Interview with Animator/Filmmaker Young Son (FINALLY I FOUND YOU)

FINALLY I FOUND YOU was the winner of BEST ANIMATION film at the December 2021 ENVIRONMENTAL Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

When I was taking care of the soil last Spring for my garden, there was a roly poly as busy as I was. It caught my attention and I started observing it. It was very cute. While I was watching it where it was going and how it was moving, I felt a ‘life’ with it. We humans just started having a difficult time dealing with the virus and had to stay home(Shelter-in-place) and this tiny little bug was having its own time of his life where he belonged, so freely.

He was scared of me and rolled up when he noticed that I was observing him but then since I did not have any intention of harming him, he was back to play mode and wandering around near me as if I was not there. I guess I was ignored by a bug.

Then when he disappeared underground, I started imagining where he would be, whom he’d be with and what he would do since I could not follow him going under the ground.

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

It took me about 1 year.

I worked about 3-5hours a day. While working on it, waiting for the inspiration to be more concrete was the longest part, I guess. I improvised a lot too, until I felt comfortable with what was going on for each scene.

The method to make the film was also labor intensive. Since the textures and imperfections that are created on the paper are more interesting to me, I wanted to bring these visual elements to my film. So I created graphic assets on paper first and bring them to Photoshop, then created animation in Toonboom Harmony. It took me a while to learn how to use the Toonboom Harmony. And at the end, layering audio and music was done in Premiere. I’ve been recording
sounds in my daily life.

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

Bug’s life.

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

The biggest one would be believing in myself and keep making it since I was working on my own. Making an animation film, a short film for me, is a long process and it’s a commitment. It’s like jumping in the swimming pool and I have to float and keep swimming till I can touch my destination with my hands. There is relief and joy when it’s completed.

So it really meant a lot to me when my film ‘Finally, I found you!’ was selected for the festival(s). And it’s awarded for the Environmental Film festival’s Best Animation, it gives me so much courage to go on for the next one. I’d like to thank you for your support, feedback and promotion for mine and other films.

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

I heard my heartbeat.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

When I watched a short film ‘Le Chat/The Cat’ by a graduate student from Ecole Emile Cohl in France. In 1997, I think. It was done on glass with oil painting. It was beautiful. While watching the film, there was a big exclamation mark in my heart. I’d love to see it again but can not find it online.

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

Spirited Away by Miyazaki Hayao.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Due to the Omicron virus, it is a difficult time to get together. When things are more in control and safe for people, it would be nice to have more chances to get connected with industry people in person, get together with the audience, funding and promote support for projects, and celebrate together for all the hard work!

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences working on the festival platform site?

It was great. It was very easy and simple to take part in.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Toasted warm baguette with goat or brie cheese and honey on it. And drinking latte in my favorite mug in the morning, while looking at and listening to my garden with my dog. I need to feed her first so that I can enjoy my favorite meal.

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

I started working on part 2 of the story of Tomo and Bobo.

It’s the following story of my first film ‘Finally I found you!’. The roly poly, Bobo was the guide to direct us to the underground. The part 2 will complete the whole story with few more characters coming in and it has more depth and scale. And of course, it’s a very environmentally friendly film. The whole purpose of making this film was to raise awareness for protecting nature for our future generation.

THE END

By matthewtoffolo

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

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