Interview with Filmmaker/Animator Yuyang Yan (BETWEEN WINGS AND SWINGS)

BETWEEN WINGS AND SWINGS was the winner of BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the July 2022 FEEDBACK Animation Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

“Between Wings and Swings” is my graduation film from Sheridan College. The conceptualization of the film was heavily influenced by the “Anne of Green Gables” series by Canadian author L.M. Montgomery. The kind of serene, slice-of-life ambiance present in Montgomery’s writing was partly what I wished to emulate. I wondered if I could also inspire the audience to appreciate the smaller things. After all, life is strung together with the smaller things.

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

The story, like every other, went through many iterations. After solidifying the story in 1-2 months, I executed the rest in 7 months, from November 2021 to April 2022.

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

Wings and Swings?!

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

Every stage in production had its own technical complications, but surprisingly, I find myself thinking that the largest hurdle was probably the feeling of “boredom” that sets in when the learning stops. For example, once I found my rhythm of animating in the software, it just be came “rinse and repeat” for the rest of the shots. When it was time to move on to the next stage of the pipeline, the fun begins again!

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

It was an incredible experience. I almost couldn’t believe it was happening. Because of the pandemic, I was never in the same room when people were seeing the film. I think this was my first time hearing an honest audience reaction. Hearing how the work made others feel was such a powerful and special moment.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

Having been influenced (perhaps a bit too much) by animated movies growing up, I wanted to help do something like this ever since I realized it is a possible career. However, only during this past year making “Between Wings and Swings” did I experience taking a film from concept to finish independently. Doing that, I found, brings a whole new level of satisfaction to the filmmaker.

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

I watched many animated movies over and over growing up. I think the original “Happy Feet” ranks on top. I still enjoy seeing it even as an adult.

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

It could be extremely wonderful if the filmmakers selected each month were able to watch the other selections and perhaps have the opportunity to talk with the other participants to discuss everyone’s filmmaking process and/or philosophy.

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

FilmFreeway is a convenient platform. I can upload a project with detailed files like subtitles or film stills and the whole package gets sent to every festival without a hitch. Selecting festivals become much simpler as well since the platform presents each festival with clear and through information.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Chinese hot-pot, without a doubt.

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

There is so much more to learn. I hope I can keep learning about storytelling, animation, design, and everything else! Perhaps in due time, it will amount to another film, because I truly enjoy making films.

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By matthewtoffolo

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

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