My Love Affair With Marriage
an Animated Feature Film by Signe Baumane
Producing & Creative Team
My Love Affair With Marriage
a Latvia / USA / Luxembourg Production
Studio Locomotive, Latvia
With funding from The National Film Center of Latvia Studio Locomotive's Team in Riga colors and composites the 50,000 digital files sent from the Brooklyn studio and turns them into finished movies. Roberts also produced the recordings of the 23 songs sung by the Mythology Sirens and is overseeing a Latvian language version of the film. Roberts was a co-producer of Rocks In My Pockets, Signe's first animated feature film, and was also the Latvian distributor.
The Marriage Project LLC, USA
Signe and Sturgis started working on My Love Affair With Marriage in late 2015. In January 2017 they ran a Kickstarter campaign to get production going. 1,562 backers responded and the long process began. They have been writing grants and fundraising ever since in the effort to keep this independent film moving forward with Signe's vision intact.
Signe Baumane, Sturgis Warner
Much of the work at Signe Baumane Studio in Brooklyn is practical, meaning non-digital. Signe draws most of the animation herself, pencil on paper, Sturgis builds sets out of wood and their Team of artists covers them in paper-mâché and paint. The sets are lit and photographed, the Team pencil shadows the drawings then scans and organizes them into digital files before passing them on to the Latvian Team.
Antevita Films, Luxembourg
As of June 2020, Raoul is the third producing partner for My Love Affair With Marriage. With funding from Film Fund Luxembourg he and his Team will be responsible for all things Audio: Foley work, sound design, recording musicians for the film score and the final 5.1 Cinema mix. He will also provide some funding to the Latvian digital team.
Reginald C. Foster
Reg consults The Marriage Project LLC on all matters of business, contracts and fundraising. He is an integral part of the Brooklyn producing Team.
Cinco Dedos Peliculas, LLC
The Creative Team
Signe animates in the traditional method: pencil on paper
"My style is a blend of my Eastern European roots of metaphor and surreal imagery and a more literal, humor-oriented American sensibility. My Love Affair With Marriage is a unique combination of both." - Signe Baumane
As a former philosophy student, Signe is not afraid to reach behind the surface in her stories. As a former performer she enjoys connecting with an audience through surprise and humor.
Signe has written, directed and animated 16 shorts and one feature film, many of them with a strong female point of view. She passionately believes that animation is a perfect medium for adult storytelling. Her films collectively have screened at over 560 film festivals including Sundance, Berlin, Venice and Karlovy Vary.
Writer, Director, Designer, Animator
Signe Baumane was born and raised in Latvia when it was still part of the Soviet Union. At age 14, she began publishing short stories. At 16 she won poetry reciting competitions. At 18 she was singing and dancing with the folk group Skandenieki. Signe received a BA in Philosophy from Moscow State University. After graduating she started to work at Riga's Animated Film Studio as a cel painter and later as a writer, director and designer. Signe directed three animated shorts in Latvia before moving to New York. There she worked for independent animator Bill Plympton as art director and production manager. In 1998, Signe received her U.S. green card as an 'extraordinary ability alien' and began making films at her own studio. In 2005 she became a U.S. citizen.
Signe is also Director of Photography on "My Love Affair With Marriage". Here she focuses a shot of the Denmark Art Gallery
Signe is a Guggenheim Fellow and a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellow in Film.
Rocks In My Pockets (2014), Signe's first animated feature film, is based on true events involving five women of Signe's family, including herself, and their battles with suicide and depression. It played internationally at 150 film festivals, was distributed in the U.S. by Zeitgeist Films, and has been screened by many colleges and mental health organizations.
Composer of Songs and Soundtrack
Add another country: Italy. When Signe urgently had to replace her composer for the soundtrack of Rocks In My Pockets, Kristian Sensini's resume magically turned up. Suspicious of long distance collaborations, Signe gave him a trial assignment and he brilliantly came through. Kristian subsequently won a slew of music awards for his work on the film. Although we are deep into our second collaboration, we have yet to meet Kristian in person.
For My Love Affair With Marriage Kristian composed and orchestrated 23 songs for the three singing Mythology Sirens, who sing in perfect harmony. Kristian is also composing the soundtrack for the film.
Kristian Sensini composes for film and TV specializing in animation, drama, fantasy and documentaries. He is a piano and flute player with a classical and Jazz background. Kristian lives and works in Italy.
Sturgis building a truck
"What I love about building sets for animation - they don't vanish into thin air like so much of theater does."
- Sturgis Warner
Script Advisor, Casting Director, Set Builder, Lighting Designer
Sturgis Warner has been part of the New York theater scene for many years as an actor, director and occasional producer. His specialty is new plays and new play development.
Sturgis started working with Signe in 2010 bringing theater principles and skills to her animation filmmaking. For Rocks In My Pockets he was Co-Producer, Script Advisor and directed her 88-minute voiceover.
Sturgis lights the Bastejkalns set, a magical park in Riga
Animator for Biology Sections
In April 2020 Signe hired Yajun Shi to animate the Biology sections of the film, about 12 minutes of animation in total. Signe was looking for a creative, imaginative animator who had a different style than her own. Yajun's animated short film Parasite convinced her that Yajun was just that.
Yajun is a 2D animator, motion designer, and illustrator living and working in New York City. She graduated from Pratt Institute with a master's degree after getting a degree in animation from Hubei Institute of Fine Arts in China.
Core Artists - Brooklyn Team
Yasemin on top of the work table with Signe and
Intern Shalayah Smith in the background
Yasemin is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design
Sets, Color Choices, Digital Prep
Sofiya making one of 20 trees out of paper-mâché
John took over pencil shading from Signe after 3/5ths of the film had been completed, freeing up Signe's time to animate and oversee all the departments.
Maps, Digital Prep
There are eleven scenes in the film that feature Maps, which are almost characters in themselves. Yupu figured out how to manipulate them and became Map Master.
Coloring, Color Choices, Digital Prep
Britt is a recent graduate from Pratt Institute
Other Artists and Interns who have worked on
My Love Affair With Marriage
at Signe Baumane Studio in Brooklyn:
Joon Young Park
Tsz Ching Liu
Elizabeth Van Verth
Monica Flores Sanchez
Yaik Kar Chow
Connor Jacob Bushoven
Artists who contributed work
for background sets:
Sandra Osip, Douglas Fitch, Lasse Persson
Core Artists - Latvian Team
Latvian Production Manager
Latvian Production Manager
Anete Matvejeva is a graduate in computer animation from the University of Bradford in West Yorkshire, England. She has been part of the Latvian team from the beginning and now coordinates and supervises the coloring team.
Georgs Harijs Āva is a graduate of Latvian Academy of Arts and has made one animated short Suspensija Prima. He was a member of the compositing team form the beginning before taking over as supervisor and coordinator.
Past and Present Latvian Artists who have worked on My Love Affair With Marriage at
Studio Locomotive in Riga:
Terēze Talita Rozenblate
Pēteris Sudakovs, Rūta Sudakova, Raimonds Luzinskis
Producer's Assistant: Elīna Reinholde
Latvian Colorists and Compositors
The Audio Artists
Arjun G. Sheth
Chief Recording Engineer
Arjun G. Sheth is an award-winning Sound Designer and Re-Recording Engineer who has been working in New York since 2007. His work has been shown around the world at festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW and Cannes; “God of Love”, a film he helped design, won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short in 2011. Projects he has worked on have been shown on platforms like HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Fox, ABC, TLC, ID, OWN, Bravo and ABC Family, among others.
Signe and Arjun at Final Frame Studios in New York.
Arjun, Elita, Signe
Other Sound Engineers who recorded actors for
My Love Affair With Marriage:
Final Frame, New York
3rd Street ADR, Santa Monica, CA
Blue Room Post, Manhattan Beach, CA
Latvian casting director
Latvian recording engineer
Latvian dialogue editor
Anete Ušča obtained a bachelor’s degree in Music Technology from the University of West London where she was one of only four women in a class of 100. She was a critical component for the Latvian language version of Rocks In My Pockets. She recorded Signe's voiceover in Latvian for that film and mixed the complete soundtrack.
Anete also has a master’s degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Latvia. Anete has worked in the film industry as a sound engineer with a focus on documentaries.
Anete and Signe recording actors at BBsound, Riga, Latvia
Song Recording Engineer
For the recording of the 23 songs Arnis Račinskis was musical director and recording engineer. Working with both Trio Limonāde and Linda Leen, he recorded the songs in Latvian and English.
Arnis is a singer, guitarist, songwriter, producer and the owner of MUTE Studios. He has played in a number of bands, most recently with Laika Suns. If you fly Baltic Air, you will hear him give the pre-flight safety instructions.
Arnis recording Trio Limonāde at MUTE Studios in Riga.
One in the booth, two on the couch. We recorded Trio Limonāde separately for more control when mixing the songs.
Recording Engineer: Instruments
Sound Mixer of Songs
Kārlis Auzāns recorded the musicians at M-Park Studio in Riga, playing cello and guitar himself. He also mixed the songs in both languages.
Kārlis is a producer, composer, arranger and cellist. He composes and plays in the cello trio Melo-M. He's a member of several other bands including Kārlis Auzāns & Future Folk Orchestra.
Kārlis at M-Park Studio
Kārlis Auzāns - Cello, Guitar
Ivars Brīnums - Violin, Viola
Andris Grunte - Bass
Laura Rozenberga - Trombone
Kristaps Lubovs - Saxophone
Artis Orubs - Drums
Core Artists - Luxembourg Team
Through producer Raoul Nadalet and his company Antevita Films, we received a grant from Film Fund Luxembourg to do all the post-production sound in Luxembourg. Raoul arranged for us to work with the formidable sound team at Philophon Studios.
There are three major components of post-production sound. The first is Foley - the creation of additional sound effects for a film after shooting has been completed. But animation is drawn and put together in computers - there's no capturing of sounds while animating! When we recorded our actors, it was just their voices. Many of the non-vocal, non-musical sound effects for "My Love Affair With Marriage" had to be manufactured from scratch, which is where the Foley Artist comes in.
Christophe tapping on two different surfaces to create footsteps
Christophe Burdet travels from job to job with a large arsenal of sound-making devices, most of them deceptively simple, everyday objects. A good Foley Artist has a relationship with sound and the components that make up a sound that goes way beyond the average person. As he works, Christophe slips completely into the world of the film and becomes part of it. As he focuses on the screen before him, he creates his sounds with such precision that Foley Recordist Ken Nnganyadi often doesn't have to make adjustments.
Ken Nnganyadi doesn't just record the Foleys. He's the organizer of the sessions, the one who determines what sound effect is needed next, and the one who places the recorded sounds precisely on the timeline. He is also an important voice in the room.
The Foley Team worked for 12 days straight, covering 8-10 minutes of the film per day. Not every recorded sound effect is used. At Philophon Studios the mantra is: “it is far better to have a sound and not use it, than not have it and not be able to use it”.
Ken is part of the full-time staff at Philophon
The second component of post-production sound is sound design. Sound Designer Pierre Vedovato, spent ten weeks creating sounds for all the different environments and put them together with the Foleys, the actors' voices, the songs, and musical scoring.
Pierre is a freelance sound designer and lives in France. He has a special expertise in sound design for animation.
The third and last component is the Final Mix, when all the sounds are mixed together for 7.1 cinematic sound systems. Re-Recording Mixer Loïc Collignon has worked for four weeks on "My Love Affair With Marriage" and is also doing the final mix for the score and songs.
Loïc is on staff at Philophon and has worked on hundreds of projects as re-recording mixer. He is passionate about his work and we're thrilled to have him.
Other Important Collaborators
Latvian Social Media Manager
It all starts with the script. The gifted writer and translator Lolita Tomsone turned 95 pages of My Love Affair With Marriage into 95 pages of Mans laulību projekts . Mans laulību projekts means
My Marriage Project in English. We had to come up with a different title because My Love Affair With Marriage does not translate well into Latvian. Lolita is also managing the social media strategy for Mans laulību projekts.
In addition to her writing, Lolita is the director of the Žanis Lipke Memorial Museum in Riga, which tells the story of Žanis Lipke and his network of 25 people who created an underground railroad to save Jews from the Nazis during the German occupation of Latvia in World War II.
Lolita and Signe, script intimates
Pēteris, a wizard with words
Latvian Lyric Translator
Pēteris Draguns is a well-known Latvian poet, singer and performer living in Riga.
Pēteris had a challenging task because Latvian words tend to have more syllables than their English counterparts. But being a poet he kept finding inventive ways of honoring Signe's intent and fitting the words into Kristian's musical structure.
Pascal Wallisch, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychology
New York University
Principal Science Advisor - Script
After researching neuroscience on her own for a year, Signe knew she had to find a scientist who could point out any science mistakes she made in the script.
Signe found and contacted New York University professor Pascal Wallisch, PhD through Twitter. Their sessions were intense, intellectually stimulating and with his help Signe was able to clarify and improve the Biology sections of the script.
Dr. Wallisch is trained in Psychology with a PhD from the University of Chicago and a postdoctoral Fellowship at NYU’s Center for Neuroscience. His textbook “Neural Data Science” was published by Academic Press.
Dr. Wallisch has a large following on Twitter
Editorial Producer at TED-Ed
Principal Science Advisor - Final Footage
With "My Love Affair With Marriage" almost complete, we needed a scientist to analyze the Biology footage that we had created. We wanted to make sure we were not misstating or misrepresenting anything. Through our friends at TED we found Elizabeth Cox.
Elizabeth is a graduate of Brown University where she studied neuroscience and visual arts. She is now Editorial Producer at TED-Ed, the education arm of TED. For TED-Ed, she has written and edited scripts for over 150 animated educational videos across all subject areas.
Elizabeth didn't find any major problems, but she had numerous notes which we were able to correct. With her work at TED she regularly communicates complicated ideas through animation and voiceover making her the perfect person to scrutinize our work.
Additional Science Advisors:
Martin Klapheke, MD
Assistant Dean and Professor of Psychiatry
University of Central Florida College of Medicine
Adrija Kalviša, PhD Fellow
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark
Signe Baumane Studio
John Holderried was our Studio Manager from 2015 to 2020. He is also the long-time Studio Manager for Bill Plympton Studios, splitting the week between us.
No one is more knowledgeable about the business of Independent Animation than John. We miss him in the studio.
John is a graduate of NYU Film School and an avid connoisseur of the movies.
Business Consultants for The Marriage Project LLC
Tax Credit Consultant