Q&A with Aesthetica Short Film Festival Filmmaker Alisi Telengut, Tears of Inge

Films in the Animation strand at this year’s ASFF include Alisi Telengut’s Tears of Inge. In this short, a profound human-animal and human-nature relationship is represented by a painted world filled with a camel’s emotions, based on a real Mongolian nomadic story. Tears of Inge was painted frame by frame with the straight-ahead under-camera technique. It was painted on one piece of thick water colour paper with oil pastel and mixed painting materials. We speak to Telengut about telling a story through animation.

ASFF: Tears of Inge is based on a Mongolian nomadic story. What inspired you to tell this profound tale of a human-nature relationship?
AT: My grandmother did the narration and singing in the film. I was greatly influenced by my grandparents who used to live as nomads on the Mongolian grassland and they told me lots of stories and legends about nomadic life. Since this particular lifestyle is gradually disappearing, I want to represent the human-animal, human-nature relationship and nomadic traditions with animation as my medium.

ASFF: The animation short is entirely hand-painted. Why did you decide to use this medium?
AT: The film was made with the under-camera direct animation technique and it was painted frame-by-frame on a single piece of paper mainly with oil pastels. The movement was achieved by removing and adding colors every frame. I think it’s a way of time lapse photography of painting. I chose this particular technique because I like working with colors. I was influenced by my mother who wanted to become a painter. I remember we used to take a walk in the woods, and I was fascinated whenever I saw the colors and lights of trees changing with the sunlight. I always wanted to capture the stunning moments of the sceneries that had imprinted in my brain.

ASFF: Did you encounter any difficulties during the project?
AT: From the idea development, research, though to the actual filming, making Tears of Inge required a lot of patience and time in solitude. I had to spend lots of time animating and shooting in a dark room. Also, because of the straight-ahead animation technique, I couldn’t go back to reshoot a frame when I made a mistake during the filming process. I had to live with the mistakes and tried to find ways to save them from getting worse.

ASFF: In your opinion, can traditional rituals or stories survive in modern-day societies?
AT: Traditional rituals and stories often have spiritual, meaningful and social goals. Even though they have survived in modern societies in a reduced level, I think people always have interests in reviving traditions in their cultures.

ASFF: Do you have any upcoming projects or screenings?
AT: Currently I’m working on an animated film based on the history and memories of the Kalmyk ethnic minority. It’s a lyrical representation of their diasporic and transnational identity. It will be completed in the summer of 2015.

To see more of Alisi Telengut’s visit www.cargocollective.com.

For ASFF passes visit www.asff.co.uk/tickets.

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1. Alisi Telengut, Tears of Inge. ASFF 2014: Animation.