Interview with Lucy Lee (VOICING SILENCE)

Short Film played to rave reviews at the Under 5 Minute Film Festival in June 2017.

To learn more about the film and filmmaker, go to her website: https://instinctfilms.wordpress.com/documentary/voicing-silenc/

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

I have always aimed to make independent films that explore issues that are important for me, and through doing this I hope to add to the worldwide dialogue on how to live a happy and fulfilled life. To do this we sometimes have to face some difficult topics. I aim to make films that help change the way people think by encouraging dialogue. I hope this film encourages people to think about this subject.

From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

8 months, around other work commitments.

How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Personal story.

What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Working round other commitments, and worry that the film may not do the subject justice.

What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Fear, followed by interest.

How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

This film was made with my friend Abhi, who approached me with her voice recording and asked if I would be interested in make a film with it. My initial response was to use metaphor to juxtapose with the very graphic narration. However Abhi explained that the problem with this issue in India is that no-one will talk about it, so it is touched on in euphemism, hints or silence. She wanted to challenge this silence, be direct and stir up emotions, in response to this I decided to be more direct with the visual approach. She sent me photos of herself at that age, the area, and links to things that reminded her of the place and times, so I included these as references and in the design. I also included references to Lachmi, as the young girl wearing red and standing on a lotus carpet design, and the dance she is doing at the start (Bharatanatyam) is one practiced by higher caste Hindu girls as an expression of spiritual ideals. I did this because I wanted to heighten the incongruence between the idolised feminine and contempt for women and girls that leads to sexual abuse. I also used insects as a metaphor to add an extra layer of emotion and keep the audience active in their reading of the film. After making the middle section of the film, I felt that there needed to be some resolution to this experience, so I asked Abhi to record thoughts on how she felt about it now, and why she wanted to tell this story. She also told me that these thoughts occur to her when she goes running, which she likes to do to relieve stress. I liked the idea of contrasting the present with the past by highlighting that she is now in a different place physically and mentally. The live action, jogging, black and white, northern hemisphere winter, wealthy River Thames, is a good contrast to her childhood memories in India, bright colours, heat, rich culture, fixed camera, drawn animation. It highlighted the idea of a flashback memory that still continues to affect and motivate us many years down the line.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

‘Hedgehog in the Fog’ by Yuri Norstien

What song have you listened to the most in your life

I like to listen to and look at the work of everyday artists, normal people like you and me who create to communicate and to connect with other people. I like to buy the CDs of musicians busking on the street, and this is how I discovered the work of Daniel Waples. So at the moment I am particularly loving a Hang In Balance album called ‘Hang & Violin’ (https://hanginbalance.bandcamp.com/album/hang-violin-download-by-donation). I’m also loving an album by Spooky RedRum, ‘The Illusion of Time’ (https://spookyredrum.bandcamp.com/), for which I am making a music video for the song ‘The Dream’ by Nefeli Stamatogiannopoulou.

What is next for you? A new film?

I will make more films of course, but at the moment I am working on an illustrated book (and a music video, and a dance video).

VOICING SILENCE, 3min, UK, Animation
Directed by Lucy LeeHow do you move forward when events from a distant past continue to cast their grim shadow on the present? Can breaking the silence ever bring a much longed for quietude? Voicing Silence is one woman’s attempt to find her words that have remained muted for so long.CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!
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