Never Stop Cycling wins Best of Show

Luyben.NeverStopCycling---02STORY BY SPENCER LUYBEN

It’s bleak, dark and cold. A figure sits at a stationary bicycle with a bottle of liquor at the ready as he stares solemnly at his wall. One day meets the next seamlessly as he inevitably loses track of time. Then something happens. A burst of pink light explodes through the screen and a journey begins.

With a runtime just over three minutes, 2014 Sheridan Animation graduate Colin Lepper’s wonderful short film Never Stop Cycling took home Best of Show at the 2014 Say it in Eight Film Festival presented by the After Hours Film Society on Oct. 20.

The film has enjoyed tremendous success at both national and international film festivals such as the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival and the Ottawa International Film Festival to name a few.

“When I graduated, I sort of went crazy and applied to a ton of film festivals.”

A 4th-year project that took roughly nine months to complete, the film encompassed many of Lepper’s thoughts, fears and passions in terms of themes and motifs within the video.

“The biggest theme is a fear that I had through college which was flashing forward to being 40 or 50 and being in a job that pays the bills, but kind of sucks, and you don’t have the guts to quit. And a lot of it was getting older and thinking back to childhood. I’m a big fan of childhood and it’s kind of sad and nostalgic that you can’t really have the same feeling again,” said the 22-year-old.

Because of his film’s recent success, Lepper seems to have hit the nail on the head when it comes to effectively expressing his message. But it didn’t come easy. This artist bled for his work.


Lepper needed a tool that would ensure the consistency of his figures throughout the film. Each of the figure’s facial reactions required specific heads, and he needed eighteen in total, so he used molds, casts and liquid plastics as a solution.

“I think that stuff’s filled with a ton of chemicals. My arm got an explicable rash on it that was freaking me out for months.”

For half of the 2013-14 school year, Lepper was regularly visiting doctor’s offices – specifically allergy clinics – to find out what the problem was. The doctor’s were dumbfounded and couldn’t pinpoint a diagnosis.

“They couldn’t tell what it was, but I noticed when I stopped using that stuff it went away. Hopefully it didn’t do too much permanent damage,” laughed Lepper.

Both Lepper’s passion for and success in stop-motion animation dates back to his high school days, where in a Grade 10 Media Arts class students were to produce a clay animation project.

“I didn’t necessarily want to get into it, but I messed around and made some music videos for songs I like.”

The next year, Lepper was contacted by a musician by the name of Renee-Louise Carafice – who was New Zealand-based, but was working out of Chicago – with a request for him to create a music video for one of her songs.

“It was cool because it was my first paid job that wasn’t, like, a grocery store cashier. And apparently it played in New Zealand,” said Lepper.

Lepper now works at JibJab in Los Angeles creating e-cards, but hopes to further pursue stop-motion animation at a big studio and then progress from there into directing a feature.

Watch the video here.