A 2016 animated Short has finally been released from all distribution deals it previously held with Passion Pictures in London. The director Robert Valley uploaded the entire short on his youtube channel, along with an extended commentary video on January 16th of this year. The animated half hour short, Pear Cider and Cigarettes, is based on the graphic novel series of the same name. It is a story about Valley’s childhood friend and how their lives intertwined as they grew older.
The summary is as follows:
“Drink and smoke…that’s what Techno really like to do…and fight. He was in no condition to fight. He was sick, really sick. His disease had whittled him down to a shadow of his former self. He was crippled from a car accident when he was 17 but that’s not how he lost his big toe. He lost that in a motorbike accident, yeah he was broken alright… what the hell was he fighting for anyway and what was he still doing in China? His father had given me two clear instructions: 1. Get Techno to stop drinking long enough to receive the liver transplant and 2. Get him back home to Vancouver. This wasn’t going to be easy.”
Of course, Tecnno Stypes is not his real name. Valley was adamant about having the freedom and control over his own personal story. Over the course of a half of a decade, Valley financed and produced all of the artwork and animation as the lone crew member on the production of his film.
“I wanted to do it by myself. I was afraid that anyone who was going to invest money in my film probably wanted to tell me what they think.” He credited an on-going gig at Laika with giving him “enough work to pay the rent, but not so much that I couldn’t get my film done.”
With over 20 years of experience, Robert Valley has worked on animated projects and shows such as 1995’s Aeon Flux animated series, TRON: Uprising, a Metallica music video, several Gorillaz music videos, and most recently Love, Death, & Robots.
The bassist from Metallica along with musician Anitek helped to provide music for the short. Valley had done two separate Kickstarters in 2016. The first one was to complete the second volume of his graphic novel. The second Kickstarter was to complete the animated short, which, by then, was pretty much finished except for the addition of the music, sound mixing, and finishing touches.
All of the artwork for the graphic novels and all of the animation for the short was done in Photoshop.
The animation has very mature content, for an R rating of adult themes and violence.
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