Trevor Jimenez Interview: ‘Weekends’ director
Trevor Jimenez started with a simple action and now its leading him to a possible Oscar nomination. “I did a drawing about 10 years ago for an animation portfolio and it was based off my own memories and experiences with my parents who were divorced,” he tells us in an exclusive chat (watch the video above). The picture showed a kid walking from his mother’s home to his dad’s car in the middle of winter.
Over the course of those 10 years, that picture has now morphed into the short film, “Weekends,” which has been shortlisted by Academy Awards voters for Best Animated Short Film at the upcoming Oscars. The short tells the story of how a young boy goes back and forth between the two homes of his parents who are divorced. As he makes these repeated journeys he finds himself encountering dream-like versions of his current situations and also encountering the sobering realities that his parents face as they navigate these new chapters of their lives.
When Jimenez drew the picture, there was no formal story behind it. Several of his friends responded to it though and started sharing their stories about their divorced parents. That’s when he realized there was something significant to that subject material and he began fleshing out the project more. He explains, “About five years ago, I started working on it more intensely like writing a final script for it and starting to edit and I would say my efforts have been way more focused in that time period.”
While Jimenez does currently work at Pixar, “Weekends” stands out because it’s all done in 2-D animation. This also reflects some of the animation that influenced him to actually go into the field. One of the key animators for him is also an Oscar winner for their work, Michaël Dudok de Wit. Jimenez specifically singled out de Wit’s Oscar winning short, “Father and Daughter,” which won the Best Animated Short prize in 2000. “I love that film. It’s probably my favorite short ever and I love how emotional it is. The staging in that, how everything is in a wide, that was really influential.”
Finding out he had made the shortlist was something that Jimenez was excited about but he also made sure to keep his cool about the whole thing. “It’s amazing and super trippy,” he explains. “I was having coffee with a friend and I didn’t want to look at my phone but then I got an email that said, ‘Woo-Hoo!’ I knew at that point it was good news and my heart started beating really fast and called my wife after. It was pretty awesome and a great experience.”