Jeannie Tse
Nomination: Best Student Film
Screening Session: Feb 28 | Nominated Films  
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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In a world where everyone's head is made of a balloon, Balloon man goes to work and passes through different balloons where some float and some do not. He goes into his office and starts to work. But what kind of job does a balloon has?

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

At the moment, I feel quite good. I am trying to stay optimistic every day and taking the opportunity to reflect on myself. My family and I are closer than ever since we are mostly staying at home. This lifestyle is becoming my new normal but I still miss going outside and breathing fresh air. Being indoors for too long could feel like a cage sometimes. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy out there! 

Has this time offered you any creative inspiration? 

Certainly, working and staying at home has given me a lot of time to think, learn and discover. I have more time to practice my drawing and animation techniques while experimenting with new styles. I also find it easier to come up with new ideas during this time as there is more alone time for me to think. Due to the situation, I experienced a lot more emotions which also became a big part for the source of my inspiration. I find myself joining more forums, discovering new amazing artists and even taking some online courses to keep my creative juice active. 

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? 

Thank you, I am honoured to be a part of the 3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival. Being a first-time filmmaker, I was so happy that Balloons got selected. This certainly makes me feel more confident about my work and myself. I am more determined to follow my passion because of it and I can’t wait to see other inspiring films. It is such a great opportunity to join in the community, meeting different amazing filmmakers and artists from around the world! 

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

My film was mainly inspired by poetry and Franz Kafka. Poetry has always spoken to me on a personal level and it could easily allow me to get in touch with my feelings without the need to fully understanding the verses. It shaped how I view other art forms and I valued more about the artistic expression felt by the viewers, than the rational understanding of the art itself. With this concept of ‘communicating before understanding’ in mind, I know I wanted to use a surrealistic setting to suggest different interpretations and establish a sense of resonance. And this was when I was inspired by the famous writer, Franz Kafka. I was captivated by his stories and the irony in it. His influences, together with reflecting on my personal experiences and observations, led to my own sense of irony that gave rise to the world of balloons. 

What were the biggest challenges you faced bringing your film to life? 

I think the biggest challenge for me was getting the mood right. Since I am aiming at projecting interpretative feelings to the audiences, I need to pay a lot of attention to the overall pace, tone and style of the film. I thought of the purpose and the effect it gives but there was a point where I watched the film too many times that I became numb and can’t decide what is good or bad. I had to take a break from what I was doing and clear my head before starting again. 

Photo 1 office.jpg

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

I think in terms of the little details like the backgrounds etc, there are things that I could improve but even so, I don’t think I would have changed anything. I like creating at the moment and flowing with the concepts and ideas. Even if there are little flaws here and there, I think it just adds to the feelings you get from the film. It is not perfect of course, but I still like how it turned out. 

Describe your film in three words? 

I would say, Kafkaesque, Distanced, Daily. 

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from? 

I always love watching films and animations since I could remember. It would always pull me into a whole new world and forget about reality. It was like magic to me, and this magic helps me escapes to a world filled with endless possibilities and imagination. Who could say no to such magic? 

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

I think the best advice I was given was to just start doing it and don’t overthink. Back in university, I was always drained of ideas and don’t know what to create or was too scared to create. I have this fixation of planning out everything in one go but the more I plan, the more I am afraid I will fail and I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything good. Then I was told to just start on whatever I have and immerse myself in the ideas, letting the details come to me naturally. It is still difficult for me to do so but it did help with creating ideas, and I think I am slowly getting the hang of it. 

"My aim is to provide this interpretative openness that could allow the audience to resonate and reflect upon their life and the world around us."

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

Definitely, I think part of the fun of creating is to come up with new concepts and ideas in the stories, techniques or medium etc. And the best way to do that is to challenge the existing ones. Through pushing the boundaries, we might discover something new and exciting, and I think everyone would appreciate seeing something original. I don’t think there is a limit to our imagination so why should there be a limit to our creation? 

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

I am still just a beginner in filmmaking and animations so I don’t think I can give much advice yet. But if I have to give a piece of advice, it would be the same as the one that I was given, to start doing it and flowing with the ideas. It helps me with my idea-generating so I hope it will help you too! 

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

There isn’t a fixed meaning behind my film. My aim is to provide this interpretative openness that could allow the audience to resonate and reflect upon their life and the world around us. I don’t want people to understand my film but more to feel it and connect with it.