Interview with Filmmaker/Animator Christine Banna (SING ABOUT IT)

SING ABOUT IT was the winner of BEST FILM at the September 2021 BLACK & WHITE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I was approached by singer Moira Smiley and asked to collaborate on the music video for one of the debut songs off her new album “In Our Voices”. This new album was in itself a collaboration between herself and acapella group VOCO (Karla Mundy, Dawn Pemberton, Jake Asaro, and Gregory Fletcher). I took a listen to the demo track she provided and listened to some of her previous work and fell in love. The song “Sing About It” felt so powerful and I instantly was on board.

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

This project was definitely a sprint to the finish line to make it in time for the release – from conception to finish was just over two months. About halfway through the animation process, I realized it was actually impossible for me to finish in time for the release date so I was incredibly lucky to recruit three talented animators who jumped in to assist me with some of the coloring passes (Bridget Toner, R. Lee, and Ariel Grubb).

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

Clarion Call

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

Really it was just time. Moira was amazing to work with and collaborate with through the whole process. The animation pipeline went smoothly and the aesthetic and planning just felt easy and natural – which isn’t always the case with some films.

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

It was wonderful to hear feedback especially since this film was made fully during the pandemic. I have not been able to attend any festivals that “Sing About It” has been accepted into so it was especially impactful with the absence of any organic or personal interactions I would’ve been able to experience otherwise. Thank you!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I came to filmmaking a bit later in life. I have always loved the moving image and gravitated towards it even from a young age but didn’t put two and two together to consider that I could make films myself. I studied painting in my undergrad and worked in still photography quite a bit and it was a couple of years after I graduated that I made the leap from still photography to videography. From there when I went to grad school I intended on focusing specifically on video art but took an animation class for fun. I fell in love with animation and how inclusive a discipline it was (challenging me and literally using all my diverse skills and knowledge) and haven’t looked back since!

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

Oh wow hmmmmmmm well I’m a big fan of Christmas movies and will watch them in the background on loop every year so probably either “Die Hard” or “Home Alone 1 & 2” is my honest answer.

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

I love FilmFreeway as a platform! It makes it so easy to organize your submissions and to be more efficient with your time with submitting your film. As an educator, I think it also helps take away the mystique of applying for festivals for students who are just starting their festival journeys.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Meal of the day? I’m a big fan of a hardy and savory dinner.

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

I am currently working on an experimental direct-on-film animated short that has been in production on and off for a few years now. I do have freelance and collaborations that tend to take priority, but I am excited to jump back into that project since it is relatively close to being finished.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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