Claire & The Keys plays to festival audiences around the world

July 19, 2016

Claire & The Keys was over five years in the making. The 20-minute animated short film, directed and animated by John Ludwick, tells the story of a little girl who re-discovers her love of music – against her mother’s wishes.


After final story and character development, audio pre-production began three years ago with the recording of nine classical piano pieces – performed by pianist Debbie Myers and recorded by Earshot’s Brice Bowman. Lawrence Central High School Performing Arts provided a nine-foot Steinway grand piano and auditorium for the recording. The session also included video recording of Debbie’s hands as she played, so that John could accurately animate the finger movement.


John Ludwick, who teaches Storyboarding at Ball State University, then began several years of work creating 29,000 individually hand-drawn cells of animation, which brought Claire and the other characters in the film to life.


A host of other animators and artists created 2D and 3D backgrounds, where the animated characters would live. Other artists spent hundreds of hours filling in the colors between the lines for each character.


After the animation was complete, audio post-production began at Earshot Audiopost in the Fall of 2014. Since the story contained no dialog, the audio story had to be told with the classical piano pieces, sound effects, Foley, and an original music score. Brice Bowman created the sound design, utilizing the talents of the Earshot Foley Crew – Ben Ericsen, Mina Keohane, and Rick Such.


The final piece to the puzzle was the original score – composed by Earshot’s Mina Keohane. Featuring an amazing group of Indianapolis musicians, the score featured a jazz vibe to counter the classical piano pieces in the film and complement Claire’s personality.


The final mix, including classical piano, Foley, SFX, and original music score was handled by Brice Bowman in Control A at Earshot Audiopost’s new Park Avenue facility in downtown Indianapolis.

Claire & The Keys hit the film festival circuit in the late Spring of 2015, and to-date has garnered the following official selections and awards:


• Official Selection, Indianapolis Film Festival

• Official Selection, DragonCon Independent Film Festival (Atlanta, GA)

• Winner – Best Animated Short

• Winner – Animated Musical Film

• Official Selection, Memphis International Film & Music Fest

• Official Selection, Burbank International Film Festival

• Nominated – Best Animated Short

• Official Selection, Breckinridge Film Festival

• Official Selection, Portsmouth International Film Festival (UK)

• Nominated – Best Animation

• Nominated – Achievement in Art

• Winner – Best Screenplay for Animation

• Official Selection, Southampton International Film Festival (UK)

• Nominated – Best Animation

• Winner – Best Screenplay for Animation

• Official Selection, Charleston International Film Festival

• Winner – Audience Choice, Best Animated Short

• Official Selection, Show Me Shorts International Film Festival (New Zealand)

• Official Selection, Atlanta Shortsfest

• Official Selection, Animation Magazine’s World Animation Celebration

• Winner – Best 2D Short

• Winner, Gold Spotlight Short Film Award (West Richland, WA)

• Official Selection, Berlin Independent Film Festival (Germany)

• Winner – Best Animated Short

• FINALIST in the USA Film Festival’s 38th Annual International Short Film Competition 2016 [Dallas, TX]

• Official Selection, River Film Festival [Padova, Italy]




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