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MOOZ – on moving images and audiovisual arts

Life Is Tough

Das Leben ist hart
Simon Schnellmann
2015, 3:00 min., b/w, animation

2015, 3:00 min., b/w, animation

Idea & animation: Simon Schnellmann

Sound design: Marcus Zilz & Simon Schnellmann

Advisors KHM: Prof. Raimund Krumme, Stéphanie Beaugrand

German title: Das Leben ist hart

The animation Life Is Tough begins with a scene featuring the film’s title: the letters that make up the title stand in line for the toilet, each waiting impatiently for their turn. Later, in quick succession we see a day in the life of an executive with a penchant for singing, until he falls over drunk in the evening, punctuated by the bored applause of a fellow diner.

Connecting this series of absurdly comic episodes is a black dot, a visual element that acts as a protagonist throughout the animation by taking on various roles. For example, as the pupils in the eyes of a sleeper, which try in vain to pry open the eyelids. Later the dot appears as a scoop of ice cream that responds to the character about to consume it with an aggressive tongue kiss.

With the help of a few strokes and sound effects, the dot becomes a fly coming home and kicking back in the living room on a large pile of poop. Watching a foreboding horror film on the television the fly soon falls victim to a giant fly swatter. 

The stories encompass a number of pointed observations on everyday life that persistently defy our expectations and climax in twists as surprising as they are bizarre. The medium’s potential is put to masterful use, with results that would never be possible in a live-action film. In terms of drawing technique, there isn’t a single excessive stroke; every point is perfectly timed.

The film has been shown at many national and international festivals (Oberhausen, Ljubljana, Bratislava, and Newport, CA, among others). It has received various awards, including the “Especially Worthwhile” distinction.

Text — Tom Uhlenbruck

Simon Schnellmann, born 1984 in Winterthur, Switzerland
2006–2009 Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communication at the School of Art and Design in Luzern
2009–2011 Permanent position as illustrator and animator at PRtools in Luzern
2012 Internship at the company Flachbild in Cologne
2013– Further studies in the diploma program at the Academy of Media Arts (KHM), Cologne. Life Is Tough was his first project. He completed his studies at the KHM with the storyboard for the animation Bis zum letzten Tropfen. For the production of the film he received funding from the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW in 2018.


2010  Ein Tag, animation, 1:46 min.

2013  Epic Fail Compilation, animation, 1:52 min.

2013  Frau K, animation, 2:29 min.

2015  Hund, animation, 1:54 min.

2018  Bis zum letzten Tropfen, animation

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MOOZ—on  moving images and audiovisual arts—is a virtual place for artistic projects of the Academy of Media Arts, known also far beyond the KHM. The platform for close-up views of projects and productions of different time periods, works with the principle of reflection: MOOZ mirrors the complex sequences and formats, and reflects back into the virtual spaces what has not yet been perceived or what has just been produced. MOOZ also changes perspective: It's not just about looking at and in the predominantly short, audiovisual forms and discoveries about vlog, found footage, essay film, documentary and performative formats, abstract and experimental, installative arrangements, but with which lens, which focus, which zoom the moving image works look back on the equally different and polyphonic world of the users.

The reflection principle of MOOZ can also be understood programmatically: because each project is reflected by a different voice who thinks with the artistic work, directs a specific focus on it and stimulates the viewer to make their own projections.


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