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motiphe / kangaroos can’t jump backwards

The mechanically artistic engineers of animation at Motiphe provide us with yet another playground for the clever. Here Director Rafael Mayrhofer wantonly toys with ideas, statistics, disturbingly fun facts, camera angles, tinfoil, storied layers of perception and expectation, clay, soap, scale and lighting. Nothing is really safe in this arena, but, there is one certainty. That is that the film is smart, simple, elegantly crafted and terribly engaging. Read on as Mayrhofer provides Dragonframe with an exclusive making-of vid and interview rife with some most excellent trivia that is sure to appear in Dragonframe’s new stop-mo boardgame, to be released soon.

Rafael Mayrhofer:

    Fun facts about production: the short film had 3 different names at different stages of the production: “Until we Kant”, “Fractured” and finally “Kangaroos can’t jump backwards.”

    The orange thing with bitemarks on green background apparently isn’t recognized by everybody instantly. It is soap which I took a bite off of for every frame. I didn’t swallow, but my mouth was quite irritated and I didn’t have much ability to taste anything for the rest of the day.

    Inspirations: I worked at Buck and Hornet and certainly drew a lot of inspiration from the incredibly talented artists that I worked with there. I had my hands in live action, studied 3D animation and I am a self taught stop motion animator. I started experimenting with stop motion as a pretty young fella and never stopped doing so… to me it’s the most fun and exciting way to animate. Besides after a day of animating stop motion, your back really feels like you worked hard – not so much with 3D. Regarding stop motion work, I am mostly inspired by sculptors and graphic designers. To drop a few names: Erwin Wurm and Julien Vallée. I guess with this short film I somewhat tried to get simple surreal jokes like Erwin Wurm’s artwork combined with some tangible Design like Julien Vallée’s. I actually would call what I do in stop motion: stop motion graphics. I rarely use characters and don’t do character driven plots but try create episodic moody pieces or abstract narratives like with this short.

    Whenever I can I try to experiment with something new so I don’t quite know where it will take me. On this project I went all in with this approach: The concept from the beginning was that it would be impossible for the first time viewer to grasp all the information given. I actually put most of the time into playing with the 3 levels, adjusting the speed and information given. I was aiming for a balance between overloading the viewer with information but not be too annoying. For me this was more of a writing and editing project than it was an animation. I actually rewrote a lot of stuff during editing whilst working with the incredibly talented voice actor Beau Stephenson on acting out the narrator. Until the very end of production, the plan actually was to end the film with what were presumably Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s last words: ‘mehr licht’ or ‘mehr nicht’. Which mean respectively ‘more light’ or ‘that’s it’. He mumbled a bit so historians still fight over which of the two is the correct one.

    Equipment used: Canon 5d Mark II, Dragonframe (a stop motion animators dream) and ghetto style lighting

Thanks, Rafael! We Kant wait for your next film – Dragonframe

Extra special extra:


Director and Animator: Rafael Mayrhofer
Script: Katharina Pichler, Rafael Mayrhofer
Voice Actor: Beau Stephenson
2D Animation: Katja Flachberger
Sound Design: Irad Lee, Rafael Mayrhofer

Blog written by Vera Long

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