15th BFI FUTURE FILM FESTIVAL 2022 
17-20 February 
Interview

Céline Ufenast 
@Scroll_Alice 

Section: Through the Looking Glass
celineufenast.com

A film about our love-hate relationship with Instagram and our photo-editing mania. 

 

Hey Céline, thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?

 

I have tried to keep myself very busy! I am currently doing a Master’s in Global Media Industries in London. 

 

Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration or opportunities?

 

I think this break has allowed me to reflect on why I love filmmaking, what I don’t like about it and where it may take me in the future. After working on my graduation film almost entirely in lockdown, I was glad to step away from animation for a while. Now I am excited to get back into it after my master’s! 

 

What does it mean to be screening @Scroll_Alice at the 15th BFI Future Film Festival?

 

It’s incredible. At times I struggle to believe that people at the BFI have seen it, let alone enjoyed it, and that so many people will watch my film during the festival. 

 

@Scroll_Alice is going to be in the Through the Looking Glass of the festival, will there be any nerves ahead of the festival?

 

I feel a healthy amount of stress, I’m excited: I want to hear what people think of it and I am really looking forward to the festival experience.

 

Can you tell me a little bit about how your Graduation Film @Scroll_Alice came about, what was the inspiration behind your film?

 

I have always been fascinated by the relationship between my generation’s self-image and our self-portrayal in the public sphere, especially on online platforms. ‘@scroll_alice’ was certainly a cathartic project; it’s inspired by my friends’ and my own love-hate relationship with Instagram.

 

When working on a short film like this how close where you able to keep to your screenplay once you started shooting, did you allow yourself much flexibility?

 

I know my best ideas arise as I improvise, so I made a lot of space for that in my schedule. I struggle to think of every detail ahead, as my favourite shots have always been unplanned ones, that’s why I enjoy making experimental films... I know the film will evolve as I make it. I also knew my last year was very likely to be in lockdown, and I did not want to be stuck at any point of the production for something out of my control, so I decided from the start not to put too much pressure on the initial ideas and schedule. 

[_scroll Alice] CELINE_UFENAST_SCROLL_ALICE_STILL05.jpg

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced bringing @Scroll_Alice to life?

The biggest challenge was working through nearly six months of lockdown; I feel like a big part of my creative practice benefits from the people who surround me, and hardly ever being able to interact or exchange feedback with my peers and tutors definitely impacted my creativity. We also didn’t have any access to the facilities, so I had to strategically adapt my technique as I knew I would have to rely on just my laptop for every aspect of the film. 

 

Since making @Scroll_Alice what has been the most valuable lesson you have taken from making this film and will you continue to write/direct short films?

 

It helped me realise I gravitate towards digital media, themes of obsessions, anxieties and repressed feelings that either I have experienced and/or witnessed in people around me. In that sense, making @scroll_alice confirmed that I am always drawn to real-life experiences: I may play with them, manipulate and distort them, but it has to start from something genuine and personal. 

 

It also taught me to follow my instincts… I used to think any advice was to be followed, but it may not always be the case. Don’t get me wrong, I always listen to feedback and criticism, but the key to balance for me was learning when to take it and when not to. 

 

Whether it is animating or not, I think I will continue to make films. It has become my language to express intimate feelings. 

 

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

I love how universal images can be, often without the need for words. I think what draws me to animation is that it perfectly combines visual language, storytelling and little magic. 

 

Do you think filmmakers should continue to push the boundaries of the stories they want to tell?

It depends on what you mean by boundaries. If it is the topics of the stories we tell, probably not. Mundane and simple things can be told in new and extraordinary ways too. I’d say the boundaries we need to push are the ones that define standard ways of practice. 

[_scroll Alice]CELINE_UFENAST_SCROLL_ALICE_STILL03.jpg

"Keep searching for new forms of content, watch the crazy stuff; the things that you wouldn’t even categorise as animation."

For anyone out there thinking about getting into animation do you have any tips or advice you would offer them? 

I know a lot of people first become passionate about animation because of Disney, cartoons or Anime. All are amazing forms of animation, but sometimes one can miss out on what doesn’t match those styles or industries. Keep searching for new forms of content, watch the crazy stuff; the things that you wouldn’t even categorise as animation. Most importantly, try many things and be kind to yourself: if you’re not enjoying it, don’t do it. 

 

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from @Scroll_Alice?

 

I wanted my film to have many layers of interpretation, so I never really share what it means to me. I like the fact that everyone can decide what to make of it. Whether it’s positive or negative, all I hope is that it sparked some thought or emotion in the viewer.