Fabricated Worlds

Rachel Lloyd’s Iktsuarpok explores the traditional Inuit word of the same name that describes the feeling of anticipation that leads to people looking outside to see if anyone is coming. The short screened as part of ASFF 2016’s Animation strand.

A: The title of the short, Iktsuarpok describes the feeling of anticipation that provokes you to look outside and see if anyone is coming. This emotion is then translated into the short. What was your inspiration for the piece?
A theme that I love to explore is loneliness. I have had the idea of a yeti character in my mind for quite a few years and have always wanted to a film with one.  I like bitter-sweet stories, in this one you have a child-like character who is completely alone, and who one day has the opportunity to make a friend, however he accidentally kills his friend in his desperation to not be alone anymore. What I’m interested in is the fact that audiences feel empathy for him even though he kills the bird.

A: When using fabricated characters that have been physically sculpted, it is often difficult to convey emotion – how did you begin to plan out the sequences, especially seeking to incorporate such an intangible sentiment through animation?
RL: I don’t find it hard to convey emotion with my characters even though they are limited in expressions. I find that sometimes less is more and a lot of emotion can be conveyed through subtle body language and movements.

A: How did you begin to plan out the sequences, especially seeking to incorporate such an intangible sentiment through animation?
RL: I plan out sequences through storyboarding in my sketchbook. I also do a lot character sketching; I act out the character interaction in my head then try and convey that though the puppets.

 A: What is it about animation that you find so interesting as a genre – how do you think it pushes cinematic boundaries and offers something new to audiences?
RL: I love the combination of craft, art and technicality that animation offers. I think it can tread a line between art, textiles and film which can offer something new and interesting to audiences especially in a time where most film is over-saturated with digital imagery.

A: Could you describe the process of stop motion and the physical processes behind making the environment and its characters?
RL: I usually start the process with coming up with a character. I then work on the story idea, and develop the character personality. After I’ve come up with a story idea I start story-boarding. I then turn that into an animatic adding rough sound. When I’ve finished my animatic I make the puppets and sets. After everything is made I set up everything and do a lot of tests with lighting and shots. There’s a certain amount of experimentation with materials, like with the yeti I experimented with what kind and colour his wool should be.

A: Did you have an intended audience for the film? Do you think that it’s important to consider this before producing a film?
RL: I never really have an intended audience when I make my films; I mostly make them for myself. They are not intended for children really but if they enjoy them i don’t mind.

A: Iktsuarpok has screened at many other film festivals as well as ASFF, including Manchester Animation Festival, The Small Short Film Festival and Primanima Film Festival. Why do you think that events like these are important for filmmakers, and how have they helped you to develop your career in terms of networking and opportunities?
RL: I think the short film industry is a very hard one to be a part of. They don’t get shown in TV much and they don’t really get shown at cinemas so we really need film festivals as a platform to get our films out there. It’s also an amazing way to meet people, advertise your work and get inspired be other films. I’ve got work and made long-term friends from festivals.

To enter your film into ASFF 2017, you must purchase an entry fee and submit your film via this entry form by 31 May 2017 midnight GMT. The entry fee is £24. You must read our Submission Guidelines before beginning this form. For more information: www.asff.co.uk/submit

1. Trailer for Rachel Lloyd’s Iktsuarpok. Courtesy of Vimeo.