Andersen’s research for Going West aimed to reinvent and advance paper animation through a cinematic lens. Commissioned to promote the reading of books by advertising agency BBDO for the New Zealand Book Council, Andersen selected the book Going West by New Zealand fiction writer Maurice Gee as the subject of the film. He was given 12 months to research, create and construct the two-minute animation, and to develop new ways to capture the imagination and experiences of reading.
The first experiments Andersen undertook in paper animation were a series of 20-second clips promoting the Classical Season for the Southbank Centre, the technical forerunner to many of the craft, photographic and lighting techniques and sequences later drawn together for his Going West. Researching the stop-frame animation techniques, the crafting of the effects, and the storyboard, voice and soundtrack, Andersen aimed to create and animate the experience of reading the book and a vignette of the story using animation, narrative and storytelling devices.
For the final work Andersen had an oversized version of the book made, into which the three-dimensional paper scenes were cut by hand and 3,000 still images taken, from which the final film was constructed. The final two-minute film, although created as a stop-frame animation, draws heavily on cinematic traditions for its sequencing and direction, and was made without CGI or computer filters, thereby preserving its handmade quality. The entire animation was crafted using only 10A scalpel blades and paper. It was photographed on two SLR cameras and lit using Dedo lights.
Nominated 28 times, Going West has won 14 international awards: