Zuma is the trailer for the movie discovered in the deep archives of the Met Museum...or at least this was the seed for the idea behind this mythical film created by Sam Mason. Drawing from imagery inspired by Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov to Sun Ra to sci fi movies from the 1970s, Sam creates a world soaked in intrigue and wonder.
Obsessed with world-building, Sam Mason grew up inspired by artists such as Terry Gilliam, Jim Henson, and Yuri Norstein—auteurs known for creating unique and immersive worlds. His passion to create beautiful and fantastical landscapes embedded with secret languages landed him at Central Saint Martin's in London. His student short won the attention of many studios, not to mention a spot in that year's Annecy circuit.
It also led to his mentorship with acclaimed director Pete Candeland. This partnership launched his directing career on worldwide campaigns for Coke, Toyota, Mazda, and Honda as well as music videos with Sofi Tukker.
In terms of craft, Sam is always excited about applying a style of CG that reflects his lo-fi/hi-fi hybrid approach to making things. He prefers to utilize emerging technologies to apply a physicality and textured realness to his films. He especially likes to start with real objects and from there set up constraints that he can work within, like he did with his collaboration with Hugo Marie for Little Things, where they scoured vintage markets for objects that could ground the film.
With a romantic nod back to the textured details of the Baroque movement, to the reduced instincts of Bauhaus, Sam seeks to create a middle ground aesthetic—a style that straddles both animation and traditional film. The excitement around his methods is a continued push to find new ways of creating a moving painting. The undercurrent of his work is the desire to make something romantic and playful; not overly designed, yet rich with feeling and detail, and always rooted in history. In Sam's own words, his work is never cool but is always playing with the vulnerable.