Four brothers from the Slocan Valley have been garnering attention for their short films.
Nathan, Jon, Heath and Thomas Affolter founded Affolter Entertainment in Vancouver in 2006 after they’d all finished with their studies.
Their first project was making the music video “Soldier” with Shawn Hook (Hlookoff), who they grew up with. Since then, their short films have won or been nominated for over 60 awards — the latest of which is the top award for Telus STORYHIVE’s first ever animation edition.
STORYHIVE offers the opportunity for local creators in Western Canada (B.C. and Alberta) to apply for production grants to produce their videos. The STORYHIVE community then votes to decide which projects get funding and distribution on Optik Local via Telus Optik TV on Demand.
“It’s a really great opportunity for independent and young filmmakers to get to produce their vision,” says Jon. “Telus STORYHIVE, they’re really supportive of young filmmakers and very hands-off and let the creators kind of produce their vision as they see fit.”
“It’s great for people all over the province — both Alberta and B.C. — it’s not just for people who are in Vancouver,” adds Heath.
The competition was so tight for the first animation edition that two first place winners were chosen — S.O.S. by Alain Williams, also from B.C., and Soggy Flakes by the Affolter Bros.
The brothers got the idea for the stop-motion short from a news article.
“It was from a newspaper article that we read that was saying that Kellogg’s, because sales have dropped so much from the health craze of people trying to go sugar-free and gluten-free and all that, that they were considering getting into other avenues of food preparation and they were talking about possibly getting into the dog food industry,” explains Heath. “And we thought that was hilarious.”
The brothers then imagined a world where cereal mascots had lost their jobs, which became Soggy Flakes.
While the brothers have produced live action and animated shorts — Nathan and Jon are both trained in animation and Heath and Thomas are both trained in film — stop motion gives them a chance to use all of their talents.
As finalists for the STORYHIVE animation edition, the brothers received $10,000 to produce Soggy Flakes and now that they’ve won, the short will be available via TELUS Optik TV on Demand, but the brothers will also receive customized career training leading up to their attendance of the 2017 Ottawa International Animation Festival in September.
In anticipation of that event, the brothers have also begun working on pitches.
“Right now we are developing some new ideas and pitches to take to the Ottawa Animation Festival and to any companies that are looking for new ideas,” says Nathan. “Most of the projects are TV and film ideas and we have a variety of different types from live action to 2D animation to stop motion as well.”
You can watch more work by the Affolter brothers on their YouTube channel, Comedy Blender.