ECLOSION played to rave reviews at the October 2019 Experimental/Dance/Music Festival in Toronto.
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Jenny Ni: Coming from an Asian culture background, light skin, skinny body and big eyes are considered as the classic standard of beauty. Although I wasn’t overweight, I grew up receiving negative comments about my appearance and body shape. I was obsessed over the idea that being skinnier will make me more popular among others. Funny enough, just like most teenagers, I’ve tried several medicine secretly to lose weight. It’s not until I come to Canada, my perspective towards beauty was changed. Oversized girls walk confidently on the street and they seem to be proud in their own skins. The openness to diversities makes me realized beauty isn’t always about outside and even though your appearance changed, it does’t necessarily mean the society is going to accept you any better. I wanted to send a message to all the insecure people out there, especially women, to stay true to yourself no matter what you’re going through.
Meanwhile, I wanted to be critical about the bubble world we’re living in. The difficulty to reveal your true self in front of others for the fear of losing them because once they know who you truly are, there’s a higher possibility that they will see you differently.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
It took us 4 months in total to finish Eclosion from pre-production to post-production.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
Emotional and Inspirational
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
My biggest obstacle throughout the process of creating Eclosion is the reveal of the main character, Ann transforming into a cocoon. My production designer and I had brainstormed a various way to create the cocoon look but we weren’t sure about its practicality. It’s not until I came across a picture of sock dance on Pinterest that we decided it would be wise to incorporate sock dance as our inspiration and apply the same idea to Eclosion. Our concept is to use a light, breathe through material and stitched it into a pouch attached our actress’ costume at the back. The pouch was designed with an zip opening. At a certain point of the dance, she will sit down and grab the pouch from her back , step in to cover her entire body with it. We want to make sure the weight of the fabric won’t influence her dance move and when she’s in the cocoon, she has enough space to breathe through. Therefore, my production designer and I spent a lot of time picking the most suitable fabric for this specific shot. The result came out better than I expected. On camera, this shot is breathtaking.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Although I’m used to receiving comments from my friends about the work I’ve done so far. Seeing them on screen is a whole another experience. Especially knowing the viewers are watching my film from another city, it made me excited but also nervous. Excited in a way that I’m glad I’m able to deliver my message to a boarder audience group. Nervous because this is the first time that my film is being screened in a downtown theatre.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
To be fully honest with you. I was going through a really hard time with myself at a certain point last year. Before I created Eclosion, I was stressed over the idea that there will be no path for an international filmmaker here after I graduated from school. There are times that I skipped class just to slept in. I don’t want to engage much with my friends and I purposely distanced myself from them because I see myself as a bad influence on them. One day in our acting class, my friend commented on how people are hiding behind a shield, afraid to be see through, or accepted for who they are. I burst down crying after hearing that. I’ve had enough of hiding my emotions within, it’s time to let them all out. My friends were shocked seeing me cry in front of the whole class. They came up to me and asked how I was doing. I could genuinely feel the love that I got from my class and how unnecessary for me to put on a mask in front of them.
Soon after, I came up with the idea of a caterpillar evolve into a butterfly. My experience has enrich my mindset towards being vulnerable and show off your true self.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
I adore all David Fincher’s films, especially the one that got me into psychological thriller—Gone Girl. This film is a great example where director mindfully place the clues and let the viewer figure out themselves. He’s also playing around with the timeline of the film which leads to the plot twist in the end. It’s also the very first time that I saw such a strong female lead playing a cold hearted “killer”. Therefore, these unique elements combined made up my favourite film of all time.
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
The website for FilmFreeway has a really clear design and it makes my submission super easy. Although I would like to ask to improve on the security for managing linked bank accounts on site. One time my producer mistakenly used my credit card for the payment and I had no idea where my money went until he told me.
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
I love a classic duet between female and male artists. Best Part by Daniel Caesar and H.E.R is my go to Karaoke song and on a side note, I started singing since I was in middle school. The jazzy, R&B vibe warms my heart with their lovely harmony. This is one of those songs that made me want to find a lover an run away with him to the sea.
10. What is next for you? A new film?
I’m currently in school finishing my diploma in Arts at Capilano University but I’d love to get back to film as soon as I can. There’s a few scripts I’ve been working on for a long time and it would be fascinating to see them on screen. Apart from that, I’m also working on creating a new YouTube channel focusing on styling and music since those are two of my other passions. I’ve been also thinking of directing music videos for local artists just to connect with more talents and get to know the music industry as well.