Back in September, Depict, Watershed’s 90 second filmmaking competition, took place at the Encounters Short Film Festival. The competition saw 1200 entries from 61 different countries, including 2nd year Wimbledon Production Arts for Screen students - Gianina Temi Olawole, Natasha Forsyth, Piotr Grzesiak, Lachlan Chan, Beatrice Karpovic and Harley Thompson.
We spoke to the group about the competition and their stop frame animation.
How did you find out about the competition?
Natasha - We found out about the competition through one of our units on the course, which required us to create a 90 second short film.
What made you apply?
Piotr - We were just curious to get feedback on our film from the perspective of an external audience. In the past we had only done small screenings internally at Wimbledon College of Arts. I think being able to see other people's authentic reactions helped us better gauge whether we were heading in the right direction.
Tell us about the production and design
Beatrice - The film is a dark, comedic, stop motion animation set in Mexico based on the popular tale Jack and the Beanstalk. During the process of production, we had to capture one still frame at a time, moving physical objects between frames - so that when you play back the sequence of images rapidly, it creates a unique illusion of movement. We also incorporated blue screen within our work, as we felt it was best for the colours being used in each scene.
Harley - Some of us had never worked with stop motion animation before, so it was really challenging and intense, but under pressure we managed to produce our best work, so it was a great learning experience.
What do you think made your film stand out?
Tash - I think it was the narration. We added a lot of humour to our story and wanted to keep it as simple and light-hearted as possible as we only had 90 seconds to get our message across. A lot of other people’s fables where quite serious, with a more complex storyline which was harder to follow. It was a challenge for us not to get carried away with all our ideas!
Gianina - I also think what worked quite well for us was the use of bright vibrant colours. A lot of people opted going for a darker, realistic theme which I feel doesn’t always work well with stop motion.
What do you feel you gained from the experience?
Harley - I think I benefited mostly from the networking opportunity it presented. I was really intimidated at first but the more I got to speak to people, the more it built my confidence to get my work out there more.
Natasha - I agree. You feel like you’re going to be a small fish in a big pond being in a room next to professional film makers. Being shortlisted gave us the confidence and belief that we can stand with them side-by-side.
Beatrice - I was unfamiliar with stop motion animation before this, so playing with it helped me to expand my horizon in terms of film making and allowed me to appreciate this technique a lot more.
Piotr - I think we all gained stronger teamwork skills for sure. When things went wrong at the beginning, we all had to learn how to work efficiently and cohesively as a group in order to pull it off in time. It was a great collaborative effort.