Interview with Filmmaker Kessiah Arthur (STOP MOTION: THE MAKING OF)

STOP MOTION: THE MAKING OF played to rave reviews at the August 2021 FEMALE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

This film was made to celebrate everything I had learnt on Aardman Academy’s first ever run of their new course Stop Motion 1 as my final piece. The idea came from my love of film making and the crew-family fun that happens behind the scenes, and the process of stop motion animation and what I learnt can very easily go wrong!

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

I had four weeks on the course to make my final piece around my hours working full time on another production. The first two weeks were spent making key props and my puppet Steve, and the last two weeks consisted of filming and editing.

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

A series of “Charming Mishaps”!

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

Mostly time constraints due to my other commitments, but I love a challenge and will always make the most out of every opportunity no matter what obstacles I come across! I had so much fun playing with the concept, the character and animating the scenes that managing to find the time to film was always easy!

I also found deliberately filming common stop motion mistakes meant extra attention to detail was needed for some scenes, to make sure it was still well animated and done in such a way so that my intention was clear and not look like bad animation!

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

I was very overwhelmed by the wonderful responses to my idea and my character Steve. Words can’t describe how much it meant for people to take the time to see and review my film, and it was so rewarding to hear that people had fun, laughed out loud, and felt the joy I had when I was making it!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It sounds silly now, but I didn’t realise working in film was an actual job you could do until I graduated from University with a Graphic Design degree! I do however feel I am doing what I was always supposed to do, and was going to find my way here eventually. Making films, stories, characters and creatures is something that has always been in my DNA since I was small and have always had a passion for film that was fuelled by the incredible film makers and stories who have inspired so many to do the same.

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

Jurassic Park! Scenes from this film are some of my earliest memories, and fuelled my love for dinosaurs. I have totally lost count of how many times I have watched the film and I consistently burnt holes in my video tapes from watching it on repeat and have continued to do the same with my DVDs! I have no idea how often they have had to be replaced, but it is, in my opinion, the best film of all time, totally faultless and I will never tire of watching it!

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

Film Freeway was a great platform to apply to the Female FEEDBACK Film Festival. It allows you to create a film package with all the information about your production in one place, for everyone to access, and allows you to apply for festivals worldwide in one place.

9. What is your favorite meal?

This is probably the hardest question as I love so many different foods, I don’t think I could ever truly pick one! The ones I can definitely say fighting it out at the top are: Sunday roasts with my family’s gravy recipe (very British with a not-so-British twist that makes it utterly delicious!) the mac and cheese I make with my sister and a tofu and peanut noodle dish I love to make regularly that is fresh, creamy and zingy all at the same time! I also love cake. There is always time for baking cakes!

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

I am continuing to work as a creature and character FX Artist in the film industry, and am currently developing plans for new stop motion sequences for Steve, as well as a new short featuring a new character I have wanted to introduce to the world for some time! I am excited to see where my stop motion journey takes me – this is only the beginning!

By matthewtoffolo

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

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