Interview with Filmmaker Claire Campbell (WINTER’S BLIGHT)

WINTER’S BLIGHT was the winner of BEST VISUAL DESIGN at the April 2020 ANIMATION Feedback Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Claire Campbell: I’d been wanting to make another stop motion film for a few years, because stop motion animation and production design is what I’m really passionate about. Prior to this film I was working in other areas of filmmaking and when there was a window of free time I decided it was finally time to come up with a script for my own project.

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

A long time…roughly 3 years!

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

Bleak, but hopeful.

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

My own perfectionism. I knew the level of detail I wanted to achieve and was determined not to compromise on it. I worked on most of the main elements myself, so it was very time consuming and draining over that extended period, I drove myself a bit insane.

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

It was very moving to hear people talk about my film & to hear that they were also moved by the story. Living in a small city at the bottom of New Zealand is a bit isolating & I haven’t been able to go to any of the overseas festivals to experience how it is received, so it was really incredible to get this feedback.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I was racking my brains for a stop motion script idea to submit for a funding deadline. My past experience with stop motion had taught me what were some good parameters to help keep the idea achievable as stop motion such as limiting the numbers of characters and sets, so I had that as a starting block. At the time I was going on a lot of walks, and being inspired by nature & the remoteness of the Otago landscape, so the elements were all floating in my mind and eventually sort of just fell together and a story formed.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably either Coraline or Fantastic Mr Fox. Both films were released in my final year of study when I made a stop motion film as my main project, so I remember really studying them frame by frame to figure out how they made it all & always go back to them for inspiration.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It’s a big help with the festival submission process, bringing it all into the one place and making it easier to manage it all.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Temptation by New Order.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I’m working on a few more smaller animation & design projects, where I can develop my style without the restraints I imposed on myself for Winter’s Blight.



By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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