"It turns out there wasn’t a dud among this gaggle of submissions that came courtesy of American animator John Morena, who is self-taught and has worked in New York since 2000 doing an assortment of commissioned work including music videos, network promos, commercials and visual effects. Oh, and it also turns out that these 26 submissions were a mere pittance, as he actually made 52 films (yes, one for every week of the year) in 2017."
"In a way, the conceptual inspiration for the Evil Genius titles didn’t come from Morena’s head, but those of the show’s subjects. “I wanted to make it as if the bomb maker was making the graphics,” he explains. Therein came the natural opportunity to go analog, because the bomb maker was a hoarder and DIY tinkerer. Morena channeled that. “I wanted to approach it as if a non-professional was making it, or someone who was using clumsy technology."
"My family didn’t quite understand what the fuck I was doing. They also didn’t understand why someone would do all that work with no financial reward attached. “Oh ok… well that’s good. What else are you doing?” they said. Even some industry colleagues asked, “How did you broker the deal?” I laughed. “What deal?” They laughed too, then lost interest."
"Choosing an atypical platform also helped make Area 52 a unique project. People don’t release films on Instagram. I only know of one other show that was produced in 30-60 second bits just for Instagram. Everyone else gives you a sample size of a larger project and then directs you the link in their bio to watch the rest. I figured, folks are already in the feed and are going to watch your film if they know it’s convenient and a small time investment."
"We first featured talented animator John Morena on DN back in April with his year-long experimental Instagram project Area 52, John now rejoins us to talk about his new spellbinding music video The Drought for Ryan Chernin. I caught up with John to discover how he seduced and manipulated the essence of the song into a video which pulls your heartstrings, becoming increasingly addictive and enticing with every watch."
And the most peculiar surprise, and possibly sets a record for all festival participations: Experimental US artist John Morena (US) competes with 5 (!) films in the official short film competition: Best Laid Plans, Dicks, Freedom from Fear, Slurred, String of Sound. Morena has another film ( Home: A Portrait of New York City) in the off-limits competition, making his total Annecy participation to 6 films overall. Most of them are films from the collection of 52 films he made during 2017.