Interview: A Town Called Panic’s Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar
Absurdists at heart, Belgian animators Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar have spent two decades perfecting their hilariously antic brand of fantastic, faux-naïve humor. After graduating from La Cambre, the School of Visual Arts in Brussels, the duo created a popular hand-animated series entitled Pic Pic Andre Shoow, about the adventures of a magic pig and an evil, beer-swilling horse, which first debuted as an award-winning short film in 1988, and was then expanded into a three-part festival fave. In 2000, the pair decided to revisit a stop-motion short Aubier had made as his graduation film, using the most rudimentary materials at hand: papier-mâché sets and generic, mass-produced plastic figurines (cowboys, Indians, farm animals). The pair set to work on “The Cake,” the pilot episode in their much-beloved TV series, A Town Called Panic, produced and co-written by Vincent Tavier (Calvaire). Originally aired on Canal Plus, the zany five-minute shorts engendered a cult following across Francophone Europe, finding a new audience on Nickelodeon U.K. when Wallace and Gromit distributor Aardman stepped up to dub them into English. The entire series was released on DVD in 2005.