Mait Laas was born in Tallinn, Estonia, in 1970. He graduated from Tallinn University with a degree in teaching art and drawing and studied visual communication at the Vienna Art Academy and fine arts at Tallinn University. In 1993, Mait Laas began working as a director for the successful animation film studio Nukufilm. He is also a lecturer for animation at the Estonian Academy of Fine Arts and holds a chair for film at the University of Tallinn. Laas made his first animation film, "And it Bloomed" (1993), during his studies, followed by "Somebody Else" in 1997. For his 1998 film "Daylight", Mait Laas won first prize at the Blue Sea Herring Film Festival in Rauma, Finland. His animation film "The Way to Nirvana" (2000) has received numerous awards, including the Grand Award at the Oberhausen International Short-Film Festival. The film tells the story of a young man who wants to find out what lies beyond the horizon. With their choice, the jury wanted to "acknowledge Mait Laas's virtuosity in dealing with different film techniques, in particular the wellthought out use of complex sound and image techniques."
Questions to the director:
Your animated film "Gene+Ratio" connect all the other films. It's amazing how you combined all these different techniques of animation in your film like cartoon, stop-motion or 3D-animation.
It was the idea to have all the techniques in the film, because they also represent different generations - generations of techniques in animation. But on the other hand it's not important which technique you use, it's important what you want to tell. We all are six different persons in the project so I used completely different techniques also to represent the idea of the project: different styles, but one story. To have all these techniques was also fascinating for me as a working process. Animation on his common base level is to bring soul into something. I like the animation as a possibility to bring life to something dead.
How big was the production team to realise these different styles?
In this case it was quite big, about twenty people were working on it. Especially the team in the stop-motion parts is comparable to a feature film. We have a Director of Photography, someone for the light, the studio crew and so on. The whole production was like a trip on a train. The train stops and some people are joining giving their energy on this trip and leave you two stations later where new people get in. The background and psychology of the people I'm working with is very different, and they inspired the whole project like the different colours of a rainbow. And it's always nice to see a rainbow in nature, isn't it?
Interview: Oliver Baumgarten, Chief editor of the film magazine "SCHNITT".