Imagine two friends who knew each other for 18 years. Together, they studied at the Lodz Film School. Together, they joined Platige Image, where they’re still enjoying new challenges after 12 years. Two directors whose career started with a surreal sci-fi film that up to this day, so many years after the premiere, creates more questions than answers. Meet Kuba Jabłoński and Bartek Kik.
TEACHING INFINITY, OR STRANGE CREATIONS
The youthful ambition and imagination of Kuba and Bartek led to the creation of a film that never stops intriguing. Teaching Infinity is a kaleidoscope of events, where the viewer never knows what to expect next.
„We didn’t have any specific inspirations. Our film is surreal, but somewhere, deep under the layer of abstraction, there’s a story about the fact that looking for answers to metaphysical questions is a never-ending struggle. And that, sometimes, the thing we’re looking is near, and has always been,” Kuba explains.
The world of Teaching Infinity is a rich palette of oddities. One of the characters is an unusually looking, surreal creature. However, the inspiration for his image was quite trivial.
“I myself am an owner of a huge nose. This might have been the only tangible inspiration for this animation, because one of the characters also has a sizeable nose, or rather two,” Kuba laughs.
One could write an essay about Teaching Infinity and still only scratch the surface, because there are no words to describe its weirdness. It’s a story of a space castaway who finds himself in a strange world. Even today you can find numerous interpretations of the story online. Some of them diverge from the creators’ original intentions, while others seem quite accurate.
“Among the numerous comments from the confused viewers of our animation, we’ve found one interpretation that’s very close to our own. Interestingly enough, it’s a very long essay, but it explains the essence of the film better than we’d ever have done it ourselves,” says Bartek.
THE MAGNIFICENT TWO
There weren’t many famous directorial duos in the history of cinema. Two people who can complement each other and realize a cohesive vision are a rare phenomenon. “Too many cooks spoil the broth” checks out in art, and especially in movie production. But not in Kuba and Bartek’s case.
“Sometimes I think there’s no place for democracy in art, but this isn’t a realistic approach. In order to build anything together, you need to be able to find compromises. The abstract nature of our film made it possible for us to go crazy together. I think that traditional narratives, where everything has to be clearly communicated, call for a more strict chain of command,” explains Kuba.
“There were no silent treatment,” he adds, smiling.
Teaching Infinity became a ticket to a fruitful career for both filmmakers. Even before graduating from college, they started to work at Platige Image, the studio that supported their animation. And even today they work in the same office.
SUCCESSES THAT FOLLOWED
The creativity and infinite imagination of Kuba and Bartek found an outlet in their next projects. Together, at Platige Image, they directed numerous cinematics for famous gaming brands, including the Total War series, Prey, Frostpunk, Skull&Bones, and Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2. Both have also worked on many animated and short films. Kuba handled the art direction for the award-wining Cinematograph by Tomek Bagiński, the director of The Cathedral and Fallen Art.
“I started working on Cinematograph while finishing Teaching Infinity. I used to come back from film school after animating my graduation film, only to sit at my home computer and draw the designs for Tomek’s movie. During my work on Cinematograph I managed to paint dozens of character designs, costumes, machines and set elements in a particularly distinctive style, which then was accurately transferred into 3D,” Kuba recalls.
The award-winning short wasn’t just another success for Tomek Bagiński. It also gave a boost to Kuba’s career.
Learn more about Cinematograph and how it was made HERE
Bartek Kik, on the other hand, recently had a chance to direct the short animated film The Old Ways in Stories from the Outlands series, created to enrich the universe of Apex Legends, a hit game by Electronic Arts. This was the second time Platige Image realized an episode of the series. Translating such an important and well known world to another medium was a huge challenge.
“To me, The Old Ways was primarily an opportunity to work on a professional motion capture stage with the biggest talents in the business. It was the quintessence of what’s fun about this industry. I’d like to get more chances like this in the future,” says Bartek, excited.
The short film was given praise by the audience. Within a single day it was viewed 3 million times on YouTube.
WHAT ARE THEIR BIGGEST DREAMS AND PLANS?
Both directors keep working together in Platige Image. Their friendship continues, and we can’t wait to see their new projects.\
“It’s simple: to direct a feature-length animated film,” answers Bartek.
“To waste hundreds of millions of dollars on an unnecessary surreal sci-fi movie,” says Kuba.
The dreams of both directors have a common denominator, so we’re hoping to see another bold and innovative project from the duo.
For now, thanks to the third edition of Platige Originals: LONG STORY SHORTS, titled Imagine Other Worlds, everyone can watch Teaching Infinity on our Vimeo channel. It’s a wonderful occasion to catch up with the work of two insanely talented directors. The premiere coincides with the re-release of Cinematograph, directed by Tomek Bagiński.
We also invite you to join us on our YouTube channel on June 18th, where Kuba Jabłoński and Bartek Kik will host a live stream and answer your questions.
What would you like to ask them? Send your questions until June 18th to firstname.lastname@example.org.