I’m having so much fun asking questions to Adri Dewo last month for the 5 Obstructions Blogathon, especially since i’m able to had a little peek behind the creative process of a filmmaker i admire. When Victoria Mather (director of Stanley Pickle and Humbug) put the link to her films’ reviews on my blog at her website, i was flailing like a dorky fangirl that i am (as proven in July Digest). Decided to push my luck, i asked her if she would be open for an interview. And she said yes! (Vicky, I think i’m gonna love you forever for that!)
So let’s see, what’s ticking behind the creative mind of the beautiful and talented Victoria Mather!
Can you tell me how you got started as a director/animator? Has it always been your passion in life?
I got my first job when I was 17 on a feature film shooting at Ealing Studios. I was the art dept assistant and remember an occasion when we were waiting for something to arrive in the office and I was sketching a glass of water, the art director turned to me and said ‘stop doing that- it’s pointless, here’s a script- read it and sketch it out shot by shot.’ – it was like someone plugged me in and turned the lights on.
I’ve seen Baking with Mother and Stanley Pickle, i think both have that grimness under that sweet, colorful style. Somehow it made me think of roald dahl stories. What or who inspired your stories?
Thank you that’s very flattering, I read a lot of Roald Dahl when I was a kid and still do. I gravitate towards the bittersweet simply because it’s in my nature, my sense of humour and I think basically- that’s life! Beneath all the candy coated nonsense there is truth. With Stanley Pickle I think everything I’d been working on prior to that informed how I was going to tell that particular story.
There are so many wonderful details in the art production of Stanley Pickle, do you think style are more important than substance when it come to animation?
For me, I think substance is always where you start, it’s your blueprint and it informs the visual- no question. However, if you are communicating visually, it’s such an opportunity to speak the unspeakable, with light, costume, props, and makeup to create a delicious feast for the eyes. You can trigger off thoughts and references that involve the audience even more so on many other levels of understanding, which can only be a good thing for your story.
I read in an interview that Stanley pickle was not originally intended to be played by actors. What inspired that changed of decision?
The thought of spending an entire year locked in a room full of puppets wasn’t the most exciting prospect and at the time, I felt really inspired by pixilation as a technique. For someone like me who had previously been working as a photographer, it felt natural and raw as well as fitting very nicely with our story and besides I like working with actors.
Humbug is your first non animated live action film that I know of. How does this experience compare to pixilation or stop motion animated feature? Is it more difficult? Which one did you prefer and allow you more creative edge?
Humbug was a new challenge for me and so far removed from the way I did Stanley Pickle. Stanley had a years worth of work on it. Humbug had just 2 weeks and a one day shoot. I really enjoyed the process, working with children and animals. I know the story is weak but we pulled off quite a challenge with very little resources. I had the best crew with some of the nicest people I’ve ever met and I felt blessed that Jean-Marc Petsas the composer was available to write an excellent soundtrack.
Stanley pickle gain immensely positive reaction and recognition, and it even got released on iTunes under Shorts International. What was the best thing you gain from this experience?
It’s still a dream, I can’t believe Stanley Pickle did so well as a student film and I am so thank full for the messages and positive reactions people have sent to the crew and I. Children give you the best feedback because they don’t lie, if you’ve done something terrible, they’ll tell you- no filter! I love that.
You shared your short film through Vimeo for free so people from around the world could access it. Do you think it’s a positive or a negative?
I love Vimeo, and sharing it there has been the most positive step for me, I wish I had had the opportunity to do it sooner- there is nothing better than sharing your art and stories with people when money isn’t in the equation. It just means you might have to be homeless. Hrmmm.
Last but not least can you tell us if you have any plan for new film in the near future?
I have a short film on the side that is still bubbling away, I don’t want to rush it, I love it and want to make it, hopefully I will be able to get some money together some how. I have a commercial job coming up too and some other cool things in the pipeline.
I’m looking forward to see future projects from Vicky Mather but for now you can view her finished projects and works on her vimeo page (including the adorable commercial for Lulu Guiness)! I hope she’ll continue to create and share her films (and hopefully won’t have to be homeless for it!). Super many thanks to Vicky Mather for her graciousness and agreeing to do an interview with KaramelKinema :D
VICTORIA MATHER. aka Vicky Mather. She is a multitalented new face whose work as a moving image director spans stop-frame animation and live- action. The graduation piece for her MA in Animation Directing, Stanley Pickle, has garnered substantial attention from press and festivals alike, earning Vicky more than 30 awards to date. In April 2012 Vicky was invited to be part of the Made in Britain screenings at the British Film Institute showcasing the next generation of British female filmmakers.
2010 Stanley Pickle
(all pictures are provided by Vicky Mather.)