“Black is Back!”: The Festival Trailer 2022


The official trailer of the 29th Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS, May 3 to 8, 2022) is called “Black is Back!” and was created by François Chalet. The Swiss artist teaches storytelling and expanded animation at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and works as a visual artist in the fields of illustration, animation, installation and performance as well as on cross-platform projects.

Michael Fakesch is responsible for the sound. The music producer, sound designer, DJ, lecturer and film music composer was one of the two founders and members of the electro duo Funkstörung and has already worked for Björk, Wu-Tang Clan, Jean-Michel Jarre, Notwist and Nicolas Winding Refn.

We regularly publish a new snippet from the trailer.



How long have you known the ITFS and how are you affiliated with the Festival?

I have known the Festival for about ten years. It’s the most important festival in Europe along with Annecy, so I come regularly to watch the latest films and go back to Switzerland enchanted.

You have been a frequent guest of ITFS. How do you perceive the Festival?

In contrast to the Fantoche Animation Film Festival in Baden, Switzerland, with its family atmosphere, the ITFS seems rather large and sprawling to me. It’s easy to disappear into the crowds and reappear somewhere else. Then you meet up with the hard core of the animation industry at Café le Théatre. The Schlossplatz is ideal for watching the stars in the sky once in a while and dropping your eyes.

How did you come up with the idea for the trailer?

I had revised the twelve principles of animation in preparation for teaching at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and once more had to realise how little I have actually mastered them. So, I thought it would make sense to focus on the fundamentals of animation once again. The trailer is about the “bouncing ball”, “squash and stretch”, “exaggeration”, “expressions”, failure, reduction and basic shapes, and naturally “à la sauce” Chalet. Also, I really wanted to address for a moment the immersion in another world and the forgetting of our everyday life: The light in the film suddenly goes on and the hall is instantly illuminated by the inversion of the image. We see our neighbour sitting next to us in the cinema and want to immerse ourselves in the magic of animation again as quickly as possible.
I approached Michael Fakesch as an avatar in the ITFS virtual club a year ago before his DJ performance and asked him if he would like to develop the music for it.

The trailer is very minimalist, and the use of colour is also reduced to a minimum. What is the intention and the message behind it?

All my work is based on reduction. I always start from the basic shapes and am convinced that you can say a lot with very little, just as you can say very little with a lot. As to the unasked question why 2D instead of 3D, my answer is that things don’t necessarily have more depth if they are three-dimensional. In the trailer I try to leave free space so that the audience can fill it with their own experiences and stories. A trailer is also supposed to attract attention. The starting situation is a time when everything is overly colourful and cluttered. My proposal is black and white and few strokes. “Black is Back!” is also an ode to cinema, which we finally have back after the pandemic year of 2020.

What or who has influenced you?

Swiss graphics, Grapus, Norman McLaren, Michel Gondry, mathematics, Laurel and Hardy, Scacciapensieri, Lotte Reiniger, Felix Valloton, “Tom und das Erdbeermarmeladebrot mit Honig”, Michael Fakesch, Bauhaus, Pierre Soulages, Mummenschanz, La Linea, Yukimasa Okumura, Illustrator, CC Animate, Lovely the cow (Swissmilk advertising), Roman Signer, Hans Richter, Emil Cohl, Louis de Funés, Monty Python, Gaston Lagaffe, Oskar Fischinger, Roman Cieslewicz, Henryk Tomaszewski, Winsor McCay and many more.



How long have you known the ITFS and how are you affiliated with the Festival?

I’m not sure at all, but I think I’ve known the Festival and especially the Director Uli Wegenast for probably over 20 years. Uli was a big supporter of my former band Funkstörung and has always remained on friendly terms with me – even after Funkstörung broke up.

Your music has been influencing the image trailers of the ITFS for years. To what extent has the ITFS influenced you?

The ITFS actually opened my eyes a bit to the fact that there are many great things beyond Disney and glossy commercial animations. Some of the ITFS entries are really incredibly creative and inspire me for my own work. Since my main job now is scoring commercials, I could learn from ITFS films how to tell stories in a short time and how to realise them with the simplest means … that is of course something I can also use very well in my compositions and sound designs.

You have already worked many times with the ITFS and you also developed the Festival’s atmo-trailer from one of your own songs (“Give It To Me”). Do you have a special connection to animation in your work?

I have already created the music and sound design for several hundred animations, and I couldn’t imagine a cooler job. Sometimes I even dream about sound and every time I see an animation, I already have the ‘right’ sound in my mind. By the way, I can’t imagine how to watch animation without sound. I think it’s only through sound that animations come alive, it’s only through music that animations become emotional.

What was your first feeling when you saw François Chalet’s trailers? Did you immediately know what music would go with it?

My first feeling was: ‘Oh yeah!’ 😉
Actually, it was clear pretty quickly what kind of music or sound design it should be. At the beginning I tried an approach that was much more comic-like, but somehow Francois and I had the feeling that we had to make it even more edgy and counteract the childish naiveté of the visuals with a very experimental sound design.

How did you go about creating the soundtrack for the trailer?

I’ve had almost 20 years of experience in setting visuals to music, so of course there is a routine by now. In the beginning I always try out many different things, including old compositions of course, or sound experiments. That way I can quickly see what might fit well and from there I work my way through the composition step by step, although in my case ‘working’ is not the right expression, it’ s more like ‘playing’ 😉

Did you already know the visuals of François Chalet? How did the cooperation come about?

Although Francois already made a music video for our band Funkstörung 20 years ago, I unfortunately never met Francois in person. That’s why I was all the more pleased that we were able to work together again after 20 years and finally got to know each other – even if only virtually.

I am a big fan of Francois … he has a great style, a lot of humour, is incredibly creative and also simply a very nice guy. Feels good that our circle is closing after 20 years, although ‘closing’ sounds so like closure … hope we can still do a lot together.


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