Interview with Filmmaker JC Little (2020)

2020 played to rave reviews at the June 2021 ANIMATION Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Obviously 2020 was bad for everyone right? Raging pandemic, people divided, planet on fire. One of my friends was dying of cancer and in the online support group of friends, and one day we were commiserating because one has a teenage daughter who is a kidney transplant survivor and she was having some trouble. I personally was facing breast surgery and living with mono, plus there was the pandemic, but when I heard about my friend’s daughter it was all just too much. The idea for the film just popped into my head. Probably a coping mechanism for The Overwhemption! The thought of this teenager seeing the film and maybe laughing motivated me at the start. It was like we all need to laugh at this terrible year and put it in its place. And then when I found the song “Literal Shit” by Apache Tomcat, I was like dangit NOW I HAVE TO DO THIS FILM.

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

My films in this style don’t take me long; usually a few days to a week, as it’s limited animation. But I was pretty sick at the time so I think it was about three weeks of work over a three month period. I also embellished the animation, made some scenes fuller.

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

Unrelenting disaster.

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

I was siiiiiick.

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

I felt gratified and validated. The reactions seemed to be authentic and the feedback was well thought-out and concisely articulated. It was cool to see that these people understood what I was going for with the film, the got the nuance of how I went about my storytelling with tried and true animation devices, and even connected with who I am as an artist. It felt really good.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I’ve been working in the animation industry since 1982-ish, so about 40 years. I’ve done everything from painting cels to cleanup artist to producer to director. I went independent as a filmmaker around 2010 doing little animated shorts for my blog The Animated Woman.

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

Probably The Wizard of Oz. But it could be Grease. Or even Pineapple Express. Lol.

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

It changed everything for me. It’s so useful. It puts the festival target within reach, it makes it accessible. But filmmakers should know what they want from a festival selection and really research the best festivals for them.

9. What is your favorite meal?

My favourite meal is …soup. No, wait …corn on the cob. Actually it might be dim sum. I’m gonna go with dim sum.

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

As The Animated Woman, I do have another film on the back burner, but I’m planning on finishing my graphic novel “Ball” first. It could be a while. I actually put it on hold to do 2020. To pay the rent, I’m doing a lot of watercolour dog portraits, some as Marvel superheroes. I love my job. But if a film idea strikes me in the meanwhile, I may have to drop everything again just to animate again.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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