In the harshness of midwinter, a trapper with his dog struggles to survive crossing the Canadian Yukon. ‘To Build a Fire’ is a beautifully animated adaptation of Jack London’s famous short novel. It was released in 2016 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the author’s death. Directed by Fx Goby and co-produced by Nexus Studios and Composite Films, the short has attended over 100 festivals, collecting around 20 awards including the Grand Prize at The Rhode Island Film Festival. In December 2017, the short was released online exclusively on Vimeo.
Fx Goby was obsessed with the short novel since a teenager and waited for an opportunity to turn that into a film. Fx studied animation at Supinfocom in Valenciennes, France. After living in Paris for three years the filmmaker moved to London joining Nexus Studios. There, he directed several commercials, music videos and a live-action short film. With a little push and a kick from his friend Samuel François-Steininger, founder of Composite Films, Fx picked up the book that had made such an impact on him as a teenager and began storyboarding.
The result of Fx’s and the team’s work is a refined telling of the tragic tale. Told in a palette of whites, greys, and blues the super-wide aspect ratio plants you dead center of the vast snow-covered landscape. The trapper appears for the first time as just a grey spec on screen, making it painfully clear the scale of his journey ahead. The vastness is reiterated throughout with the trapper and his dog occupying only a small portion of the frame. In place of dialogue or narration, the music composed by Mathieu Alvado, and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, fully expresses the mood and emotions of our ill-fated protagonist.
You can read more about the animated human nature vs. Mother Nature over on Vimeo’s blog
Animation Company: Nexus Studios
Directors: Fx Goby
Producer: Samuel François-Steininger
Co-Producer: Charlotte Bavasso and Chris O’Reilly
Composer: Mathieu Alvado
Full credits here