of Mozambican artist Fiel dos Santos who grew up during the 16 year old civil war – another proxy war equipped and sustained by conflicting foreign powers. Fiel created all figures for the animation from dismantled AK47s and M16s. Three New York artists turned them into puppets and animated.
“I work with real guns. There are lots of guns out there. When I destroy one gun I make sure that it wont kill anymore,” says Fiel dos Santos.
When the Civil War in Mozambique started in 1975, Fiel was 3 years old. He had a big family of five siblings and numerous cousins. Towards the end of the 16-year-war, Fiel found himself living alone in the dilapidating house with no electricity and water at the age of 14. To overcome depression and madness he started drawing on the walls of the house. Today Fiel is a renowned artist, one of four authors of the celebrated “Tree of Life” sculpture exhibited in the British Museum. Fiel dos Santos is the only member of his family who hasn’t shot a gun. As he is welding sculptures, we see that beneath his cool façade, Fiel’s childhood memories have hardened inside him. He’s been carrying them all his life, just like his sculptures carry gun pieces as their limbs.
shot in Mozambique, animated in New York and Connecticut
gun sculptures by Fiel dos Santos
animated by Chris Langer, Gus Ford and Irina Patkanian
director of photography Gus Ford
music by Adam Silverman
sound design by Ross Williams
written/directed/produced and edited by Irina Patkanian
2009 Irina Patkanian and Chris Langer travel to Mozambique where they meet Fiel dos Santos. Moved by Fiel’s life story and his sculptures of people made from pieces of guns, they decide to create stop motion animation about peaceful people who have been turned into soldiers in another proxy civil war.
2010 Fiel comes to New York and brings gun pieces. He creates a sculpture of little Fiel. Ross creates custom made armature to turn Fiel sculpture into a puppet. Irina and Chris are joined by Gus Ford as a cinematographer and second animator and the three spend a week making tests and creating a short animation sample for a NYSCA grant.
2011 Irina and Gus go to Mozambique to pick up remaining 7 sculptures representing File’s family members: Father, Mother, Sister and 4 brothers. Each sculpture is about 2.5 feet tall and weighs around 30 pounds. Chris and his friend Jeff Blank turn sculptures into puppets by cutting them and connecting parts with custom armature. In summer, Irina, Chris and Gus are joined by 12 interns to animate a short scene inside the well, partially funded by 2011 NYSCA grant ($25,000). After working full days 6 days a week for two and half months, the team has about 6 min. of stop motion animation; 3 min. 20 seconds of which makes it into the final film.
2013 Team is awarded $13,000 PSC CUNY grant. Irina is working on the script.
2015 Irina and Gus travel to Mozambique to shoot exteriors, interview Fiel, and pick up rose sculptures .
2016-2017 In summers, Irina and Gus make the remaining stop motion animation. Irina edits the film, Chris creates special effects and the dolob cartoon. Adam Silver composes original music. Ross Williams creates and mixes the soundtrack. On November 14th Little Fiel premieres at DOC NYC, largest American documentary film festival.