"IF YOU HAVE A STORY THAT YOU RELATE TO AND THAT YOU WANT TO TELL, THEN THE ODDS ARE THAT THERE IS SOMEONE OUT THERE THAT WILL RELATE TO IT AS WELL."

Cole Stevenson
Melted Hearts
Screening Session: BLOCK 2  
3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival Online
22-28 Feb 2021 | Tickets £5 / £10 Full 7-Day Pass: bit.ly/PRFF-Tickets
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A snowman who is tired of being on his own decides to "make" a friend in this CG animation which pays homage to classic stop motion films

Hi Cole thank you for talking to TNC, how are you holding up during these very strange times?

Thank you for having me! I’m doing well, just trying to keep busy and focus on the things I can control.

Has this time offered you any creative inspiration?

I would say so! The entirety of this film was created during the first few months of the quarantine and I’ve already started on my next film.

Congratulations on having your film selected for the 3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of such an amazing lineup of short films?

It’s really a tremendous honour! I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to get to share my work with a wider audience.

Can you tell me a little bit about Melted Hearts, how did this film come about?

My film is an animated short called Melted Hearts about a snowman trying to make a friend. In it, I’m using 3D computer animation to mimic the style of classic stop motion, specifically the Rankin and Bass Christmas specials like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Even though there are enormous benefits to computer animation, there is still so much character and charm in traditional animation and the goal of this project was really to try and capture some of that.

What where the biggest challenges you faced brining your film to life?

The real challenge ended up being keeping everything from looking too clean. Part of the look of old stop motion is the imperfection; Fingerprints and smudged in the clay, little mistakes the animators make causing inconsistencies from frame to frame. These are all things that real stop motion animators try their best to avoid, but I had to find a way to add on purpose.

Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?

There are a million things. I have spent hundreds of hours critiquing the film and making changes to it, so it’s hard for me to now watch it and see anything but the little detail that maybe could be just a bit better. But you have to stop at some point otherwise I could work on this film forever and no one would ever get to see.

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

I have had an obsession with animation for as long as I can remember. Computer animation specifically is this incredible medium that brings together both art and technology. At their core animated films are nothing more than lines on a piece of paper or 1s and 0s in a computer, but when done right you forget all that and those 1s and 0s become real people that you care about and can relate to. For me that’s magical and I’ve never been able to get enough of it.

What has been some of the best advice you’ve been given?

It’s not really a specific piece of advice, but from a very early age my mother always distilled in me this idea that if I work hard enough at something there is nothing that’s impossible. I think that attitude has always served me very well

Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?

Of course! If you have a story that you relate to and that you want to tell, then the odds are that there is someone out there that will relate to it as well.  So the only real boundary is the amount of imagination and passion you have.

"If there’s a film you really want to make then the only thing stopping you is yourself. What have you got to lose?"

Do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?

I think the best advice I can offer is to just go and tell your story. If there’s a film you really want to make then the only thing stopping you is yourself. What have you got to lose?

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Melted Hearts?

At the end of the day I just hope that they’re touched by it in some way. We tell stories to try and connect with people, so if someone can take a break from this crazy world just for a couple of minutes to share a real human moment with the characters I’ve created, then I will consider this film a success.

© 2021 The New Current