Interview with BAFTA Winner Daisy Jacobs, Director of The Bigger Picture

Daisy Jacobs won the 2015 BAFTA for British Short Animation for her incredible film, The Bigger Picture. Using innovative techniques, Jacobs mixed life-size illustration with 3D scenery to create a completely innovative piece that reflected a brand new approach to animation. The Bigger Picture, which was created by Jacobs during her time at the National Film and Television School, has also been nominated for an Oscar. In November 2014 the film was screened as part of the official selection at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

ASFF: How does it feel to have won?
DJ: It just feels brilliant. It was a few days ago now but I feel really happy and it shows people that I am really serious about making films. It confirms that filmmaking is definitely what I want to do.

ASFF: Can you just explain a little about where the initial idea for the story for The Bigger Picture came from?
DJ: It is actually based mainly on my own family. I wanted to look at the idea and role of the carer and what that involves. I think it’s quite an important subject. The film is based around the last few months of my grandmother’s life.

ASFF: Carers can end up being a bit invisible in society. Did you want to give voice to something that is quite a private experience?
DJ:
Yes I think so. Obviously there are professional carers, who are low-paid for the type of work they have to do. But, I wanted to highlight the role of the carer within the family. It is an unpaid role and is something that I think is maybe overlooked when it’s actually an enormous job.

ASFF: The animation style is beautiful. Can you talk me through how you made the animation?
DJ:
The animations are all painted life-size on the wall. I have to repaint for each frame. The animated people have 3D arms that come out from the wall and they pick up objects and I can pull them into the wall or walk with them. It’s a way for the illustration to exist in a real world, if you like.

ASFF: What are you working on now?
DJ:
The short animation we are working on now is based in the 1970s/1980s, looking at the ideas around how men and women lived apart. The story will also focus on the dynamics of a family, a darkly humorous study of how we treat those closest to us. Again it is going to be made with life-size sets and painted characters, but this time with the boundaries between the 2D and the 3D world explored further and twisted in brand new directions. I’ll be using lots of new additions that I’ve tested.

ASFF: Do you work with a large team of people?
DJ:
The animation is all done by myself and Christopher Wilder, my co-animator. I do all the painting and Chris does the 3D arms, so we work very much as a two. For the rest of it, we have the cinematographer, Max Williams; the editor, Vera Simmonds and we have sound and music. So, pretty much everyone that you’d have in a full film crew.

ASFF: Would you like to move into features eventually?
DJ:
I think at the moment, because I’m developing another short, I’m very much focused on short film techniques. I haven’t really thought that far ahead to be honest, but I do see myself making bigger and better films eventually. At the moment I’m very interested in the short film medium.

ASFF: What is that you like about short film?
DJ:
I think at the moment I feel very much that I’m still learning how to make films. I’m still constantly improving, testing and experimenting, and I think it’s much better to do that in a short. In a way you’ve got more freedom and I think when I really know what I’m doing, in years to come, then I’d like probably a new challenge, which would probably be something longer. But, at the moment it’s enough of a challenge to do a short film with new ideas and techniques.

ASFF: What sort of advice would you give to other filmmakers who are just starting out?
DJ:
I would say you need to be completely yourself in your work – don’t imitate other people. I would also say that it is really important to find people that you like to work with.

To support Jacobs’s Kickstarter campaign or to find out more about The Bigger Picture, visit www.thebiggerpicturefilm.com.

Entries for ASFF are open now, enter at www.asff.co.uk.

Credits
1. Image courtesy of The Bigger Picture and ASFF.