Interview with Filmmaker Margie Kelk (ALUCINAR)

ALUCINAR, 5min., Canada, Animation
Directed by Margie Kelk, Lynne Slater
In a cold, lonely world, where buildings are like icebergs and people drift past each other on ice floes, Guy imagines belonging to a colony of penguins. From his window, he sees May, who also dreams of penguins. Inspired by the courage of penguins plunging off an ice floe into the unknown, he jumps off his own doorstep. Traversing dark waters, he searches the city’s streets looking for May. Connecting through their love of penguins, Guy and May are transformed. Overcoming their isolation, they face their world together.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Lynne Slater, with whom I have been collaborating to produce short stop-motion films for the past five years, saw the little ceramic heads I had been making in my art practice and wanted to create a film with them. Two trips to Antarctica drew me into the world of penguins, and I sent Lynne videos my son had taken of the penguins while visiting South Georgia and other islands in Antarctica. Lynne and I also talked about the loneliness people had experienced during the shut-down of Toronto at the time of covid. Together these factors inspired us to create a story where lonely people find solace and identity in a world of penguins which inspires them, in turn, to share life’s experiences with each other.

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

It took three years, more or less, to make the film. Because of covid, Lynne and I were not able to meet in person and move the heads around in stop-motion. We were forced to rely on computer programming to do much of what we might have done if we had been able to actually meet.

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

In two words, my film might be described as a stop-motion fantasy.

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

The worst obstacle Lynne and I faced in completing this film was our inability to get together in person to decide how and when to move the heads around on our set. We did communicate through Zoom, but it definitely was not the same.

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

My initial reaction while watching the audience talking about the film was one of absolute delight. I got to see how positive the viewers felt about the film, and how they understood what Lynne and I were trying to show through the music and the video imagery.

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

About five years ago, a friend saw the heads I was making out of clay and suggested that I animate them. She introduced me to Lynne, and from there on all is history!

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

Casablanca might be the film I like most in life. I don’t know how many times I have seen it.

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

I think that by creating podcasts and reviews, either on film or in print, you will have done a fair bit to help me get my film “out there.” Also, the fact that you are allowing others world-wide to watch Alucinar will give it better publicity than it would usually get in a film festival. I think you are doing a good job!

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

Film Freeway is very easy to use and has been very satisfactory as a platform both to introduce me to new festivals and to facilitate the submission process to get into them. The only thing it does not do is offer information about the size and reputation of each festival it lists.

10. What is your favorite meal?

I have lots of favourite meals, but I must say I really enjoy a good spaghetti carbonara paired with a nice salad.

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

Lynne and I are already talking about a new film we are thinking of making using aluminum bird sculptures and ink drawings I have produced. What will the story be? No idea yet! We’ll wait until the materials dictate what they will present.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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