SENSOLOGY - 6 minutes - Canada/USA 2010 - Produced and Directed by Michel Gagné - Music by Paul Plimley and Barry Guy

Back in June 2006, Nancy and I were invited to the Vancouver International Jazz Festival by Coastal Jazz's manager of artistic programming, the amazing Rainbow Robert. That's where I heard piano improvisor, Paul Plimley for the first time. As Paul played, I closed my eyes and had an intense synesthetic experience. When the show ended, I immediately started feeling a compulsion to express in animation what I had just experienced. I shared my thoughts with Rainbow and to my delight, she said to me, "That's why I brought you here, I was hoping you'd say that!"

I've wanted to do an abstract animated film ever since I discovered the work of Oscar Fischinger, Norman Mclaren, Kandinsky, Yves Tanguy and many others. I knew that Paul's music, was the perfect catalyst to get started on such a project.

Upon returning to my studio, I immediately got a hold of several musical pieces by Paul and started experimenting with animation. After a few weeks of trial and error, I started animating a musical triptych from the album, "Sensology": a brilliant duo with bassist Bary Guy, which was recorded on November 9th, 1995, at the Western Front in Vancouver, Canada

The creation of this film was a true spiritual and artistic journey. Sometimes, I felt like I was channeling the images. I did no storyboards and virtually no preliminary work. I animated in a stream of consciousness, one frame at a time at a rate of 30 frames per second. The shapes revealed themselves as I listened to the music over and over again. The process was intensely focused and required large amount of concentration. I was becoming part of the music and expressing my creativity at its rawest and most primal. Like Kandinski tought us, every shape and sound has a equal vibration in the soul. When Paul Plimley saw a portion of the film for the first time, he said to me with tears in his eyes, "It's like you read my soul."

Sensology was handdrawn (painted) with a Wacon tablet at first, and later, a Cintiq, using Adobe Photoshop. The drawings and frames were then composited and manipulated in a 2D software called Animo. There is no vector animation at any point in the film.

A 9-second teaser of Sensology was posted on line in the Fall of 2006 and resulted in Pixar contacting me to do the abstract taste visualization for the film Ratatouille.

Sensology was completed in July, 2010. It premiered in Los Angeles at the Laemmle's Fallbrook 7 in West Hills, CA on July 30th, 2010, where it was shown for three consecutive days.



Click here to read an article/interview about Sensology that was published in India's Animation Reporter in February 2011.


On December 1st, 2010, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued the following press release:

Beverly Hills, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 animated short films will advance in the voting process for the 83rd Academy Awards®. Thirty-three pictures had originally qualified in the category.

The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company:

The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger, Bill Plympton, director (Bill Plympton Studio)

Coyote Falls, Matthew O’Callaghan, director and Sam Register, executive producer (Warner Bros. Animation Inc.)

Day & Night, Teddy Newton, director (Pixar Animation Studios)

The Gruffalo, Jakob Schuh and Max Lang, directors (Magic Light Pictures)

Let’s Pollute, Geefwee Boedoe, story-design-animation (Geefwee Boedoe)

The Lost Thing, Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann, directors (Passion Pictures Australia)

Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary),” Bastien Dubois, director (Sacrebleu Productions)

Sensology, Michel Gagne, director-producer (GAGNE International LLC)

The Silence beneath the Bark, Joanna Lurie, director (Lardux Films)

Urs, Moritz Mayerhofer, director (Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg)

The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting in screenings held in New York and Los Angeles.  

Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will now select three to five nominees from among the 10 titles on the shortlist. Branch screenings will be held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in January 2011.

The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.