R’ha is an animated short indy sci-fi film about an alien civilization where the AI machines rebel against their creators.
When you watch R’ha you’ll have a hard time believing this is the work of a 22-year-old student in his first year studying film and animation. The Hollywood Reporter has posted an article about the short and its creator, Kaleb Lechowski, who attends Berlin’s Mediadesign Hochschule. With no budget to work with, Lechowski spent seven months creating a completely virtual world and a story about an alien protagonist.
I asked him about his shortfilm and how it was possible to create this masterpiece!
1. When did you start with 3d animation and was there some special direction?
I was always very much into designing creatures or robots, Science-Fiction generally. I think I started at the age of 12 maybe, when a friend, my brother and I wanted to create a computer game. After that I worked with Blender for about seven years, but besides one Video showing a concept car I created, I haven´t really done big projects. Now in my studies I got in contact with all the professional software like Maya, Nuke and zBrush.
2. how and where did your idea of rha get started?
I designed a lot about the R´ha two years ago, but the story was written when we started writing the short films in the university. R´ha is inspired by the Egyptian god Re or Ra. It kind of has the look of a pharaoh as well.
3. How long did it take to make it?
It took seven intense months.
4. Can you describe the process : the first idea until you final film.
Well I focused on the story for about two months straight, then I made the main (alien) character for another two months maybe. My plan was to create anything I needed for the interrogation, since that covers most of the film. Later I decided to put much more effort into the backflash and the ending.
5. What was the most difficult challenge for you?
I think it was the size of this project. I encountered a lot of problems along the way, but nothing was more challenging than the others.
6. Describe your message / intention of this short film.
My goal was to create an intense moment, accompanied by epic views in an emotional backflash. I really tried to make the audience relate to the four-armed almost faceless alien. I leave it open to interpretation.
7. How do you get along with the immense feedback of your shortfilm.
I really appreciate that! But also I needed to get some distance. I can´t answer every question or read every comment.
8. What are your feelings about the chance to go to LA?
I think it can change everything, but it will really show when I get there. Right now I´m working really hard to get the best out of it.
9. What do you wish for the future?
I would really love to turn this into a full feature film, but also I hope I can manage to stay true to who I am.
10. Which are your favourite films and why?
I like a lot of the movies from Christopher Nolan. They are intelligent and have a lot of great moments and twists. The story really is in focus. I also like a lot of Sci-Fi, as you might expect. I just watched Spielberg´s version of War of the Worlds, and I really like the scenario and how he introduces everything. Besides that Matrix has inspired me really much, since I grew up with it.
11. Can you give some advices for beginners in animation?
I think you need a lot of passion and work. It is good to really think about what is important, what is worth the work, because you can get lost in technique or detail. Also I think it is important to try and come up with one´s own solutions to the problems we experience. Always get feedback and try to accept critique. I hope this helps
I would like to thank David Masterson and Hartmut Zeller for their great work!