“The Spine” is a psychologically driven film that uses bizarre imagery to tell the story of a couple trapped in a spiral of mutual destruction. Main characters Dan and Mary Rutherford evolve, adapt and break as they navigate an unhappy marriage. Landreth’s unique animation style has characters literally wearing their lives on their bodies.
The Spine Making Off Trailer
“Dan and Mary are in a toxic relationship that you see reflected in their physicality,” explained Landreth. “Dan is reduced to a spineless being that melts over furniture, while Mary’s body bloats with her problems. Autodesk Maya was used for modeling, texturing, animating, rigging and visual effects. The software has such a rich toolset. I particularly enjoyed exploring new creative paths with Maya nCloth. Our team used it to simulate everything from Dan’s viscous body to breaking glass and all kinds of fabrics.” Maya nCloth is part of the Maya Nucleus simulation framework that helps artists quickly direct and control cloth and other material simulations.
“The Spine” was produced by the National Film Board of Canada in association with Copperheart Animation and C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures, with the creative participation of Autodesk and Seneca College School of Communication Arts. Digital artists and engineers from Autodesk collaborated with Landreth to ensure successful completion of the project. Fifteen Seneca College students worked on the film for four months, as part of their graduation project.
“I worked with Seneca College students on ‘Ryan’ and was excited to collaborate with the institution again,” said Landreth. “It was great to work with such a talented team of students. For some of them, ‘The Spine’ was their first real-world project. They were up and running within a week. Thanks to their talent and Maya software’s power and speed, we were always ahead of the production schedule.”
“The Spine” debuted at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival (June 813) in Annecy, France, and premiered at the Worldwide Short Film Festival (June 1621) in Toronto, Canada. It won a “Best of Fest” award at the Melbourne International Animation Festival (June 22-28). Landreth is currently working on his first full-length feature film, called “Lovecraft,” and expects to once again make movie magic with Maya.