Microflix 2020 Progress Diaries with UTS Animation Students – No. 4

Hello and welcome all you Flixers to todays blog post! More dates have been crossed off your calendars as the submission date to the Microflix Film Festival draws nearer – August 31st. I’m hoping that today’s blog post with UTS Animation students will inspire you as you finalise those last stages of your flix. The groups featured today have chosen texts with a strong Indigenous Australians focus, exploring imbedded themes of displacement, belonging and identity over time.

Firstly I’m delighted to present the work of students Celine, Gary, Kyle and Sean who have chosen to adapt Two Skulls by Steve Kinnane.

“Go home, or go back to where you belong. We think this is the best anime theme, as the concept of missing home resonates to all audiences

While they did not have contact with the author,

“A lot of the story’s true meaning and backstory was revealed to us when we were informed of the hundreds of indigenous remains that had been taken from indigenous communities to be displayed in collections around the world. After hearing of the reality behind the story, it became clear that the writing was about the journey home. It was from here that we used certain moments of the journey in the animation, trying to put a lot of focus on the landscape of Australia.

I’m also delighted to present the work of students Noah, Fanglin, Paul, Samuel who chose to adapt Finding Charlotte by Judith Ngangala Crispin,

“We liked that it handled the themes of indigenous identity in the modern world in a beautiful and delicate manner. The text was layered with beautiful imagery and emotion, and we were eager to attempt to tell the story through visual narrative.

Early concept development for “Finding Charlotte

Luckily the group got in contact with the author, which impacted their approach to the story, since,

“Judith provided us with audio of her reading her poem, which allowed us to bring her
voice into our adaptation. Judith also provided us with an image of Charlotte (the subject of her poem), which helped bring us into that world and portray Charlotte more truthfully.

Character Design for “Finding Charlotte

And so they begun their adaptation process.

“After we contacted Judith, we started off by visualising how we imagined the story would play out in our heads and transferring that to paper.

Celine’s group on the other hand approach their adaptation by,

“[Doing] research about the location or ceremony that were been mentioned in the article, and the author’s cultural background. Since this story is in an aboriginal cultural context, we tried our best to find a balance between loyalty to the original article and expressing our own aesthetics as respectfully as possible.

Drawing iterations from “Finding Charlotte

Finding this balance proved to be a challenge for their group.

“We had to identify the key aspects/themes of the story along with the not so important parts. Using animation, we would then try to show what the author was communicating to the audience. After many iterations in finding the balance in the story, we eventually settled on a suitable timecode for our film.

This also proved to be equally as enjoyable for the group, as,

“The process of adaptation allowed us to fully imagine and thoroughly explore the author’s ideas, and grasp the core in the imaginative and poetic words and sentences. The process of exploration is indeed full of charm. Different group members have different understandings and ideas about the same verse. Therefore, in the process of exploring and being able to discuss with the team members, we finally get the most perfect solution.

Iterations for “Finding Charlotte’

Noah’s group experienced the same kind of enjoyment from the adaptation process in exploring the authors ideas.

“We really loved the opportunity to immerse ourselves in someone else’s story and try to understand it and communicate it. I think that the magic of adapting a biographical, intimate poem, like the one we did, is an opportunity to try to see the world through someone else’s eyes and maybe in some small way experience their emotions.

They instead experienced challenges when,

“As a group we had a lot of ideas and images in our minds of how to bring the text to life, and it was difficult to settle on a storyboard that did justice to the story. Visual design was another very difficult aspect of this film, given the historical nature and cultural nature. We would have loved to have more time to explore this aspect of the film.

Preview from “Finding Charlotte

Luckily both groups did not experience any challenges with their sound design students, however they did experience the great impact sound design can have on a piece! Noah’s group worked with Nathalie Oong who,

“Brought a lot to our film. Her sound work contains some indigenous elements. It helps us tell Charlotte’s story easier. And the music also set up the mood for the film.

Character design for “Finding Charlotte

And Celines group worked with sound designer Noah Henry, but before

“Contacting our sound designer, we made a mock sound version of our storyboard, and wrote down notes for every moment where we needed sound effects and music, with several of the draft sounds just coming from Youtube.  After meeting with the sound designer and hearing his thoughts, we knew there was much more growth to be done with the sound design of the film. We were asked about the kind of sounds we wanted in the film and then he got started on his work. The final work came out and we felt it met our needs and more, putting sounds into moments we weren’t completely sure about. Overall, our sound designer had an important role in this project and succeeded greatly in that role.

For those of you reading this that have finished their adaptations already, please leave a comment telling us about how sound impacts your piece! We’re looking forward to your submissions in the meantime!

Happy Flixing! Taj

Anastazija (Taj) Luksic is a student at University of Technology Sydney, where in 2017 she completed her Media Arts and Production degree, and is currently finishing off her Creative Intelligence and Innovation bachelors. During her degree she worked on personal documentary projects, with one screened at the Focus On Ability Film Festival 2017. She also volunteered on a number of sets ranging from a commercial for Batyr, to ‘The Horizon’ web series.