Chicago filmmaker Nicholas De Fina recently spoke with Solzy at the Movies about his award-winning animated feature LeSeurdmin.
Thank you for joining Solzy at the Movies today. How are things treating you?
Nicholas De Fina: Well enough, and yourself?
I’m doing well, thanks. Your animated feature, LeSeurdmin, is currently playing the festival circuit and recently took home awards for Best Feature and Director at the 2017 Houston Comedy Film Festival and has been selected for the 2017 Diamond in the Rough Film Festival. How does it feel to get such acclaim?
Nicholas De Fina: It feels pretty good and I hope it continues to do well. Working on LeSeurdmin was a pretty isolating and intensive experience, so I lost all frame of reference for whether or not it was any good.
Rather than turn to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you financed this yourself and quit your job to spend five years writing and animating. Was crowdfunding ever a thought?
Nicholas De Fina: Nah. There are probably extenuating circumstances in certain situations, but I’ve never been able to make myself feel okay with the idea of crowdfunding. It feels too much like other people paying for your wants, and I’ve never been good with accepting free help. It’s like creating a kickstarter asking people to buy me a house. There’s better ways for strangers to spend their money, like renting LeSeurdmin 20 times in a row.
Did you ever consider doing this film in live-action or was it only going to be in animation from the moment the thought came to your mind?
Nicholas De Fina: Just hypothetically but never realistically. I liked the live action idea because it would become a little reminiscent of 60s Batman or some of those wonderful Captain America movies from the 80s, especially with a protagonist in a wrinkly, ill-fitting suit that doesn’t flatter the human form at all, but then the campiness of those aesthetics may have detracted from the film’s content. Plus, I had just finished a different live action film around that time and wanted to try the total control of animation.
As far as animation or filmmaking is concerned, who are some of your influences?
Nicholas De Fina: Well, I grew up with the Simpsons, so those golden seasons (3-7) shaped a lot of my humor in general, as well as how it relates to animation. From there, South Park took over and shaped more of my adult sensibilities. As far as stark and brutal humor goes, I don’t think South Park can be topped.
UK Film Review describes LeSeurdmin as a cross between Family Guy, South Park, and Kick Ass. What do you think of such comparison?
Nicholas De Fina: Ha. I’m a little torn. I think those are great reference points for what to expect when watching LeSeurdmin, but those reference points also set a very high standard that is hard to match. Hopefully, people find it to be an accurate description.
What are your thoughts on the state of filmmaking in Chicago? I’m a writer myself and planning to produce a film on location within the next year.
Nicholas De Fina: Chicago is great and so is its state of filmmaking right now… If that sounds very vague, it is because I am a hermit who only goes into the outside world as mandated by financial needs. But if you end up choosing Chicago, let me know and I can guide you to the best italian ice and/or beef in the city.
Thank you for your time.
Nicholas De Fina: Thank you for yours.
LeSeurdmin is currently available to rent or purchase on Vimeo.