This animated oil-on-glass and live action documentary is centered on the campaign in Sierra Leone to get a 30% quota of women in parliament. Titles in the film explain that women took a key role in negotiating the peace process at the end of an 11 year civil war, however since then female politicians have had to deal with intimidation and misogyny as they navigate the political sidelines.
Animated Documentary reported on ‘30%’ in the early stages of production back in February 2012 and again once the film was finished and publicised by The Guardian in January 2013. And we liked it so much we felt it was worth reviewing too.
The animated sequences possess a luscious mixture of figurative and abstract imagery found most commonly in impressionism. Paint swims across the screen, smudging and slipping its sensual gloopy material around our vision with all the vibrancy of the region it refers to.
The metamorphic nature of the animated medium lends itself to turbulent tonal changes that take place in the opening sequence. The viewer zips though a busy Sierra Leone street into a viscous black void where we pass burning cars, violent gestures and feel the echoes of civil war. These melting edits are brought to great effect when combined with snappy sound design.
Following visual and audio darkness the screen literally swirls into the shape of Dr. Bernadette Lahai, one of the key political figures pushing forward the 30% quota bill. The rotoscoped image dissolves into live action. My feeling is that several of the video sequences possess considerably less flair than their animated counterparts. Such an uneven aesthetic could be said to threaten the impact of the short; but here it might be worth considering how disorientating an entirely rotoscoped 10 minute short could have been. Instead animation is reserved for storytelling and live action covers the communication of important details.
This film is fruitful both in its visuals and content. As a documentary the short conveys an under-reported theme in an engaging manor, while the animated sections are sumptuous in their appeal. At Animated Documentary we are always pleased to see such formal beauty and journalistic professionalism combined harmoniously!
Project in progress – an animation and documentary project with a participatory focus made with a group of school children in Mlali, a village in Tanzania, East Africa. We look forward to seeing the outcome, here’s a little about their project:
Central to the project will be an ethic of collaboration, where a group of community members will be encouraged, through the use of small camcorders, to document life as they see it. We will carry out animation, character design and story telling classes in the school, and characters designed by the children will feature in the final cut. The completed film will be made up of the community’s footage, material detailing the filming process and the animation. Because of this format, we will go to Tanzania, not with a set story line or definite point of interest, but with a framework through which community members can develop their own narratives and express their own interests and stories.
The final film, edited and produced partly in Mlali with community members, will consist of an intersection of these narratives, both in film and animated format. On returning to the UK, by entering the film into festivals and shows, we hope to reflect to a global audience a genuine portrayal of every-day life in East Africa, as well as the creativity and vibrancy that exists there.