Kickstart Rainbow Bird

Brian Young is a 2009 Sundance Institute Native Lab Fellow and is using Kickstarter to help fund his new animated short film, Rainbow Bird. Click here to help the campaign reach its goal.

Ice crusted planes of glass prevent the outside snow flurries from covering my face. The neighbor’s Christmas decorations erupt into bright life then diminish into silent shadows. It’s barely Thanksgiving but they leave their decorations on year-round. My older brother, my older sister, and I sip hot chocolate while my mother recounts ageless Coyote stories that can only be told during the winter while bugs and certain animals are deep in hibernation.

Such is the setting of how I became familiar with my traditional stories.

I wouldn’t become familiar with filmmaking until my sophomore year at Yale University. It wasn’t until I helped one of my friend’s on his film as a production assistant that I fell in love with filmmaking. Since then, I’ve helped on countless more student productions and have written several feature-length scripts and a few short scripts.

Rainbow Bird is one of the more recent short scripts. Rainbow Bird dwells within the realm of Navajo Mythology and the Creation Stories. It tells how the birds came to be the colors they are today and about how one bird, in particular, went on a quest to gather all the colors of the rainbow. It also explains what became of that bird and the colors she acquired.

To tell the story of Rainbow Bird, I draw on a lot of inspirations. Talking specifically film, I want to capture the visual aesthetics of the wonderfully vibrant worlds of A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life. I believe the blend of live action and cartoon would really breathe life into this realm of Navajo mythology. I am no stranger to producing this quality of animation as I am currently finishing up animating a short film: The Lady and the Eagle. The lessons that I have learned while working on The Lady and the Eagle will be applied to Rainbow Bird.

To tell this story, I plan on using costumed dancers. For instance, Eagle Dancers don eagle costumes to dance and tell their story. So, in that fashion, the bird characters will don costumes inspired by said dancers. To really flesh out the animal movements, I will be having dancers portray the animal characters. All of these choices were made to honor the traditional stories from which they originate.

The time consuming animation, the dancers, the costumes, all add up to one whopping $9,500.00.

We’ve had a soft start, which means there is still time for you to be a part of this really wonderful and unique film project. We have some amazing rewards for those who do decide to contribute financially, so please check out the Kickstarter page here. I’ve also posted some of my animation within the update video and a story trailer for The Lady and the Eagle.

Every little bit helps even if it is just mentioning it on Facebook. So, join us in creating this amazing story and helping it come to fruition!

Lead photo: