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
ZOOM – on moving images and audiovisual arts, is a virtual site for artistic audiovisual projects and productions from the Academy of Media Arts, Cologne. Artistically diverse positions are regularly selected and made accessible to the wider public on the Internet.
The programmatic focus is on short audiovisual forms with original artistic perspectives and great sensitivity for the subject matter. Included are abstract visual experiments, documentary formats, found-footage films, and performance videos, as well as non-narrative music videos and 3-D or stop-motion animation.