"Short on Minutes, Long on Talent" Annecy 2012 review by Ellen Wolf
Being Bradford Dillman gets a very nice little mention in the article! Thank you!
As Aguilar observes about many shorts, “If you’re limited in how you can make your film, you become much more creative. You have to figure out how to tell your story in ways that aren’t conventional, because you can’t afford it. It forces you to be more stylized, and not just rely on tools. By doing something different, you stand the possibility of standing out.”
That certainly describes what happened to British director Emma Burch in making her cut-out animated short Being Bradford Dillman. Burch had an unconventional tale—about a girl whose inebriated mother tells her she’d been born a boy. The filmmaker hoped to use puppet animation, but that was too expensive, as was CG. Then Burch and her collaborator, illustrator Pete Williamson, saw the cut-out animation of Daniella Orsini.
“It was a perfect way to stick with Pete’s illustrations,” explains Burch. “We just printed them and supplied Daniella with the different elements that she needed to make the characters move.”
Being Bradford Dillman
For months, the filmmakers toiled in the basement of a hairdresser’s shop, which was all they could afford.
“Poor Daniella barely saw daylight,” admits Burch, who was also working a full-time job. Their cut-out animation was shot against green-screen and composited in Adobe After Effects against photographed backgrounds. Those sets contained doll furniture Burch found on eBay. “That furniture created huge headaches for the cameraman, because he had to light things at 12th scale.” The film was finished 10 long years after Burch conceived her original idea, yet she and Williamson still hope to take these characters further—into a feature film. “Even,” vows Burch, “if it takes me another 10 years!”
Such dedication often marks the backstories of short film production, and gaining exposure at Annecy provides prestigious recognition.