Becky Bailey recently made her directing debut with the animated short film, Little World. It’s a stunningly beautiful film that uses all the visual possibilities that animation offers to make a deaf girl’s world at a boarding school come to life.
Although it’s only 7 minutes long, Little World took months to make, and was written by Becky’s partner, Ted Evans. Little World has just won its first award at the Irish Deaf Film Festival, so we spoke to Becky to find out all the background on making the film.
Why did you make an animated film, and how is this different from making a live-action film?
My partner Ted Evans was researching deaf history in Hackney and had a book of old beautiful photographs from Hommerton Deaf School. It was very interesting to see the black and white photos of the children in 1920s clothes and the general atmosphere.
There would be no budget to film a story set in this time so Ted suggested I try an animation project via the Zoom Scheme, so I thought why not! With animation you can draw what you like, from any angle, no filming permission needed!
It’s hard to imagine and picture what it was like back in that time. There was no Internet, no text messaging, no fax, and it must have been difficult to see and find deaf people outside school. As we know the deaf community is very important to deaf people.
It took us over two months. We spent so many hours working through on weekends. The first month was lots of designing, drawing the characters, storyboards and animatics.
I filmed a couple of young deaf girls to use as reference for the animation and we went to Frank Barnes School to record some audio of the children playing in the playground.
The second month was mainly sending 17 hard drives to 17 animators all over the world. Each 3 seconds (83 shots) took animators roughly 10 days to work on. I would then have to send feedback and it would go back and fourth!
How long have you been drawing for? Does art/drawing run in the family?
I have always been fond of drawing and illustration all my life. No, art runs in Ted’s family, not mine. Our two daughters like drawing and making things!
How do you feel about the final film?
Unbelievable! At the start, I couldn’t imagine what it would look like or what the development of the animation would be like but now I can see it and it’s amazing. I feel very proud of my wonderful team. They are all fantastic.
What’s it like to win your first award?
I was quite surprised that ‘Little World’ got the ‘Best Experimental’ award at the Irish Deaf Film Festival. It was our first festival! My team worked very hard and showed a lot of passion. I really appreciate all the hard work they put in.
You can see Little World in full at this link: http://www.bslzone.co.uk/bsl-zone/zoom-2012-little-world/
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
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