EARTHWYN
WRITER-
DIRECTOR-
TIME TRAVELLER.

-->THE RAIN IS STILL
coming down over the commons of Halifax when I spot Earthwyn. Despite the time - it’s past 2 AM on the second of July, a time agreed following our work on the City’s Canada Day 150 Celebrations - the filmmaker seems unfazed. With exuding passion and an undeniable likability, any grievances I had towards our early morning meeting soon dissipates, and before long the conversation is free-flowing and organic. Perhaps it’s his child-like energy, or the genuine love and passion Earthwyn has for his craft, that makes our interview so enjoyable, but as the Toronto- based filmmaker discusses his project, I begin to understand just how much “Sugar Cube” means to him. This is more than just a short story… instead, it’s an examination of our own thoughts, dreams, and position within the universe. It’s an extension of Earthwyn, and a beautiful one at that. Over the next hour, Earthwyn talks me through the surprising depth of this 12.5 min animated thriller, whilst opening up about his influences, struggles and challenges up to this point…

Q - When was Sugar Cube Officially released? Sugar Cube premiered at Hollyshorts in Hollywood, California on August 11, 2016.

Q- What was that experience like? Amazing! It met so many wonderful people and had a chance to hang out with some really talented filmmakers, and of course got to premiere my film at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood! I mean, come on! I can’t think of a better way to begin a festival run. I’m truly a lucky kid!



Q – Why did you decide to make Sugar Cube your first Animated film? I wanted to create a thought-provoking tale that would not only engage audiences visually, but help them to understand the deeper nature of “Creative Blocks,” a universal struggle that people of all ages and backgrounds go through. Many people (including myself) go through this process everyday and it was important for me to depict this struggle visually. This film speaks volumes about my personality and aspirations as a storyteller, but sadly I believe this will be my last short film.

Q – Woah - that’s a bit of a bombshell. I watched Sugar Cube and loved it, and I’m sure audiences will too! Why, then, do you say this will be your last short? Sorry man, I didn’t mean to break the news so publicly to you! (laughs) The Short Film Genre has been a blast. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about being a filmmaker and really honed my craft over the last few years, but I think it’s time for me to venture into the feature-film world. I’ve had a lot to say over the last 7 years and I enjoyed the challenge of cramming complex narratives into a dense format like short films, but I just feel like my films need to breathe a little now. I really want to take the opportunity now to explore the depth of characters and their relationships with one another.

Q – What if the film resonates with audiences, will you consider making another one? Don’t get me wrong, I still love animation as a medium and think it’s an incredibly powerful storytelling tool. I definitely think I will continue to work with animation in some capacity in the future, but another short? That’s a tough call. It would have to be the right project. Something even more ambitious than Sugar Cube, and right now I can’t even think of what that would be.

Q – Talk to me about your influences Earthwyn. Sugar Cube is one of the most thought-provoking shorts I’ve seen in a while: what’s got you to this point? Behind every creator - whether it’s me, the writer, or yourself, the artist - there is an ultimate driving force…I was really fascinated with comic book artists like Todd McFarlane, Michael Turner and Alex Ross growing up, because these guys always had the ability to take ordinary characters and make them explode off the page! Todd McFarlane for example (my imaginary mentor) always says, “why can’t this look cooler?” So that’s always been my approach with everything that I do. I’m not interested in, “how do I tell this story?” I’m interested in “how do I tell this story in such a way, that will glue audiences to their seats and make them to go ‘wow!’” If my work doesn’t impress me, it feels like a waste of time. Since Sugar Cube was going to be my first Animated Short,

I was conflicted with which animation style I wanted to go with. I grew up loving cell-animation, so I knew that has to be a part of it, but then again I was also tremendously amused by shape-shifting animation styles in movies like “A Scanner Darkly” and “Waking Life.” So I decided that if this story was going to be told properly, it would have to be this type of “Alice in Wonderland” fantasyscape, where the character could shift and morph into these different animation styles as narrative continued. I then thought of movies like The Animatrix and Gotham Knight, and that’s really what gave me the blueprint for how I was going to produce this movie.

Q – Now I’ve spoken to professionals in the animation business about producing Animated shorts and features and it’s never an easy road. This being your first animated film, how did you manage to keep your head above water and produce a film that had so many moving parts? The film was essentially broken down into 3 major scenes. Each scene had its own narrative and specific visuals that needed to be shown on screen, but the context of each scene was never described to the animators that worked on them. Each animator was simply given a task, a vision and a deadline. Making it work within that timeline was up to them. I knew this would frustrate some artists, but we continued to push hard on our deadlines and answered only specific questions. I needed the animators to stress a little bit and fumble through the exercise because it was the only way for me to guarantee authentic results. Some people got it right away, some people quit, and some people floundered through the process, but that entire struggle is what I think makes this movie special. We’re not just talking about the breakthrough process with pretty visuals; we’re actually seeing the process tunfold in real time on screen.


varsity jacket By Champion

" Some people got it right away, some people quit, and some people floundered through the process, but that entire struggle IS WHAT I THINK MAKES THIS MOVIE SPECIAL  "



Q – There’s an interesting quote at the beginning of your film from the Institute of Physics that reads; “An atom is about 99.999999% empty space. If you removed the empty space from the atoms of all people, the entire human race could fit in the volume of a sugar cube.” Why did you choose that specific quote to open your film? The first time I read that quote I was blown away. Not so much by the fact itself, but by the profound size analogy it unknowingly represented. As human beings, we tend to assert ourselves as the most dominant beings on the planet. So when you equate the entire human race to an object (that we can literally stick into our coffee cups in the morning) it becomes an incredibly humbling exercise in perspective that I felt compelled to share with the world.

Q – That’s incredibly deep Earthwyn, but why do I feel there’s more to it than that? Tell us the truth: what were you hoping audiences would gain from this?

OK, you got me Luke! (laughs) It was really about orienting the audience. I used this quote and played around with big and small imagery throughout the film to juxtapose the vast difference between a creative block and a creative mind. In the life of an artist, or an individual facing a deadline (ie. everyone on Earth) a creative block tends to manifest itself as the most pressing, soul-sucking obstacle, standing in the way of progress. But what is a creative block relative to an idea? A creative block is one thing, but the mind, and our ability to generate new ideas is infinite. Therefore, a creative block in the wake of a tsunami of ideas shouldn’t stand a chance right? So what’s the problem? It’s our humanity. It’s the 99.999999% of metaphysical space outside of that cube that makes the human race so complex. It’s the space that we inhabit, know very little about, and seldom explore. *Takes a long sip of coffee So I thought to myself “that’s it! That’s what I’m going to do. We’re going to shrink the entire human race down and stick them inside this cube and then, instead of killing each other (like I’m sure we would if we were actually sharing space inside of a sugar cube) we’re going to work together to navigate these unknown lands.

Q – “Outside the box”? It’s a cube Luke. A friggin’ CUBE!

Q – I suddenly feel like I missed so much. (laughs) It’s meant to be watched a few times. *winks

Q – Ah, I see what you’ve done there. Where can people see your film? Sugar Cube is available on iTunes and Google Play store, or on our website at www.sugarcubethemovie.com


LUKE CONNOLLY is a writer based in Toronto, Canada. This is his first story for
1987 PRODUCTIONS.

E

-->THE RAIN IS STILL
coming down over the commons of Halifax when I spot Earthwyn. Despite the time - it’s past 2 AM on the second of July, a time agreed following our work on the City’s Canada Day 150 Celebrations - the filmmaker seems unfazed. With exuding passion and an undeniable likability, any grievances I had towards our early morning meeting soon dissipates, and before long the conversation is free-flowing and organic. Perhaps it’s his child-like energy, or the genuine love and passion Earthwyn has for his craft, that makes our interview so enjoyable, but as the Toronto- based filmmaker discusses his project, I begin to understand just how much “Sugar Cube” means to him. This is more than just a short story… instead, it’s an examination of our own thoughts, dreams, and position within the universe. It’s an extension of Earthwyn, and a beautiful one at that. Over the next hour, Earthwyn talks me through the surprising depth of this 12.5 min animated thriller, whilst opening up about his influences, struggles and challenges up to this point…



Q - When was Sugar Cube Officially released? Sugar Cube premiered at Hollyshorts in Hollywood, California on August 11, 2016.

Q- What was that experience like? Amazing! It met so many wonderful people and had a chance to hang out with some really talented filmmakers, and of course got to premiere my film at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood! I mean, come on! I can’t think of a better way to begin a festival run. I’m truly a lucky kid!

Q – Why did you decide to make Sugar Cube your first Animated film? I wanted to create a thought-provoking tale that would not only engage audiences visually, but help them to understand the deeper nature of “Creative Blocks,” a universal struggle that people of all ages and backgrounds go through. Many people (including myself) go through this process everyday and it was important for me to depict this struggle visually. This film speaks volumes about my personality and aspirations as a storyteller, but sadly I believe this will be my last short film.

EARTHWYN
WRITER-
DIRECTOR-
TIME TRAVELLER.


Q – Woah - that’s a bit of a bombshell. I watched Sugar Cube and loved it, and I’m sure audiences will too! Why, then, do you say this will be your last short? Sorry man, I didn’t mean to break the news so publicly to you! (laughs) The Short Film Genre has been a blast. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about being a filmmaker and really honed my craft over the last few years, but I think it’s time for me to venture into the feature-film world. I’ve had a lot to say over the last 7 years and I enjoyed the challenge of cramming complex narratives into a dense format like short films, but I just feel like my films need to breathe a little now. I really want to take the opportunity now to explore the depth of characters and their relationships with one another.

picture of Earthwyn sitting down



Q – What if the film resonates with audiences, will you consider making another one? Don’t get me wrong, I still love animation as a medium and think it’s an incredibly powerful storytelling tool. I definitely think I will continue to work with animation in some capacity in the future, but another short? That’s a tough call. It would have to be the right project. Something even more ambitious than Sugar Cube, and right now I can’t even think of what that would be.

Q – Talk to me about your influences Earthwyn. Sugar Cube is one of the most thought-provoking shorts I’ve seen in a while: what’s got you to this point? Behind every creator - whether it’s me, the writer, or yourself, the artist - there is an ultimate driving force…I was really fascinated with comic book artists like Todd McFarlane, Michael Turner and Alex Ross growing up, because these guys always had the ability to take ordinary characters and make them explode off the page! Todd McFarlane for example (my imaginary mentor) always says, “why can’t this look cooler?” So that’s always been my approach with everything that I do. I’m not interested in, “how do I tell this story?” I’m interested in “how do I tell this story in such a way, that will glue



audiences to their seats and make them to go ‘wow!’” If my work doesn’t impress me, it feels like a waste of time. Since Sugar Cube was going to be my first Animated Short, I was conflicted with which animation style I wanted to go with. I grew up loving cell-animation, so I knew that has to be a part of it, but then again I was also tremendously amused by shape-shifting animation styles in movies like “A Scanner Darkly” and “Waking Life.” So I decided that if this story was going to be told properly, it would have to be this type of “Alice in Wonderland” fantasyscape, where the character could shift and morph into these different animation styles as narrative continued. I then thought of movies like The Animatrix and Gotham Knight, and that’s really what gave me the blueprint for how I was going to produce this movie.

Q – Now I’ve spoken to professionals in the animation business about producing Animated shorts and features and it’s never an easy road. This being your first animated film, how did you manage to keep your head above water and produce a film that had so many moving parts? The film was essentially broken down into 3 major scenes. Each scene had its own



narrative and specific visuals that needed to be shown on screen, but the context of each scene was never described to the animators that worked on them. Each animator was simply given a task, a vision and a deadline. Making it work within that timeline was up to them. I knew this would frustrate some artists, but we continued to push hard on our deadlines and answered only specific questions. I needed the animators to stress a little bit and fumble through the exercise because it was the only way for me to guarantee authentic results. Some people got it right away, some people quit, and some people floundered through the process, but that entire struggle is what I think makes this movie special. We’re not just talking about the breakthrough process with pretty visuals; we’re actually seeing the process tenfold in real time on screen.

← back
Picture of Earthwyn in


varsity jacket By Champion

" Some people got it right away, some people quit, and some people floundered through the process, but that entire struggle IS WHAT I THINK MAKES THIS MOVIE SPECIAL  "



Q – There’s an interesting quote at the beginning of your film from the Institute of Physics that reads; “An atom is about 99.999999% empty space. If you removed the empty space from the atoms of all people, the entire human race could fit in the volume of a sugar cube.” Why did you choose that specific quote to open your film? The first time I read that quote I was blown away. Not so much by the fact itself, but by the profound size analogy it unknowingly represented. As human beings, we tend to assert ourselves as the most dominant beings on the planet. So when you equate the entire human race to an object (that we can literally stick into our coffee cups in the morning)



it becomes an incredibly humbling exercise in perspective that I felt compelled to share with the world.

Q – That’s incredibly deep Earthwyn, but why do I feel there’s more to it than that? Tell us the truth: what were you hoping audiences would gain from this? OK, you got me Luke! (laughs) It was really about orienting the audience. I used this quote and played around with big and small imagery throughout the film to juxtapose the vast difference between a creative block and a creative mind.In the life of an artist, or an individual facing a deadline (ie. everyone on Earth) a creative block tends to manifest itself as the most pressing, soul-



sucking obstacle, standing in the way of progress. But what is a creative block relative to an idea? A creative block is one thing, but the mind, and our ability to generate new ideas is infinite. Therefore, a creative block in the wake of a tsunami of ideas shouldn’t stand a chance right? So what’s the problem? It’s our humanity. It’s the 99.999999% of metaphysical space outside of that cube that makes the human race so complex. It’s the space that we inhabit, know very little about, and seldom explore. *Takes a long sip of coffee* So I thought to myself “that’s it! That’s what I’m going to do. We’re going to shrink the entire human race down and stick them inside this cube and then, instead of killing each other



(like I’m sure we would if we were actually sharing space inside of a sugar cube) we’re going to work together to navigate these unknown lands.

Q – “Outside the box”? It’s a cube Luke. A friggin’ CUBE!

Q – I suddenly feel like I missed so much. (laughs) It’s meant to be watched a few times. *winks

Q – Ah, I see what you’ve done there. Where can people see your film? Sugar Cube is available on iTunes and Google Play store, or on our website at www.sugarcubethemovie.com

LUKE CONNOLLY is a writer based in Toronto, Canada. This is his first story for
1987 PRODUCTIONS.

← back
Image of backalley staircase
DIRECTED BYEarthwyn
An Original Design ByEarthwyn
In association with Pure Percent Entertainment starring Peter Madison "Sugar Cube" Animated By Jason Stamatydes, Juan Correa ∧ Shamel Esmail Music By Kira May ∧ Jeremy Langlois Sound Design and Foley Yves Middleton Music Mix Ian Boddy Sound Mix Kyle Anderson ∧ Calvin Greening Production Design Taylor Armstrong