The Adventures Of Nisse

“Nisse's Adventures On Land And At Sea” is a story of love, wooden penises, and death. This animated documentary was made in collaboration with Anagram, Swedish National Radio, Film in Skåne and SVT.

Animation, Art, Documentary, Storytelling, Television

The Life Of Nisse

A story of a sailor

The film above is a trailer for the animated documentary based on an interview with the 87-year-old Swedish sailor Nisse Andersson. The interview was done by documentarian Mia Blomgren for P1 Documentary Swedish Radio.


About The Documentary

Nisse is part of a generation that is slowly slipping away.  We wanted to preserve some of his stories and bring them to life. Timeless and epic as they are.

The making of the film began when animation director Klara Swantesson contacted the award-winning documentarian Mia Blomgren, suggesting that they do a project together. Mia stumbled upon Nisse’s diary and interviewed Nisse for a few days in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2014 for a radio interview. Once there was enough good material to work with, the team began looking for funding for the project. Meanwhile, Mia spent weeks editing down Nisse’s epic life story to something that could fit into the format of a short animated film. Not an easy task, but we were all excited by the result.

Nisse tells us his life story based on his diary, “Nisse´s Adventures On Land And At Sea”. He talks about his 40 years at sea, at a time when travelling around the world was unusual and dangerous. We follow Nisse to the harbour areas where he visits his “ladies” and gets a kangaroo tattoo, and we get to see some of the wooden penises he carved while lying his bunk during the long hours at sea. He tells us the story of his loved Brita, who disappears into Alzheimer’s Disease, and we learn that the continuing theme in his life has been a search for intimacy.

Listen to the full radio documentary here.


The Making Of The Film

Once Mia’s radio interview was in place, it was time for our design and animation team here at Stupid Studio to start sketching, storyboarding and trying various animation experiments to find the right style and approach for the film.

Storyboarding & Sketching

Step 1: Sketching the story

We wanted the film to have a hand-drawn, tangible feel to it, but without really showing Nisse, so that people could imagine him themselves. We began sketching and drawing the scenes and thinking about imagery that would go with the story.

Getting Movement Right

Step 2: Modelling or filming the action

Once we were happy with the storyboard and the visual narrative, we went into 3D to work with movement and dynamics in a way that is difficult to achieve in classical flat 2D animation. Here’s a 3D version of the butterfly made to mimic movement and spatial attributes.

Finalizing The Look

Step 3: Animating By Hand

From there the actual animation work began. Every single scene was animated by hand, in some cases with the help of our 3D renders to make for more dynamic transitions and movement. We insisted on doing it by hand, as pure 3D often gets too polished and perfect. Nisse’s story is not about perfection, but about a life and the experiences that have shaped him.


Behind The Scenes

The film to the right is quick look inside our studio, where you can see bits and pieces from how the film was actually made.

The final film

And here it is

The film premiered late May 2016 in Swedish national television SVT, and will be traveling the World’s film festival from here. We’re so happy it will be seen by so many people!

“Reading your diary it´s like there is so much between the lines.”

“Well, what´s done is done, nothing much to do about it.”

– Mia & Nisse

Christian Mogensen

Partner, Creativity & Impact

With a longer documentary like this, we all got to work with people who inspires us and with a format that really matters. Storytelling and animation is a powerful tool when it comes to compelling stories. We can only wonder why so few companies and brands have integrated storytelling of this kind into their communication.

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