Interview with Filmmaker/Animator Georgia Burnell (UNWOUND)

UNWOUND was the winner of BEST ANIMATION at the September 2021 Animation Film Festival.

What motivated you to make this film?

I created Unwound as my final year major project at university studying illustration and animation. As I was coming up with ideas for a film I could create, I found Amazon Prime’s Undone, and became fascinated by the use of rotoscoping to create a show that was able to integrate the main character’s internal world and reality in a way that I feel visual effects just couldn’t achieve quite as seamlessly. Watching the show, combined with my own experiences of being diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, being overwhelmed with the pandemic, and seeing how women have been disproportionately affected by job losses throughout the pandemic, formed the main themes in the film.

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

The entire film from pre-production took around ten months. As the film was for the final project for my university degree, I had to film all of the live-action footage and rotoscope it in less than three months, drawing every frame by hand. It was a challenge, but definitely showed me what I could do!

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

Overwhelming plushies

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

Having to film live-action footage in my house to rotoscope was difficult as I didn’t have a huge space to work with and really wanted some of the animation to be set in a city. I found though that having to be confined to only using that space helped me see how I can use animation and rotoscoping to create this strange space that sits just between fantasy and reality, where I can create whatever I can imagine with enough creative thought and innovation.

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

I first watched it in silence early in the morning as I was too excited to wait to see it! Even without hearing what the audience had to say I was really amazed that the animation was being watched by so many people. Watching it again and hearing what they had to say reinforced this, and I really appreciated all of their thoughtful comments!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I used to be really interested in fine art photography and the idea of compositing different images together, and have always been interested in how these images could allow me to create stories. It wasn’t until I got to university and took an illustration and animation degree that I started to look at the work of rotoscope animator Shishi Yamazaki and realized that I could make these photos move to really explore the worlds I wanted to create.

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

Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton is one of my favourite authors and I’d love to create a science fiction film like it!

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

I think it’s a really great platform to be able to connect with people from all over the world, and allows new filmmakers to have so many amazing opportunities.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Probably either tuna and avocado in a salad or pizza

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

I’ve just finished my first commission creating an animation for a Greek film festival which has been incredible, and I’m now aiming to start pre-production on a new rotoscoped film, written by my sister who aims to be a writer/director. So far it’s about showing the dreams and goals that have been unable to be achieved by people because of the pandemic, as a way to highlight its impact and bring hope that these dreams can maybe still be reached.

I’m also working on some commissions and developing my rotoscope animation skills, which I show on my Instagram @cosmic_illustrations

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