14th BFI FUTURE FILM FESTIVAL, 2021

"I'M SUPER GRATEFUL THAT THEY ALWAYS ENCOURAGED ME TO BE CREATIVE AND TALK ABOUT FILMS, SO IT WASN'T REALLY A QUESTION FOR ME THAT I WOULD GO DOWN A SIMILAR PATH."

Ismay Bickerton
Girls' Night
Animation
Section: FINDING MY CREW

Girls' Night screens as part of the BFI Future Film Festival from 18-21 February, free on BFI Player

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Four girls prepare for a night out. An ode to the lost art of pre-drinks and gossip, this short animated comedy is a love letter to chatting shite with mates. Girls' Night combines live-action footage with animation to build a world where the earrings are huge, moustaches provoke intense debate and star signs are gospel.


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

I’m doing ok! Finally back at work on set after months of being unemployed so I’m feeling really grateful to have a sense of purpose and somewhere to get up and go in the morning.

Has this time offered you any creative inspiration?

Definitely. I’ve been able to sit down and watch so many movies that I wouldn’t have the chance to normally, and practice my illustration and animation skills which I wouldn’t even know how to do if I didn’t have the time to teach myself back in March.

Congratulations on having your film selected for the BFI Future Film Festival, what does it mean to you have Girls’ Night in the amazing lineup of short films?

I’m really grateful because I’m so overwhelmed by the talent in the group, it’s amazing to be in the same group as such cool and unique filmmakers. I grew up with my parents taking me to the BFI Southbank, so it’s kind of a trip if I think about it too much - in a great way!

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

My friend Daniel Sved decided to set up a short film festival called the Indoors Project back in March, where filmmakers he knew could create short films during lockdown and release them online. I was desperate to make something but I didn’t have access to anyone who wanted to be in front of the camera, so I thought, why not try 2D animation? And in terms of the script, like everyone else the biggest thing I missed in lockdown was hanging out with my friends. I wanted to make an ode to chatting about substance-less trash with mates before a night out.

"Always get your mates to have a look at it and tell you what they think."

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

Definitely teaching myself to animate, but it was such a cool challenge. It did take many hours of YouTube tutorials and failed sketches, but there was a sense of complete control over the aesthetic that I’d never felt before in filmmaking, and that was really satisfying.

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

As my first go I can see loads of mistakes in it now! And I was editing in Premiere which, since learning After Effects, I now know is about the longest route I could’ve taken for animating. So it definitely could’ve been much more refined, but I quite like its weird hodge-podginess.

Describe your film in three words? 

Triple fucking Libra

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

My parents definitely instilled a love of film in me from a very young age – Blade Runner and 2001 were the religious texts in our house. They also brought me up on Aardman Animations like Creature Comforts, which I think is pretty clear in my film. I’m super grateful that they always encouraged me to be creative and talk about films, so it wasn’t really a question for me that I would go down a similar path.

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

 

Seems obvious, but my university tutor Katie taught us ‘if you’re not telling a story through the visuals, its radio’.

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

Always! I wouldn’t know half of the important political / artistic / historical stories that I do if it weren’t for filmmakers like that.

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

I used to be really afraid of critique, but it’s so so helpful. Always get your mates to have a look at it and tell you what they think.

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your film? 

Even just one giggle. Then I’m chuffed!

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