Private Project

Brother deer

Brother and sister live peacefully in a cottage at the edge of a forest until their life is disrupted by the arrival of mistress Death. They try to run for their lives, but Death has to carry out what has been ordained. The sister decides to let her brother change into a deer rather than to let him die. Might pure sibling love be capable of awakening a little compassion in the heart of ghostly mistress Death? Will brother and sister manage to escape their fate and stay together forever?

  • Zuzana Žiaková
  • Zuzana Žiaková
  • Lukáš Marhefka
  • Anna Capuliaková
  • Miroslav Ivan
    Director of Photography
  • Ivana Macková
  • Jozef Mokoš
  • Zuzana Žiaková
  • Adam Kuchta
    Sound Design
  • Adam Duša
    Visual Effects
  • Peter Košťál
    Color Grading
  • Zuzana Žiaková
    Sets & Props
  • Klára Jediná
    Sets & Props
  • Ivana Macková
    Sets & Props
  • Matej Sloboda
    Music Composer
  • Jozef Mokoš
    Voice Actors
  • Kakama Kubcová
    Voice Actors
  • Juraj Kmošena
    Voice Actors
  • Tomáško Tapušík
    Voice Actors
  • Michal Izakovič
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Braček Jelenček
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Thriller, Fairy Tale, puppet, Stop motion, Animation, Horror
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 59 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 30, 2016
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    digital DSLR
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Fest Anča
    July 2, 2016
    National premiere
    Special mention
  • IGRIC 2016 - National film & television awards
    September 22, 2016
    Creative bonus
Director Biography - Zuzana Žiaková

Zuzana Žiaková is a young animator, illustrator and director of animated films. She studied at the Academy of performing Arts in Bratislava, Slovakia and at the University College Falmouth in United Kingdom. After her bachelor degree film Tiene/Shadows - created by a digital 3D animation - she decided to get back to traditional techniques. Her latest film - Brother deer - is a stop motion film inspired by an old, dark Slovak folktale.

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Director Statement

It all started with a story I remembered from my childhood. Perhaps my grandma read it to me at one of those long evenings at her house. I can remember it haunted me. It was a story in a book written by Pavel Dobšinský, who is considered to be a Slovak „Grimm“. He had traveled the Eastern Europe region and written down traditional dark fairy tales which only existed in spoken form before that. Brother deer was a name of a story I remembered till my adult years and it still somehow haunted me many years after I first heard it. Mainly the part where brother and sister have to run away from their house and they cannot drink, because all water in the forest is cursed. Brother is so thirsty, he cannot run any more. Sister lets him drink at last, even though she knows she will probably lose him forever. As he drinks from a footstep, he turns into a deer. The girl loves her brother so much, that she would rather lose him forever than to let him die. When writing the script for the animated movie, we left this part untouched. The rest of the story is, however, very different from the original because we decided to tell a new, unheard story about love and death.

Brother deer is a project, which was at first considered too ambitious to finish on time. As an MA degree film, it had to be finished in two years from the first idea to the last shot. But we believed we can do it! With huge help of my crew, we managed to finish it and the work we had done is something that makes me really proud. Creation of the film was an extremely complex process, but it helped me to understand the depths of creating an animated piece. I have grown as a director and animator on many levels. I was very lucky to have an opportunity to work with talented people who had formed an amazing crew. Those countless hours we have spent on the script, lighting, animating, visual effects and so on were very inspirational.

Brother deer film is trying to follow the tradition of the Czechoslovak golden era of puppet animation. Puppet animation is a very traditional method of animation and it fits perfectly with the traditional feeling of the story. Puppets and props created by hand take you back to your childhood, when you used to create your imaginary worlds from everything around you. Being able to touch the puppets, to build their entire world, be there physically with them in their little world as an almighty giant „god-like creature“ is magical. As an animator, you have to live every single move with the puppets, you even have to breath for them. You It allows a director and animators to create by playing with physical materials and it makes the animation extraordinary. Mainly when it is compared to flawless artificial computer generated images, you can feel the presence of the animator in subtle flaws and moves in the scene. Those little imperfections add the magic and life into the image.

A film Brother deer is a dream, which came true for me and the whole crew. We are happy we can now send it out to the world. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we enjoyed creating it!

Zuzana Žiaková