If you read pop culture media these days, you’ll notice that everybody is complaining about the chosen contenders in some Academy Awards category or another. Here is, however, a well-deserved nomination against which it would be hard to argue: „The Bigger Picture”, directed by Daisy Jacobs, for Best Animated Short. Daisy’s film has also been nominated for a BAFTA and won several awards at film festivals around the world.
„The Bigger Picture” is a story about families and coping with aging, told through an unique technique developed by Daisy and her team: life-size stop-motion, combining wall paintings 2 meters tall with paper-mache props that reach out from flat surfaces into 3d reality (you can see a making-of video of the film here).
The way I animate, life-size, there is something very ’whole body’ about it. It’s like you are the character. And it really wakes you up, having to do physical work, rather than sit at a desk. The brush strokes, the labour all come out on the wall on which I animate and struggle- there is something in that process that I love, and I think it adds something.
How does your choice of technique relate to the themes of the film’s script? In a more general sense: how does a story like the one in „The Bigger Picture” benefit from being animated, rather than, let’s say, live-action drama?
There is one bit where Nick is getting very angry at his mum and the tea pot he is holding just keeps pouring until they are all washed away. This is mirroring how he is feeling and suggests what he would like to do- although it is just his thoughts.
Animation allows you to show how the characters is feeling. The sets and rooms are extensions of the characters, reflecting their emotions. The result is a surreal and heightened world in which a normal family struggles.
How did the story develop? What inspired you (and your co-writer) to write it?
It is based on the death of my Gran and how we, as a family, dealt with it.
The film has received a lot of appreciation and critical acclaim, do you think that will influence the way you approach your next project?
It has given me great confidence and that is wonderful. I am always challenging myself to grow and develop as a film-maker, and that means trying new things. I do, however, recognise that film is made for an audience- I make the work I want to make, but I am mindful that it is for an audience.
And speaking of upcoming projects: together with stop-motion animator Chris Wilder, who also worked on „The Bigger Picture”, Daisy is planning to make a new film using the same technique. To this purpose they have started a Kickstarter campaign to fund it, which you can find and support here.
Images courtesy of Daisy Jacobs, www.thebiggerpicturefilm.com