Having directed both live-action and animated films for over ten years, Nando Costa is no stranger to film production, yet waiting for over 800 pieces of maple to be laser-engraved and used as individual frames for a short film is somewhat new territory. In his latest Kickstarter-backed short film “The New America”, Costa puts those laser-engraved frames to good use and gives us a glimpse of yet another way of stretching the possibilities of digital fabrication.

Over 800 Laser-Engraved Frames

Set in a “fictitious place and time where a very advanced society goes through a phase of structural and financial collapse but eventually reemerges, and its values are rooted in a strong relationship with nature”, Costa uses a variety of geometric patterns and abstract shapes to convey a future of ruin and rebirth. Having raised over $30,000 from his Kickstarter campaign almost two years ago, the film has no doubt been a time-intensive chore to produce. While his data could technically be created in Illustrator and animated to tell the same story, the process of creating 800 similar wood blocks and waiting for them to go through the engraving process certainly must have took more than the average man’s dose of patience:

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“It was a lot of hard work and stress.”

Yeah, no kidding.

For the Kickstarter rewards, Costa took the unique approach of selling individual frames…the more frames he sold, then the longer the film. You can still buy frames from the film for $50 over at Costa’s Etsy site.

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(Images via Nando Costa)


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.