Pedro Rivero is finally making animated fables for adults
Pedro Rivero has been working for more than twenty years in animation since his incursion on 1989 Basque cinema. He has won two Goya prizes for Goomer and Birdboy. After working in many projects for other companies on the 90’s, in his words “like a mercenary”, he recently finished working on the full-length adaptation of the Psiconautas graphic novel.
The 21th century also started depressing for leaving the mercenary jobs at the expense of a hard to sell movie called The Carnivorous Crisis. Being animated and for adults, Rivero doubted what he was doing and the film flopped, putting him into such a depression he couldn’t look directly to his son’s eyes. For a thug appeal, the movie was made in Flash with rogue voice actors and a script that repeated “son of a bitch” more than 70 times.
The eight years gap on The Carnivorous Crisis put Rivero in such a grief that Alberto Vazquez’s bibliography made him realize it had to adapt it. Psiconautas had a gluttonous plot for a movie, but was made into the Birdboy short film not to repeat mistakes and to obtain a stand-alone piece. Both authors met to develop a prequel of what could become a feature film for theatres.
Relating to a druggie bird
A psiconaut like Birdboy is a traveler of the mind, in words of Pedro Rivero, like going everyday to the bar. The short film won more than forty prizes and put both creators into the map and they didn’t doubt on spending the following years working in the expanded adaptation now that they could. Rivero highly criticizes live-action clichés like recording fast and emotionless flashbacks.
Birdboy starts with an explosion that kills every father of an island and corrupted their sons like The Carnivorous Crisis did to Rivero, in his own words. Animation is used for visual metaphors with woodland critters that live in a world made of lies. The color palette changes after the accident and represents the characters in their home not being part of a family.
Rivero and Vazquez use descriptive images instead of words because actions don’t cover the entire visual specter. Birdboy’s world is maintained on silence so the emotions can be shown without words “as a black legend”. The drama has some elements of dark comedy like trips and asshole cops without forgetting the character development which relies under the story.
Paradigmatic improvement over the source
To expand the story more than an hour long, Birdboy didn’t just take drugs as a passive character. His relationship with Dinky is in the foreground because animators really liked it. While the main plot was stated to be Dinky’s group trying to escape from the island and Birdboy maybe joining them. The novel could only cover fifty minutes of screentime, so the road became dangerous.
Psiconautas was conceived as a movie in 2010 thanks to the success of Birdboy, but started being made in 2013. Pedro Rivero defines cinema as a continuous experience that shouldn’t repeat the same story and thematically could use cultural transmission after the death.
Characters like Birdboy’s father were put instead of more flashbacks and every important character is described in the first act. The story is told in a single day with comedic relief by Reloggio. All the backstory was moved to the beginning so Rivero could work in the animatic and Vazquez in the storyboard at the same time. Too bookend, Birdboy is introduced trough a nightmare from the climax.