The Korea Herald


[Newsmaker] Stop-motion animation 'Mother Land' stays away from 3D effect for story about nature

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Jan. 13, 2023 - 12:05

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“Mother Land” (The Coup Distribution) “Mother Land” (The Coup Distribution)

“Mother Land,” South Korea’s first major stop-motion animated film in 45 years, did not use 3D effects in the film to better portray the mother nature story, the film’s director Park Jae-beom told reporters Tuesday.

“When I first thought about the storyline of ‘Mother Land,’ it was obvious for me to turn it into a stop-motion animation. Not only because I’m a huge fan of stop-motion animation, but because I wanted to portray a story of mother nature in the most analog way. We humans are also analog,” Park said during a press conference held at CGV Yongsan in central Seoul, Tuesday.

“I know the technologies for 3D effects are very advanced, but I wanted to remove 3D effects as much as possible. At the studio, we created snow and fire using Styrofoam and an aurora with fabrics, which only a stop-motion animation can do,” said Park.

“Mother Land” centers around a little girl named Krisha and her younger brother Kolya from a nomadic tribe called Yates in the Tundra. While they adhere to a traditional lifestyle, Krisha embarks on an adventurous journey to find the sacred spirit and owner of the land Red Bear so that her ill mother can be cured.

Motivated by SBS’s “The Last Tundra,” a documentary series which aired in 2010, director Park said the film does not specifically tell a message that humans should do more to protect nature.

“I simply wanted to portray the way humans live. Like in the documentary program, the Yates tribe say humans need to inevitably get certain things from nature to continue living. But what they focus on is to take just as much as they need, not more than that. I was inspired by their way of living, so I wanted to develop the scenario from that point,” said Park.

It took three years and three months to complete production.

Endless snowy fields, a herd of thousands of caribou and a mesmerizing aurora were created by hand involving 36 staff members, who worked on making a total of 22 dolls. Using 10 different sets, it took 850 stop-motion scenes. One particular scene took as long as two days.

Director Park is hoping for international distribution of the film.

“I believe the biggest advantage of animated film is that it can become a medium that transcends cultural differences or borders. We are ready for overseas distribution, with complete subtitles.”

Renowned subtitle translator Darcy Paquet worked on the subtitles for “Mother Land.”

The film opens in local theaters on Jan. 25.