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Director Biography – Anna Kong (SLIPPING IN TIME)

Auckland based animator, Anna Kong (20), recent graduate with Bachelor of Art and Design degree from Media Design School. Anna’s hard work has earned her a discretionary entry to tertiary studies, given that she was one of the award winners of the ‘MDS Bright Awards’. Prior to her tertiary studies she has practice in multiple art mediums such as graphic design, photography, sculpture and illustration. Being a movie enthusiast, Anna was inspired by her childhood obsession with animated features. She decided to pursue her passion in 3D animation and filmmaking, blending her skills and experiences in the search of a unique perspective on storytelling.

Director Statement

The original story was by Ben Milstein, our producer. Ben loved the aesthetics of the Tim Burton films as well as classical science fictions. We want to tell a love story in a new perspective, divert
from the tropes and stereotypes, because love is love. There were many hints and symbols designed throughout the film to emphasize their relationship turmoil, as we want the audience to feel the tension and share the emotional moments with the characters. In the film, Shelley’s ambition comes in the way of her marriage with Mary, and it is her very invention that became the cause of her tragic death. Shelley fights to bring Mary back, ultimately having to sacrifice her time machine and a little bit of herself to reunite with her wife. Being in 2020, with the many conflicts in the world, we have all been forced to reconsider the priorities in our lives, just as Shelley had done. Ultimately, as we all learn from our lives and characters: we make the choices that determine our lives, and who we are. Personally this project means more than just a film for me. I have grown with the film and learnt to take a fresh perspective on different relationships in life.

Slipping in Time faced many challenges in all stages of production. The story had countless reiterations, we had to compromise shots and ideas to make it achievable and still retain the core concept. Despite the struggles in pre-production, with each revision the story kept evolving into something that we all feel proud to be a part of. Working with Josephine (Audee) Halim, who adopted the Pixar-esque cartoony style characters, we knew from the very start that this film is going to be very stylized. Our team drew inspiration from ‘Paperman’ (Disney) and ‘Yona’ (Kevin “Teau” Rose & Gautier Alfirevic). The brushstroke effect enhances the cell-shaded look, and gives more variation and interest. We want to stay away from classic 3D, and develop a style of our own, because it is not a classic love story. In our minds, Shelley is building the Time Machine because she wants to travel forward in time, to an era where her love towards Mary can be accepted by society. This is also the reason why they live in a tower on the edge of a cliff, isolated and alone. It took a lot of hard work, many trials and errors, but in the end we accomplished what we set out to do.

I am beyond grateful to have my team with me in the 88 long nights we have spent together. Especially my producer and art director. It is rare to find people who share the same passion, even rarer to have a team with harmony personalities and work ethic. We knew the workload was going to be exhausting on all departments, but we loved our characters so much, and we were willing to pour all of our hearts and souls to perfect the film. Lastly, this experience has taught me that we only have so much time in this world. Work hard, believe in yourselves, make the most out of it and fill it with no regrets.

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