“As a director, I feel like I have to make films for myself, for children, for my family, with authentic stories. I want children to see films that make them love cinema, that tell their life and their emotions and who make people laugh,” Sarah Smith told SAPO Mag in a virtual Zoom interview about “Ron Dá Erro.”
The animated adventure, which hits theaters this Thursday, was born from the collaboration of the Briton (who also took on the role of co-writer and executive producer) with his compatriot Jean-Philippe Vine and the American Octavio E. Rodriguez, who also spoke to SAPO Mag about the experience of making a six-handed film. In the voices of the original version, we find stars such as Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Olivia Colman, Ed Helms, Justice Smith or Rob Delaney. Francisco Fonseca, Sabri Lucas, Martinho Silva, Maria de Aires, Henrique Gomes or Guilherme Macedo were some of the names that provided Portuguese dubbing.
“I want kids to get excited about movies like I did, with great cinematic experiences on the big screen, that’s where [os filmes] must be seen,” Smith points out. Fortunately for the directors – and also for the public – “Ron Dá Erro” is not limited to streaming screens, as it could have happened if it had been created in the most critical of the pandemic.deserves to be discovered only by the youngest.The story of little Barney and Ron, his B-bot (a device created to be your best friend), is a happy alliance of hearts, ideas and inspirational humor that appeals to viewers from 7 to 77, although it focuses on the youth universe and targets the youngest first.
“The original idea was to turn the iPad into an animated character, to explore the relationship between children and their technological equipment”, explains Smith. Although it has some features similar to an iPad, the B-bot is also a close relative of a robot and manages to mold itself to the personality and tastes of its owner. Or at least that’s what happens until Ron steps in without the proper security settings and is error prone.
From Mouton Choné to “a kind of broken clown”
Jean-Philippe Vine, whose resume includes projects at Pixar and Britain’s Aardman Studios, tells how Ron’s unruly side was right for most comedic scenes. And it echoes a popular animated series he was a director of. “‘Shame Sheep’ is purely visual comedy, there’s a lot of slapstick humor and observation. I love it and we tried to do a lot with the character of Ron, in particular, who’s kind of decomposed clown. [risos] and that opens up a lot of possibilities in approaching comedic timing, gags and ridiculous and funny situations.”
“We wanted to tell stories that were mostly about kids and the issues they face in today’s world. And ‘Ron Dá Erro’ is a lot about that, about friendship on social media and about everything that entails,” he said. “We’re all parents, on the creative team, and we didn’t grow up with cellphones or social media. Our kids are immersed in a different world and we’re trying to find a healthy way to deal with social media. .media and friendship.crucial to this story.”
Peter Baynham, who co-wrote the screenplay with Sarah Smith, points out that the ambition was “to make a fun film” rather than an “educational film that encourages children to put down their cell phones or iPads”. Especially because, according to the Briton (who wrote the screenplays for “Hotel Transylvania” or the adventures of Borat on the small and big screen) “these things are not going away, they are in our lives and have changed our world from a positive and sometimes frightening way”.
Sarah Smith adds that the team tried “to combine several points of view: those of the people responsible for the company that creates the technology, the children, ours… something that encourages the conversation of the family, rather than of us. say where to go.”
Locksmith animation, from the UK to the world
“Ron Dá Erro” is responsible for being the first feature film from Locksmith Animation, the UK’s first computer animation studio, established by Sarah Smith and Julie Lockhart in 2014. “We wanted to show that we can make movies of high quality CGI animation and competing with the big studios is a very small ambition [risos]. We have a lot of talent and a great creative community in London,” says Smith.
“We’re a small studio, but a lot of us have worked at big studios like Disney, Aardman, Lucasfilm… But despite that experience, it was a challenge trying to make a movie with a big story in a new company,” recalls Jean-Philippe Vine about this baptism which resulted from a co-production with 20th Century Studios.
Octavio Rodriguez points out that thanks to Locksmith Animation he can “tell rich and diverse stories, especially with British creators”. But she says she doesn’t forget the lessons of her time at Pixar (she was a host on “Coco” or “The Incredibles 2: Super-Heroes”), a storyteller with a strong focus “on the heart, emotions, and the impact they can have on the audience”, elements he tried to preserve in “Ron Dá Erro”.
Smith, who made his film debut ten years ago in ‘Arthur Christmas’ (alongside Barry Cook), considers creating an animated film “it’s a bit like a game of rugby”. “We have been attacked from all sides [risos]. There’s so much to deal with: convincing people to bet on it, setting the budget, Hollywood’s many changes…and we still have a global pandemic. Besides the fact that we have a studio in London making films like this for the first time. So we had to try to keep moving the ball around the pitch,” he recalled.
“I took lessons from ‘Arthur Christmas’ and got an idea of what audiences reacted to best. But after we did the first one, we tried to raise the bar,” he adds. .
Baynham argues that “every movie is a movie. And at the end of the process, you learn how to make that movie. Then there are more. We tried to make this one fun and refreshing.”
between home and school
“We started from this film of relations with our own families, so that everything seems credible and authentic”, says Jean-Philippe Vine. “Peter’s grandmother is Welsh and has a lot in common with the character of the protagonist’s grandmother,” he illustrates.
In addition to having technology at its center, “Ron Dá Erro” is a story of family affiliation. And the origins have an additional weight in the life of a protagonist of Russian origin, who tries to combine this cultural heritage with the daily life in a Western school. “Barney is a kid who’s a little ashamed of his family life. But during the journey he takes in the movie, he realizes that his family members are really cool. I’ve talked to friends who have lived with immigrants or children of immigrants, and how they have tried to figure out who they are, which can be quite a challenge.The film is about embracing the facets of your origins that make you who you are “, describes the director.
“When we grow up, we end up forming our tribes,” says Octavio Rodriguez. “And here the characters end up doing it by trying to survive on social media.” The scenario is however unfavorable to the protagonist, apart from the technological sphere. “It’s not that co-workers want to be mean to Barney, but digital interaction is a way for them to find their tribe and more people who love them and interact with them. When Barney looks at them, it seems that they all have lives. great, but they’re also trying to find their place.”
Despite this technological backwardness and the loneliness that grips the daily life of the protagonist, “Ron Dá Erro” avoids Manichaeism in the characterization of his colleagues, even if he seems to fall into it in the first scenes – deserves writing that interests the viewers. in the characters. “We love the characters and we hope they’ll be as good as we are. We’ve talked a lot about the possibility of short films with Ron or even a new story that continues this one, but it’s still open” , says Jean-Philippe Vine. .
Among the first spectators are the children of the creative team, and they are particularly demanding. “I think they’re going to be brutally honest [risos]. If we’ve done something that they think is outdated, I’m sure they’ll get my attention,” says the director. “I look forward to seeing you with them. I really want them to have the experience of seeing it in the cinema”, confesses Octavio Rodriguez. And from this Thursday it is also an experience in which Portuguese viewers will be able to take part…
TRAILER FOR “RON GIVES ERROR”: