The Affolter brothers like to think of themselves as the Coen brothers and the Warner brothers combined.
The Slocan Park-raised sibling quartet, founders of YouTube channel Comedy Blender, believe there’s strength in numbers, and that’s why all four of them—Nathan, Jon, Heath and Thomas—left home to attend film school.
“We’ve been doing this our whole life since we were teenagers, messing around with Mom and Dad’s camcorder,” Nathan told the Star, in the days before the Leo awards in Vancouver on June 13 and 14.
The Affolters had been nominated for Best Web Series for their their stop-motion and hand-drawn animation Food Flix, going up against bigger budget live action productions.
It was only the latest in a number of awards the siblings have picked up recently, including Best Animated Series at the Vancouver Web Fest and Best Toon at the San Fransisco Web Fest.
In the Affolters’ YouTube videos, anthropomorphized fruits and vegetables gather in a theatre to watch satirical short films. The sets are made of recycled goods, and the shorts are a mixture of stop-motion and 2D animation.
“Two of us trained in live action, and the other two in animation, so we usually have a mix of both,” said Nathan.
In the third episode, The Godfarmer, sinister bananas riddle an apple-version of Sonny Corleone with machine gun bullets while he attempts to crawl to safety.
“That was one of our biggest showpieces—it’s got the most shots, gags, crazy stuff,” said Nathan. He said they started Comedy Blender last year to support their pitches and to build an online audience.
“People in this industry want to know who’s interested in this. We’re working on building our audience, exploring different ideas and working within our budgetary and time restrictions. Right now we’re aiming to have something brand new on Comedy Blender once a month.”
Food Flix ultimately did not take home the Best Web Series award, losing to Mythos, but the brothers were thrilled regardless.
“A lot of these people we were up against are people we know from working in BC film and TV. Just to be nominated was awesome,” said Nathan.
“Our real passion and goal is to one day get a TV show or film picked up, and to play the creator role. We’re putting all our passion and fuel into new ideas and pitching them to studios everywhere.”
This story will appear in the Friday issue of the West Kootenay Advertiser.