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Using their time wisely

September 12, 2007|By Rachel Kane

About six months ago, two filmmakers, one from Hollywood and the other from Glendale, gave up their beds for a vision.

Brian Lo Schiavo, 29, of Glendale, and Robyn Yannoulos, 27, of Hollywood, used Yannoulos’ bedroom as the stage for their hand-drawn and stop-motion-animated film, “Africa Parting.”

“We shot in a room that was maybe a little bit bigger than this tent,” Schiavo said, standing in front of the Burbank AMC Town Center 6 under a tent no wider than a small walk-in closet.

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“With two cats running around,” he said.

The film, which played Saturday afternoon in Burbank at the 11th annual L.A. Shorts Fest, is about the lives of people in post-apartheid South Africa and how their identities change.

Pretty heavy stuff that was close to Yannoulos’ heart. She grew up in South Africa during apartheid and was still there when it ended in 1994.

The 8-minute film took the duo about a year to complete and kept them up into the early morning many a day.

“We were shooting until like 2 or 3 in the morning and then getting up and shooting again,” Schiavo said.

The story is told through the movements of a skeleton with long, fluid fingers and a bird cage for a chest.

He rips through the pages of a book titled “Africa Parting” that reveal the horrors of the apartheid, a harsh system of South African segregation that lasted in the country for 46 years.

Both filmmakers had experience with film and art, and Schiavo works as a layout designer at Rough Draft Studios in Glendale on the animated show “Futurama.”

Both are students in the Masters of Film Animation program at UCLA, and “Africa Parting” was more a labor of love than a conduit into the film business, they said.

“Africa Parting” has been shown in a dozen film festivals and has traveled as far as Australia.

“The film has traveled more than us,” Schiavo said.

The film was named Official Selection at the 2007 SlamDance Film Festival, the Byron Bay Film Festival and the Arizona Film Festival.

Its latest stop at the L.A. Shorts Fest marks its first time being shown in Burbank, but Schiavo and Yannoulos are confident it won’t stop there.

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