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BFI Future Film Festival 2023

Floor 43

On her late-night shift, an oblivious cleaner gets ready to clean and to bust some moves in the lawyer’s office. She cleans up the bad deeds of an intruder that has ravaged the office. 


Hi Sophya, it’s great to talk with you again, how has everything been going?


It’s been going well, I have been going to events and festivals and meeting new people!


You are a graduate from Central Saint Martins with a Masters in Character Animation, how much did your time and experience at CSM help guide your filmmaking journey?


Before the course, I did not know how to animate and now I have this film screening at festivals! The masters really pushed me to learn how to be a director and what it takes to be one. It made me realise that I am passionate about telling stories and entertaining people. The most important thing I was taught was to be more confident in myself and in skills.


Congratulations on having Floor 43 part of the Future Film Festival 2023, how does it feel to be part of such an incredible line-up of short films?


I cannot believe that my silly little story is part of this. I am beyond excited to watch all the films and meeting the people behind them.


Floor 43 is also nominated for Best Micro Short, what does it mean to get this type of recognition for your film?


It’s incredibly affirming that people do enjoy what I make! It gives me motivation to create more stories and to share my art.


How important are festivals like Future Film Festival in creating a platform for short films?


I think it’s very helpful for young creators, especially nowadays where sometimes it seems like you need to have 30 years of experience to be heard or taken seriously.


Can you tell me how Floor 43 came about, what was the inspiration behind your short?


This film is the biggest project I have done (for now!). All I wanted was a short understandable moment from someone’s life (however crazy that moment is). I knew I wanted gore in my film and when I got a rough idea of a story I asked my brother to produce a song. From that song I was able to finish the story and animate it. Fun fact: there are 43 shots in the film hence the title.

"My essays and my writing have always been terrible so I just thought I was bad at storytelling."

When working on a film like Floor 43 how flexible where you able to be with the shoot?


The only other people working on this film was my brother and his friend and they produced a song. Everything else from character design, storyboard, animation, editing to sound design was me. So technically I was very flexible, I just knew I had to finish in 6 months. I did my best at following my own schedule and gave myself breaks as to not lose my mind.


What where the challenges you faced making Floor 43?


There are so many challenges but nothing could have prepared me to the corruption of my hard drive losing all my work a month before deadline. Thankfully I had uploaded some versions online to share with people and was able to download and work from it. I still had to redo everything and redo all my files. It was tough.


Looking back, what would you say have been the most valuable lessons you have taken from making this short?


Getting a second hard drive and cloud storage sooner.


Where did you passion for directing and 2D Animation come from?


I was always into storytelling but never realised until directing animated short films. My essays and my writing have always been terrible so I just thought I was bad at storytelling. Thankfully in my first year of Masters I was chosen to direct a trailer for the London International Animation Festival after a pitch I presented. To my surprise, my trailer “KEBAB NIGHT” (2021) has gotten good response and my thoughts about being a director sparked.


How much has your approach to your work changed since you started out?


I have learnt and keep learning so much about myself and about animation, I think my whole approach has changed. I try to be more attentive to people and to their interesting and mundane stories because the interesting stories can’t be entertaining if we don’t know the boring ones too.


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


Of course! Good stories come from people who never stop learning and always try to push the boundaries. There would be no meaning in life to stay put and keep doing the same thing.


What top 3 tips would you offer a fellow filmmaker?


Keep learning about yourself. Keep learning about the world around you. Be nice to yourself.


And finally, what message do you hope your audiences will take away from Floor 43?


I don’t have any message for anyone, you can interpret it however you want it. Just don’t kill people! That’s one thing I don’t want my audience to do.

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