Q&A with Kathryn MacCorgarry Gray, Winner of the People’s Choice Award

Director Kathryn MacCorgarry Gray’s The Wolf, the Ship and the Little Green Bag (2014) stole the hearts of ASFF viewers and was presented with the People’s Choice Award at the festival’s closing ceremony. This characterful documentary follows the life events of three elderly women who recount their coming of age stories through a unique and strikingly beautiful blend of storytelling, live action and animation. In an exclusive interview with MacCorgarry Gray, the director shares her filmmaking motivations, creative collaborations and medley of upcoming projects.

ASFF: The Wolf, the Ship and the Little Green Bag was selected as ASFF 2014’s People’s Choice. What does this award mean to you as a filmmaker?
KM: I promised the three ladies in the film that I would make them stars of the silver screen, so telling them that a bunch of people in York liked them enough to write the lengthy title on a piece of paper was completely rewarding. The audience award is verification that they have some loyal fans out there, so I can sit back and smile knowing that me and my crew helped to make that happen. Plus, ASFF is a pretty exciting festival to walk away with a wonderful award for my parents’ mantle-piece.

ASFF: Where did the idea for the documentary come from?
KM: I spent the summer of 2013 watching Stand By Me on repeat, realising that it would be the last full summer holiday I would have, since I was going into my last year of Westminster Film School. I was being dragged kicking and screaming into adulthood and I wanted to be guided through it. So we made a film about Karin, Peggie and Anne, who have all lived modest but exciting lives. I wanted to use animation to transport the audience back to the moments in time that resonated in the memories of these three women.

ASFF: The short film combines documentary with storytelling and animation. Did you come across any technical difficulties, if so how were these overcome?
KM: The film was made at university, so deadlines were tight. As you can imagine, animation is a time consuming process, so we had to find our animators in record speed, and they had to work fast. We somehow balanced university work with our project, but pulled it together and polished it off in around six weeks. Alice De Barrau, Leena Zaher and Etienne Gisto Cipriani – you have my endless gratitude.

ASFF: What were your ASFF highlights, and were you inspired to make new work?
KM: The festival itself was very inviting – me and some of the crew journeyed up to York from London and enjoyed a variety of different films and masterclasses. The experience was so enjoyable, it made me want to return. Watching Michael Pearce’s Keeping Up With The Joneses inspired me to return to a short fiction film I had put on hold, which I hope to see at ASFF some day.

ASFF: Do you have any upcoming projects or screenings?
KM: This January I will be working on a Chaos Group short film called The Band, directed by Cullum Carver Jones and produced by Natasha Rosewell. I will also be designing the sound-scape for a short film called The Unexpected Quaintness of Aliens, directed by Daniel Rands. Later in the year I plan to direct a short fiction film I am writing, based around two adolescent siblings on a terrifying journey of their own insecurities, once again using a combination of live action and animation. I plan to give the animators a little more time on this one, so I hope it will be ready to be entered into ASFF 2016.

See the trailer for The Wolf, the Ship and the Little Green Bag at http://youtu.be/qolR4bWfzDg.

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1. Kathryn MacCorgarry Gray, The Wolf, The Ship and the Little Green Bag (2014). Courtesy of Chaos.