"Gravy icing"
November 13, 2013

After an eight-year slog to complete their feature film debut, Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver (BFA 2002) were happy that an audience would finally get to see it.

As it turns out, not only was Asphalt Watches accepted to the Toronto International Film Festival, it won the award for Best Canadian First Feature Film. Jury member Jacob Tierney described as a “ferociously audacious and excitingly original animated road trip." “We were so happy to finish it that everything else has been gravy,” says Seth Scriver, who started preliminary drawings for the animated feature while a student at NSCAD.

“Gravy and icing,” he adds. “Gravy icing!”

Asphalt Watches is a unique adult animated feature which chronicles a true-life near-death trans-Canadian road trip that visual artists Seth Scriver and Shayne Ehman—aka the Delusional Brothers—took in 2000. In reviewing it, film critics regularly haul out adjectives like “grotesque” and “bizarre,” as well as “charming” and “playful.”

“It’s been a long time in the making, but Shayne and I made a pact to finish it. We kind of forced each other to keep at it and finish it, but at the same time we had so much fun.”

Made with hand-drawn Flash animation (see stills below), the filmmakers turned to their friends through an Indiegogo campaign to raise $10,000 and get them through to the finish.

“Now, (with the award,) making another film will be easier to do,” says Seth. He says he and Shayne are working on an animated feature story called Ed’s Pile. They’re bringing back Bucktooth and Skeleton Hat, the main characters from Asphalt Watches, in a story about treasure hunting in a burnt-out hoarder’s house in Thunder Bay.

From downtown Toronto, Seth says going to Halifax and NSCAD was an adjustment, but that he took to it: “NSCAD is in a small town of sweet artists and sweet friends.” He thinks fondly of his NSCAD days and asks for updates on his favorite professors—Michael Fernandes, Thierry Delva, Garry Neill Kennedy, John Greer and Bob Rogers. He adds he also learned a lot from his peers—“we were all hopped up on ideas and inspiring each other.”

As a practicing artist, Seth makes animated films, paintings and illustrations and works in construction by renovating old homes. His work is available through Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects in Toronto.

“I think that comes from doing an interdisciplinary degree,” he says. At NSCAD, he studied sculpture, drawing and printmaking, and “just kinda hung out in the computer lab asking people questions and going through the trash cans on the computers.”

“You’re always challenging yourself and making life more exciting by constantly mixing it up.”

SEE: Asphalt Watches trailer