Five Questions With... Jamy Wheless (THE PIG ON THE HILL)

In the kids’ short THE PIG ON THE HILL, narrated by Pierce Brosnan, Pig and Duck are next-door neighbors, but worlds apart.

We spoke with filmmaker Jamy Wheless about the film. Read more with him below, and bring the whole family to the screening on Saturday, June 22 at 9am!

NFF: Please say a little about your inspiration for the film.

JAMY: The inspiration of the film came from the children's book written by John Kelly.  We fell in love with the two characters and the message of how to simply "get along". Personally, growing up with "barriers" in my life, the "bridge" is symbolic of how we should reach out and be intentional in each other's lives. No walls, just bridges!

NFF: Why do you enjoy working in animation to express your vision? 

JAMY: Animation is the highest possible art form in my perspective. You have the ability to tell any story with any type of character. It transcends through any judgements and allows not only the creators but also the audiences to connect and relate universally.

NFF: What do you find the biggest advantages and challenges of making a short as opposed to a feature?

JAMY: The biggest advantages of making a short is time and money. Feature Films can take up to 4 years to produce and can prove costly. But short films allow the opportunity to complete a story, finance it, distribute it, and show that you have the ability to tell a story worth telling. The disadvantage is that it forces you to condense a story arc into less than ten minutes which is probably a good thing.

NFF: What are you working on currently, and/or where can we see more of your work?

JAMY: We are currently in development working on another children's TV series that we hope to partner with a distributor by end of this year. We are also working on an Augmented Reality project that is exciting. And we are currently in talks with a Distributor for "The Pig on the Hill" TV series that we are super excited about!

NFF: Why are you excited to screen in Nantucket, and/or what do you hope Nantucket audiences might relate to or takeaway from the film?

JAMY: I had hoped we would be joining everyone at the Nantucket Film Festival but logistically we couldn't make it work. Nantucket is one of the most beautiful places in the world and a favorite spot that my wife and I love to visit. Our daughter went to Rhode Island School of Design and we traveled out there many times and enjoyed the surrounding areas.

Our hope is that the Nantucket audience will walk away with a smile. And both children and adults will be encouraged to work through their differences and build authentic, lifelong friendships!

Five Questions With... Nölwenn Roberts (SAM'S DREAM)

In SAM’S DREAM, a small mouse decides to pursue his crazy dream: flying with swallows.

We spoke to Writer/Director Nölwenn Roberts, whose short film SAM’S DREAM will play in “Kids Shorts” on Saturday, June 22 at 9am. Read more with Nölwenn, and bring your family to see her film (and more!) on the 22nd!

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NFF: Please say a little about your inspiration for the film.

NÖLWENN: I started by just a drawing of a mouse, without thinking it would become a short film. Then a friend asked me why the mouse was going to do and I started imagining his life, by that time I was listening to the music of a film called BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. The music is amazing and it helped me imagining the story of a mouse who wants to fly.

NFF: Why do you enjoy working in animation to express your vision?

NÖLWENN: First, I always loved drawing. Then I discovered that I could tell stories with drawings, and make movies with it ! Now I think, as directors, animation allows us to "free" our imagination, I may not have think about this story the way I did if we made a live action film. 

NFF: What do you find the biggest advantages and challenges of making a short as opposed to a feature?

NÖLWENN: I think the challenge of a short film is to tell a compelling story in less than 10 minutes so we don't always have the time to develop a big character arc like in a feature. But the time we have on a feature can also be challenging as we can easily lose the storyline by wanting to explore lots of different aspects of the characters and relationships and it makes it hard to stay focus on what we want to tell. In this, it's much easier to keep our storyline by making a short film.

NFF: What are you working on currently, and/or where can we see more of your work?

NÖLWENN: I am currently working as a storyboard artist at Illumination on SING 2. You can see some of my personal work on my tumblr or instagram: https://nolwenn-roberts.tumblr.com/ | @nolwenn.roberts.art

NFF: Why are you excited to screen in Nantucket, and/or what do you hope Nantucket audiences might relate to or takeaway from the film?

NÖLWENN: SAM’S DREAM is about making your dreams come true, but also connecting with people and making friends, I hope audiences in Nantucket will relate to this!

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Five Questions With... Paloma Baeza, Writer/Director of POLES APART

In a harsh Arctic landscape, a hungry and solitary polar bear (voice of Helena Bonham Carter) has to decide whether a naïve grizzly bear is her food or her friend. 

POLES APART is playing with Kids Shorts on Saturday, June 23 at 9am. We spoke with Writer/Director about this delightful, animated short film - read more with Paloma below, and bring your family to the program on Saturday morning!

PALOMA BAEZA

PALOMA BAEZA

NFF: Can you talk a little about your inspiration for the film?

PALOMA: We read a news article which described a helicopter view over a white Arctic landscape. There amid the white, a distant dark figure moved across the ice - a Grizzly Bear.  The piece talked about how the melting Arctic ice, a consequence of global warming, was bringing Grizzlies and Polar Bears together, sometimes producing hybrid bears.  Polar Bears are struggling to find food as the ice diminishes and can be seen desperately thin, hunting whatever they can find.  This seemed an interesting backdrop for a story about an unlikely friendship.  

NFF: Why do you like to use animation to tell stories, rather than live action?

PALOMA: We both come from a live-action background.  Using animation, live action, or a hybrid of both, should be dictated by the story and what it requires.  Animation offers a huge amount of freedom in terms of the kind of stories you can tell, since you can take things to magical, surreal, unexpected places.  Like talking bears in the Arctic! 

NFF: How did you connect with your wonderful voice actors / were the roles written for them?

PALOMA: The roles weren’t written for them, but we were incredibly lucky to get such perfect bears.  Joseph May is an old friend and colleague, and will often read my scripts at an early stage to give me his opinion.  When he read Poles Apart, he immediately asked if he could play the grizzly.  In some ways I may as well have written it for him - he was the perfect fit, with his Canadian roots and brilliant comic timing. Helena Bonham Carter instantly loved the script and wanted to help us.  She was very generous with her time,  and tried different voices until we found the right one for a grumpy Nanuk.  

NFF: Did you face any challenges or surprises while filming?

PALOMA: Keeping a stop-motion set going is always challenging, and we didn’t make life easy for ourselves by writing a script that required a blizzard, trees growing in an ice cave, a falling cliff, expanses of water...you name it.  The toughest shots were the long complex ones, which sometimes required animating through the night over days to keep the set conditions stable. The end shot was done with another animator and I taking shifts so we could get a few hours sleep between animating.  

NFF: Why are you excited to screen in Nantucket, and/or what do you hope Nantucket’s audiences might relate to or takeaway from the film?

PALOMA: It’s a fantastic festival with a great programme.  We hope audiences will enjoy the absurd humour of the film, while absorbing the very real background story of our changing landscape.