Digital Kitchen: Seattle International Film Festival 2009


Reprising last year’s hilarious work for the Seattle International Film Festival, Digital Kitchen has again teamed up again with SIFF films to create a brilliantly inventive trailer and commercial.

This year’s rendition builds on audio sampled from previous SIFF films to create a disjointed steam-of-consciousness narrative. The visuals are lush, jewel-toned dreams rendered by hand in acetate, paper cut out and ferns(!). I only wish I could see this on the big screen.

2009 is really shaping up to be the year of analogue. Digital post-production finishing adds layers of needed polish, but analoge animation techniques are really experiencing a renaissance. Fun times!

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About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



i hate to be “that guy” again, but someone ought to…



maybe i am missing something but besides both of them being silhouette animation, i dont see any similarities…

i mean all of it basically looks alike…


right ocelot – the silhouette technique traces directly back to the german artist lotte reiniger – her 1926 film ‘the adventures of prince achmed’ is a real treat for those who have yet to see it.


you guys don’t have to tell me that shadow puppetry existed before the zune piece. but honestly, some of the background textures in this DK piece look as though they were the same exact textures.

not sure i’m buying it.



The background textures look to me like the sort of texture you get when you use wet acetate. DK has been using that technique since before most of had ever even heard the phrase motion design. I think the tone of the spot is completely different. What’s with all the animosity every time dk posts a new piece?

This is a great piece and the people who worked on it should feel good about it. I I love that weird big head, and the transitions are unexpected. Nice work.


it actually all comes from this:

very cool spot nonetheless.


beaten to it by holland_oats. sorry…


Don’t let Ryan fool you he is always looking to be “that guy”. He has a grudge he can’t ket go of. DK did all of this from scratch. They even built the animation stations used to do the stop motion. Any similarities are in technique only. I think they turned out beautifully.


i appreciate the process, and it’s not a bad spot.

nonetheless i still stand by my derivation comment. sorry. you are free to disagree, but don’t pretend to know what grudges i have, or animosity.

just calling it how i see it. the spots are similar, and it’s sort of foolish to think not.

and i’ll bet that at least two of you above are on DK’s payroll, the first being seasavagery. so we’re all biased then, aren’t we?




All are entitled to their opinion Ryan. I just think it is an insult to the people that worked late nights and weekends on this spot to insinuate that it was taken from another spot someone else did. On the same basis I shouldn’t “pretend to know about grudges” perhaps you should not pretend to know the creative process that many went through during production of this spot. So yes, we will agree to disagree. Have a nice Day. :)

I agree with Boolis, awesome unexpected transitions and great tone throughout. Somewhat has a Jamie Caliri feel to it as well. Great work guys!


what does the process of doing this job have to do with the end result? don’t confuse the two.

just calling it how i see it. it’s a very similar vibe, you’d be hard pressed to objectively disagree with me, and i stress objectively.



nice visuals. would be curious to see some of the acetate behind the scenes.

Marc B.

Reminds me of Apple’s “I’m a PC” ad with the silhouettes.


Funny you should mention that rothermel. I believe there will be an opportunity to see some behind the scenes stuff soon. I know they documented everything during production. I will give you a shout out when something becomes available!


nice spot. saw this on the website yesterday and thought “I’ll bet this pops up on motionographer tomorrow”

If I ever do something that gets posted here, I will be elated and equally terrified that it might look like something else out there.

DISCLOSURE: I was the agency CD on this project.

The inspiration was The Adventures of Prince Achmed and I imagine that’s where the similarity to the zune piece begins and ends.

Conceptually these are worlds apart. DK did a great job taking our idea of FIND and creating an intriguing narrative and look. They work hand in hand with out creative team to nail down a script and then worked tirelessly to piece together the audio and animate to it. It’s not just a music video.

Not to knock the zune piece, because I think it’s pretty cool, but executionally it looks like an animatic compared to the SIFF trailer. There is a richness and depth that could only be achieved using the hands-on techniques DK employed. So how it was done definitely matters in the final result.

Hats off to our partners at DK. We hope to continue to work with such a talented group of folks.


world’s apart? no, friday the 13th and marley & me are worlds apart. the zune piece and this siff open are in the same bedroom, if not sharing a pillow in the same bed.

still don’t think so?



why b/c you put 4 colored frames in the same spot next to each other with the same 4 people commenting on every post? Truly you must be on to something…show me something that is completely new and I will show you something that inspired it. Here let me put this neosporin and band-aid on for you and you can go back out and play with the rest of the kids…

He that is not jealous is not in love. ~St. Augustine


aww, you’re cute. neosporin, that’s hilarious.

oh and yes, precisely because i put 4 frames with the same palette and overlapping themes. this spot is a derivation of a derivation and too close for me not to comment.

still, it’s um nice… i guess?



regarding your animatic vs. final product comment on the zune piece. i think that might be your bias coming through. i don’t see any issues with the finish of the former, other than its intentional lo-fi aesthetic. both techniques work very well for me. my problem is mostly in the aesthetic similarities to THESE TWO PIECES. not the source derivation of prince and achmed, which only makes it less inspired than i had originally assumed.

it’s not that hard to come up with a good idea, especially when you’re equipped with the type of talent that DK has been. i hope they begin to take these criticism to heart and push themselves to make these ideas their own moreso.



ryann dunn. go to your room, until you learn to behave.


Yes, I agree Ryan should be grounded for a while :)

At least he is speaking his mind. Even though its kind of silly.

All of this makes me think of that Mark Twain quote:

“Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.”

To me this style/technique has become like a language that one can speak in animation, a beautiful one… and although I also love to see new techniques and treatments I wouldn’t mind if any of you peeps made a hundred more in this style. The differences in the illustration and characters are enough.

mmm, If I had to be critical I’ll say (not that I can do better) but I do think that there are slight moments in some of the transitions where there is a digital feeling as opposed to the handcrafted analogue (not sure if that is the right word) one? Like where things might look like they are scaling or fading too smoothly between the colours. You just become aware that this went through a computer and a fair amount of compositing. Perhaps they just did too good a job of it in analogue.


Emulating classics like “The Adventures of Prince Achmed” blended with a “creature comforts” like audio track doesn’t necessarily make this inventive.
Quoting great animators from 1926 and present day does seem to constitute the prestige of being inventive, just knowledgeable and talented.

Are you referring to Nick Park’s Creature Comforts? Really? That makes not a lick of sense.

And I guess Coraline is just a sad retread of Davey & Goliath?

And remember, this is for a Film Festival! We didn’t “quote” out of a lack of creativity but as part of a conceptual effort to appeal to our film-centric audience. It, combined with the audio grabs, was meant to add another layer of FIND to the communication.


wow…. lol guess I hit a nerve :) Lack of creativity was not mentioned, just the use of the term inventive. I also mentioned it shows talent and knowledge. I guess unless we swoon over how amazing it is, a healthy critique can’t be tolerated?
It’s good, very good… that’s not the point. Not inventive does not mean bad. It’s just not inventive. Chill out.
By the way that Coraline comment is so off base it’s laughable. As far as Mise-en-scène goes Coraline looks nothing like Davey and Goliath. But this piece is almost verbatim Prince Achmed. You can’t deny that.
I’m also willing to bet, the audience you want to “communicate” to will most likely see this as an homage to prince Achmed. Where’s the problem? Too sensitive man…

My Coraline/Davey comment was meant to illustrate the way it easy to try to simplify critique into these narrow definitions of originality. It was meant to be laughable. “How can stop motion be inventive? It’s claymation. It’s been done before. Bla, bla,bla.”

I’m not a motionographer/animator, but in my opinion (and it is certainly subjective) is that what DK did was inventive. They went well beyond just mimicry. Homage? Yes. “almost verbatim” I’d disagree.


Well at least we’re back in the realm of a real critique. I guess we’ll have to just disagree. One thing though…
I fail to understand how medium, in this case stop-motion, (there is no such thing as claymation) that’s like calling tissues Kleenex, has anything to do with something looking alike in style and feel (Mise-en-scène ). I think what I said is not taken in the proper context, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I didn’t simplify critique, I actually critiqued and to anyone who has the knowledge required to do so would not have been so offended.
Have you seen Prince Achmed? If you have, it’d be really hard to argue that the “look and feel” are not almost the same. but oh well. I guess your right, isn’t everybody when it comes to critiques? :)


i like it when people make super critical comments but end with a smiley face :) :) :) :) :) :)

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