"Anka" is my first film, directed for my senior project at Savannah College of Art and Design. The film is a retelling of the phoenix myth that draws elements from Russian, Persian, and Greek versions of the story. The name itself derives from the Persian myths of the simurgh or angha.
Anka was envisioned as a sturdy, but old man. His chief strength is his determinination and stubbornness, though the events of the film challenge his narrow world view.
Anka went through several different designs in early stages. Because the film was inspired by a multitude of cultures, I felt strongly that he needed to pull elements from each of them. He is a bit of a chimera, drawing elements from Russia, Mongolia, and Nepal. The film was also inspired by American Westerns, so in early concepts I often envisioned him as a Sam Elliott type character. That remains the source of his mustache and prominent nose.
The mountain in the film is almost a character in and of itself, acting as an antagonist rather than just a stage. Still, because on of the main themes of the film is the beauty of the sublime, I wanted to make it appealing as well as steep and dangerous.
ART DIRECTION AND REFERENCE
My chief source of inspiration for the mountain in Anka was the Hindu Kush range in Pakistan. I wanted both a very sharp, desolate look for the setting, particularly given the film's theme of death. Early inspiration for the color palette came from Brother Bear, but I felt that it was necessary to make it warmer for a desert setting. Some of the influence remains, however, in the color shift at night.