Friday, 15 March 2013


Since January 2011 when Lucas and I started developing the story together, I've been keeping a look out to find a theatre close to what we had in mind for the film.
We reached 2012 and I still couldn't find any theatre that really caught my eye.  I spent a lot of time in London and Paris, searching for the right theatre with the right character, but no luck.
I certainly did come across some gorgeous playhouses with astonishing architecture and interior design, but they were just not what I wanted. Until one day Fritzi (our producer) and I were invited by a mutual producer friend Kay Czuba to attend Alan Davies comedy show at the Hackney Empire.

The moment I entered the auditorium, my jaw dropped.  I looked at Fritzi next to me and she almost had the same amazed look on her face.  At that moment, we had no doubt that we finally found the damn place.
The stage and the auditorium is large but not huge, there is something humble, yet elegant about the interior.  The proscenium somehow reminded me of a detailed wooden puppet theatre.

So a few weeks after, we got permission to photograph the interior.  While taking pictures we were also given a tour of the theatre and had the opportunity to see the backstage and all it's equipment.

The following is  a series of images I took, and later we used them to build a low poly model of the place. The current low poly 3D interior of the theatre is done by Walter Lowe III,  a talented Chicago-based 3D modeller and musician.  The 3D renders coming soon.

and some examples of the storyboards, just enough to not spoil anything. 

Friday, 11 January 2013

Leon's House, Bedroom - Design & Development

Here is part of a location design and 3D model for Leon's house. I’ve been very inspired by the work of legendary French photographer Atget, and the influence of his work is clearly visible throughout this film.

What fascinates me most about his photographs is the power of story telling, captured by a simple yet stunning way of framing the subject. Even though most of his photographs don’t include physical presence of people, nevertheless the human life is not absent in his work. His interior photography tells me a story of the person who might have just left the room.

Despite the fact that Atget photographs are taken about 40-60 years earlier than the period when Leon spends his childhood in Paris, I was pretty keen to introduce a similar visual quality into some of these locations.

Concept art - Reza Dolatabadi
3D model, texture & render - Jon Botros
Photographs by Eugène Atget

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Grandmother Character - Design Process

The following is one of the very early sketches that I did when Lukas Lanza and I were developing the story. For my part I started sketching out some of our characters to help us both get inspired visually and relate easier to the mood of the film and the look of the characters.

A few months later I came up with the final design... 

The final modeling of this character was done by Dave Kutschman (image Below). 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

La Ritournelle is an animated short film directed by Reza Dolatabadi produced by Fritzi Nicolaus and written by screenwriter Lucas Lanza and Reza. For the project Reza and Fritzi have gathered an international team of twenty young and talented artists from 9 different countries. These countries are: Great Britain, France, Italy, Poland, Argentina, Brazil, USA, Canada and Nepal. 

We have been working on La Ritournelle from January 2011. Our team is collaborating on the short film with the common goal to create a beautifully animated story set in Paris in the 1920s and 1940s. All members of the team share a similar passion for animation and storytelling, and that passion is what brought our multicultural group together.