With the Mon 4 July deadline for entries to this year’s DepicT! – Watershed’s super short film competition – beginning to loom on the cinematic horizon, we decided to catch up with director Rosa Fisher, one of last year’s DepicT! winners, to get her insights into what it takes to be successful DepicT! filmmaker.
DepicT! prides itself on both the quality of its films and the filmmakers who submit them. Some of our entrants are seasoned directors, enticed by the filmmaking challenges of DepicT’s uniquely constrained format. But not all of our shortlisted filmmakers come with a high level of experience before they enter.
Take a look at Animator Rosa Fisher’s bite-sized gem Conformity Juice for example – originally a 2nd year university project – which scooped her the DepicT! ’15 Random Acts Award after drawing praise from the Jury for its surreal originality and apparent simplicity in disguising big ideas.
Here’s what Rosa had to say about getting started, how to improve, and the doors that DepicT! can open…
Can you describe your winning DepicT! film for us and how you came up with the idea?
Conformity Juice explores ideas of group identity and social norms. It grew out of frustrations that I had felt with groups that prescribe strict sets of rules and ideas, concentrating on group thought rather than the thoughts and opinions of individuals. The film is about embracing difference, stepping away from the crowd and discovering what it takes to break the mould.
What drew you to the DepicT! 90 second format?
I think ultra short films are wonderful. It forces you to refine your idea, so that it can come across clearly in a short space of time. There is no time to overcomplicate things, and I think that makes for brilliant films.
How did you find the making of your DepicT! film?
This was such an enjoyable project for me. I was venting my annoyance about conformist ideas in society, so it was quite cathartic to make in that way!
What was your level of experience before submitting to DepicT?
Conformity Juice was my final project for the second year of my degree in animation, so I was just at the beginning my animation journey. Making this film really helped clarify to me who I want to be as a filmmaker, and confirmed that animation is what I really love doing.
What have you been up to since your DepicT! success? Where did the competition take you?
Since DepicT! I have been enjoying the third year of my course, and having fun learning more about the wonderful world of animation. Conformity Juice was screened at a variety of festivals off the back of DepicT!, and as part of my award, will be part of the new Random Acts series which is coming out in May. I also got to meet and be interviewed by actor and comedian Eric Wareheim as part of this as he is the host of the Random Acts series. It was great to meet him – he is such a hilarious person!
Can you sum up why DepicT! is important to emerging filmmakers?
DepicT! is a brilliant way of getting your work out into the world, it has a very nurturing feel to it and acts as a great platform. It differs from other festivals in that it also shows the films online, offering another way for people to access your work. It is also so great to be able to go there and meet so many other lovely filmmakers!
What would be your top tip for this year’s DepicT! entrants?
The most important thing to remember when making films, is that you should make what excites you, and your enjoyment of the project should be the number one priority. I think this is always so much more successful than trying to fit yourself into what you think you should be doing.
DepicT! ’16 is currently open for entries. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a big budget or a teeny tiny one; whether you specialise in live action, animation or documentary; whether you live for horror, comedy or romance; or hail from Korea, Chile or Belgium – so as long as your film is less than a minute and a half long. It’s completely free to enter and there’s up to £2500 prize money, invaluable industry exposure as part of Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival, plus other exclusive prizes up for grabs. So get making!