Animation and documentaries break ground for an indie furry film scene.
by Patch O'Furr
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I am excited to present #TheFandom official release trailer! The series will comprise of 7 episodes over the next couple months featuring some of artists and creators the help our community to thrive.
— Ash Coyote (@AshCoyote) March 16, 2019
Hollywood favors big-budget explosion-based movies. For small indie makers, the epic approach doesn’t seem like an easy path to getting support. Instead, those in furry fandom might go for niche, weird and being real. Think of artists with bedroom studios. Think of high furry talent at low fandom cost. Think of making documentary with ingredients already available, like costumes worth millions in show-value, and a cast that needs no practice to feature their passion. There’s so much raw energy here waiting to come out.
With documentary, excitement is rising for The Fandom, a series in the works from Ash Coyote, Chip Fox and Eric Risher. (The first episode is out on March 22). Ash’s co-director and editor, Eric “Ash” Risher (Furryfilmmaker) already made a well-received documentary and won a regional Emmy. At this point in fandom growth, such projects seem viable to go wider. Furries have recently risen to pro Youtuber status with 100k+ subscriber channels. (Call them “pro-fans”, which may be a unique status for this kind of grassroots fandom). Meanwhile a CNN news feature earned good mainstream notice, and furries spawned two good feature films; Fursonas won an award at the Slamdance festival and Rukus screened at SXSW. And for the first time in 2019, a furry film fest is coming to Utah (an idea I’ve been wanting to see for years).
That list is a taste of something bigger. Here’s a chat about it between me, Chip, Aarkay (of Youtube series Culturally F’d), and Dralen (founder of the monthly Howl Toronto dance party). We started with questions about Chip and Ash’s series – what are the goals for it?
As a producer I’ve put a lot of money into it, but we really need the fandom’s support as well to make it into something even better. It’s taken since January to edit the mini-series. We’ll be working on a feature film for the second part. I’d like to make it Netflix ready, but it depends on fandom funding.
What does getting on Netflix entail?
Generally all the requirements of a Hollywood film, including cinema cameras and equipment, but with more precise quality controls than most studios. We’ve worked on large productions before, so it isn’t new to us, but the expenses and quality controls make it pretty difficult to achieve. Netflix is trying to outdo Hollywood, so they’ve been rapidly upping requirements.
I can see why they’d put a big barrier to entry to reach that level, and it’s always been hard to break in to show business. With all the expense of reaching high, what do you think about getting your project funded or sponsored or sold or something?
After some furs felt left out from the CNN feature and the desperation for mainstream furry content, we thought the only way to do it well was to do it as furries ourselves. We’d like to do a crowdfunding campaign, but it depends on how well furs like the initial docu-series. We’re going to be shooting it before approaching a streaming platform. We’ve each worked on many other films, but Ash, Eric (FurryFilmmaker) and I haven’t done a project together, so streaming services can’t really take us at our word without something to show. That’s why funding is so important.
This makes me think about who are things for. Making stuff for fandom is awesome but hits limits fast… it matters to work within limits or with certain content to get a lot of mileage. It makes me see potential in furries making independent animation. Imagine an animated TV series (like an Adult Swim type thing) or a small but gutsy movie made by furries for mainstream distribution.
Heavy Metal but yiffy.
Or gritty Ralph Bakshi style.
Without the racism and homophobia.
We’ve been learning animation with digital puppets because we’d like to try that for fun at least. That idea reminds me of Liquid TV with various animators all working together.
We need creators like the guy who made Nova Seed. I’d love to direct a modern queer furry animated feature in the format of Heavy Metal with different segments showcasing different artists, but carrying a similar theme.
Hell yeah, inject that right in my veins. I’m aware of two indie 2D animated features in the works for a long time with serious intent to finish, both furry-interest. The director making Dawgtown is a trooper, he keeps making progress. And Michel Gagne (Pixar artist, was Anthrocon GOH way back) has a super active career so his movie The Saga of Rex is very stop/start but I believe it will happen.
Those are the most furry-adjacent real projects I know. I might need to see if more have come out in the last few years. For stuff direct from fandom, what would go in an article like “a look at furry animation”? Porn counts I think, even if separated from other stuff we could talk about.
It’s a broad pool to draw from. Artists like Jib Kodi, Fnook, Meesh, Fuzzamorous, Hors3, Klongi, and others are doing great animation work already. (To be fair, a lot is small animated porn clips… but they’re good). Here’s a nice SFW short.
After many months of hard work I present to you, Vending Machine
A film about hot beverages, lizard baristas, and facing your fears~https://t.co/Fk7R6sif2t
— Luke the Fattienite (@FattyDragonite) January 12, 2019
Anyone remember Wolf Movie, the furry attempt to make a feature? (I read about it in the early 2000’s, it seemed pipedream but gotta love vision.) And this happened in the dark age when I wasn’t looking at furry stuff for years – Kaze: Ghost Warrior. Apparently it had technical achievement. Reaching for epic style isn’t my taste though, see also the Bitter Lake feature… I prefer gonzo or quirky stories if they have to work with low budgets and outsiderness.
Those were huge things at every furmeet I went to at the time. People brought back previews from cons around 2001-2004.
There were also these (NSFW warning for Meesh’s):
Forgot that we can post the animation directly to twitter! I helped with the art direction and keyframes, @fuzzamorous nailed the inbetweens and cleanup and @CosmicScraps did the backgrounds! Thanks so much to James and Polaris for financing the project! pic.twitter.com/wpxhktytfy
— 🔞 Meesh (@Mushymeesh) October 17, 2018
Impressive for porn (I hate when people go “that’s unrealistic” but taking a dick can take effort and knots aren’t supposed to pop in and out, haha.)
For wholesome stuff, here was my interviews with Jib Kodi and Adler Eagle – who especially caught my eye for doing stuff with lots of appeal. Who else is working on a level that could break out as an indie thing with persistence?
Animation is where I would most love to see this kind of growth, but don’t forget music videos (a topic for another article.)