5 questions with Sea Child director, Minha Kim at the half-way mark.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017
1Hi Minha! Congrats on your beautiful film. Could you tell me what inspired you to make Sea Child? Growing up and becoming a woman can be terrifying, and even painful. However, it is inevitable. I am amazed by the power and the beauty of nature that forces us to change even when we don't feel ready. In this regard, the natural order can be the most powerful and violent force that we cannot fight, it will change you and eventually kill you. The only way is to accept the deal and find in peace with it, which the film is about - accepting the greater power that you cannot win over. The films universe may seem dark and oppressing at times, but I wanted it to have some sense of beauty as well, hopefully the vivid colours added to that. I guess these are a few things that inspired me to make the film.
2This film feels like I'm stepping into someone's memory. How did you come up with such a carefully observed story? Sea Child is loosely based on my personal memory of living with my grandmother and the fear of becoming a grown-up; being fully in charge of your own decisions and having a responsibility of your life. I wanted to convey the feeling of fear and confusion when you are forced to change from whom you used to be, but also the relief when you give yourself away.
In order to amplify the chaotic and confusing experience while connecting three generations of women in the film,
me and the composer of Sea Child had this idea of using the music as an important part of the storytelling, like a musical, but not a musical. I wrote the lyrics for the three individual songs and the three voice-actresses who did the voices of the characters also performed the songs. I selected non-professional singers hoping to get authenticity. I thought the fragility in their voices would reflect their characters state of mind better.
3Can you explain a bit about your animation process? It looks like this film is made up of individual paintings. Is that how it was made? Sea Child is stop motion animation that was hand painted with a variation of different Asian inks. It is a continuous flow of approximately 9000 different paintings. The images were painted on wooden boards which were 1x1 meter. I didn't want to sit down for 9 months so the boards were mounted on a wall so that I could stand and paint. I did not want to add colour digitally in post so all the colour in the film is drawing-ink painted on glass and then reflected onto the wooden boards with an overhead projector.
I had done some tests with this technique earlier and I really liked the texture and the way it looked. It felt very analogue as the ink stayed on the wooden boards no matter how hard I try to remove it. The trail of what had happened before keeps a sense of the time that was put into and it felt right for the story. I was not sure how it would turn out when I started, so there was a lot of figuring out as it went along. The technique had gradually developed so it became an unconventional technique that I had never seen done by anyone else. It took 9 months to paint and I was painting about 10-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. It was indeed a long process!
4What do you love about animation? What does animation do that live action can't? Animation gives you the limitless access to the ways that you can tell the story, which is very charming. For me it is the combination between narrative and artistic freedom. So while I was making Sea Child, I tried to use the most out from this art form, I wanted to create an animation very closely and neatly tied between narrative with extremely expressive visual journey. But since we are living in a very technologically developed world, which still is evolving at an insane speed compared to the past, I don't think there is such thing as what animation can't do or what live action can't. It is more like, they both are telling something but in different ways.
5What's next? I have written a few scripts and this year we are trying to get a live action short film off the ground. It will be a very different experience from making an animated short film, and I am looking forward to it.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
The film with the most fans wins $1,000
For 2017 we are moving on from screening feature films and will be showcasing shorts.
For our Winter 2017 Festival, we are giving away $2,000 in prizes to the top three films.
The film with the most fans.
The film with the most views.
Our favorite film.
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Please share Sea Child with your friends and help this filmmaker win!