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18th BFI Future Film Festival, 2024

"I think most people hear animation and just think of cartoons and dont often realise that animation isnt just Pixar and Disney which is such a shame because then they tend to miss out on all the wonderful animations that arent the usual big eyed character types."

'Just One Pint' is a short animated narrative film following Haley, a 23 year-old girl dealing with the ending of an abusive relationship. In an attempt to numb herself, she uses alcohol and cigarettes as a coping mechanism, trying to (but perhaps failing) escape her trauma.


Hi Lauren, thank you for talking to TNC. How does it feel to have Just One Pint part of this years BFI Future Film Festival?


It’s such an amazing experience to be included in this year’s festival, I still can’t quite believe it! I’m very excited to talk with other film makers and have my film and name be at the BFI is unreal. I do feel a little nervous to have so many people see my film as that’s always a bit of a scary thing, wondering what people will think especially as this is a fairly sensitive topic, but exciting!

Your previous films have had a great festival run, what has it meant you to see your films get so well received?


It's been an amazing experience having festivals reach out to me to ask for my films specifically to be entered in their festivals and even win some awards. I got to go to Brighton International Animation Festival last year and had an incredible time speaking on stage about my film and having people come up to me and tell me how much they like my film. I want my work to have some kind of an impact, small or big, and being screened at film festivals all over the world means so much to me, especially as someone who struggles with self-confidence. 

What was your time like at the University for the Creative Arts and how much did you time there help guide your filmmaking journey?


My experience at university helped me lot on a personal level, helped grow my confidence and allowed me to be who I am, but it was so nice to be around people who were interested in creating the same art as I am. Sharing ideas off one another, learning new techniques, exploring different creative paths I can take for my possible career was really wonderful. This was the same experience as when I went to the Royal College of Art for my maters. We were all from different backgrounds and sharing what we’ve all individually learnt from our own experiences was really inspiring. My time at university taught me a lot about the industry and about who I am as a film maker and it was really fun exploring and figuring out where I fit into that world and what I as an individual bring to the table and what I want to do with animation. It also showed me just how lovely the animation community is; everyone is very welcoming and accepting. 

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


Festivals are so important in getting your name and your skills out there. Not only that but they’re also just really fun to be a part of and a great place to connect and network with other film makers and creatives, which is such a big part of the creative world, especially for smaller film makers. It’s also a place to see others work and get inspired to create.

What more can be done on to offer short films more visibility to audiences outside of the festivals circuit?


Social media is obviously a really great place to share your work with people who aren’t involved in the animation/film world. I think most people hear ‘animation’ and just think of cartoons and don’t often realise that animation isn’t just Pixar and Disney which is such a shame because then they tend to miss out on all the wonderful animations that aren’t the usual big eyed character types. In terms of getting people outside of the film world to see these films, I think the most important thing is sharing the work, and emphasising that there’s some important messages behind these films, finding ways to connect to the general public. It’s not always easy.

Can you tell me how Just One Pint came about, what inspired your film?


I’ve seen one too many people I care about go through tough times and find unhealthy ways of dealing with their pain, only to then have other people say nasty things about them, saying it’s stupid or that they’re weak. Someone once said to me when I was struggling “if this is what you need to do to get through this then do it”. It didn’t feel encouraging of what I was doing but more understanding. I then passed this onto someone else who said the same thing. I think by just telling someone “don’t do that”, “how is this helping” etc will only make them feel they have one less person that they can go to for help. It’s not about encouraging the behaviour it’s about understanding the pain and not being judgmental of how they choose to cope and being there to not let it get out of hand. I want to create a bit of a better understanding about this subject as people that haven’t been through something like this wouldn’t fully understand necessarily. Figuring out what I want to do as a film maker and where I stand in the animation world really helped me formulate this project and by having a message I wanted to portray that I could keep coming back to along the way was really helpful.


"Dont put pressure on yourself. Everyone has a different way of working; everyone has a different speed of working, sometimes taking a break is the best thing you can do, find your way of working."

Did you have any apprehensions about making a film that would deal with such salient themes?


Not at all! It’s really important to talk about these things, so people that experience them feel less alone and people that don’t experience them can understand others better. My biggest fear with making any film with a sensitive topic or an important/personal message is that the points I try to make won’t come across and making sure I address the issues in the right way.

Now that you can be reflective, what would you say has been the most valuable lesson you’ve taken away from making Just One Pint?


The most valuable lesson in making this film was the importance of sharing my work with others, particularly with these sorts of films. People have told me after watching the film that they really related to the story and one even said it made them very emotional. It made me realise I did the job I set out to do, and I only hope that other people will understand why someone might have unhealthy habits as a way of dealing with emotional issues after watching it. I make these films with the aim of creating a better understanding and I can’t do that without sharing them. It’s so important to discuss topics of mental health and this is my way of doing that.

Where did you passion for filmmaking come from?


I’ve always been into art, so was bound to follow that path in some way. I remember watching someone making a set for a stop motion film and thinking “that would be such a cool job” and the more research I did about it, the more it felt right. Art is a great way to express emotions and share experiences, but I never really found my way of doing that, I only seemed to do art for fun. But through my animation work I feel I’ve found my way of communicating things I usually find hard to. It almost seems like getting into animation was a bit of an accident for me, but once I started doing it something just clicked.

What is it about 2D animation than you like so much?


2D animation isn’t my usual route when it comes to filmmaking. I like to make things with my hands and physically create the films. However I’ve found sometimes that you have to let the film grow the way it needs to and this project, though initially didn’t start out in my head as a 2D narrative, seemed to work best this way. However it has made me rethink the way I see 2D animation and how I can use it. Having characters is obviously more relatable than for example an abstract shape being the main focus of the film, and by having characters that have a simpler look to them it allows for the audience to put themselves in the film more.


Do you have a favourite animation and why’s it so special to you?


I’m not sure I have a favourite animation as there are so many to choose from but in terms of feature films, ‘Coraline’ and ‘Toy Story’ will always be at the top of my list somewhere! ‘Toy Story’ mainly because it was my childhood film, and ‘Coraline’ because I think it’s just such a beautiful film. It has an eeriness to it that I think can only be replicated in stop-motion form which is one of the reasons I love stop-motion. It has a real and tangible feeling to it. Films like Coraline utilise their style and format so well. The Other Mother’s spindly figure that, yes could be done in 2D or 3D but it wouldn’t have the same feel to it for example. I will always have a love for Pixar, as I mentioned it was just my childhood but they have a way of pulling at your heart strings that I don’t think any other big animation studio has. Their characters are more neutral as often they’re not humans i.e. Toys (‘Toy Sotry’), insects (‘A Bug’s Life’), which makes it easier to relate to strangely, there’s more room to put ourselves into the characters. I love the work by Marc James Roels and Emma de Swaef, their film ‘This Magnificent Cake!’ was my first introduction to their work and they have such a talent in creating feeling in their film through character and set design as well as their way of storytelling. I could list so many animations I like and why I love them, sometimes I love a film just for its aesthetic, sometimes for the story/message, and sometimes because it's just a bit goofy and makes me laugh, and that’s what I love about film and animation.

What does Just One Pint say about you as a filmmaker and the stories you want to tell in the future?


‘Just One Pint’ as well as my graduating film from my undergrad, ‘TWITCH’, have helped me figure out what I want to do with my films. I find myself struggling with expressing my own thoughts and feelings but have found others with similar experiences to me. Both of these films were created in the hopes of helping explain to people more complex emotions. ‘Just One Pint’ was made after hearing people say nasty things about friends of mine that were really struggling just getting through the day and wanting to find a way to show others how it feels and make them understand a bit more.  So many animations have been made about depression or anxiety etc as it’s such a good art medium to express more complex emotions that are harder to explain through words, and whilst this is wonderful, I want to be more specific. I like to help people where I can, and I hope my films make those who have experienced similar things feel less alone and more understood, and those that haven’t be more open minded and less judgmental around these topics. So many people struggle to express their emotions and tell others how they feel, I want my films to be able to do that for them.


Do you have any tips or advice you would offer anyone wanting to get into animation and what has been the best advice you’ve been given as you started your own filmmaking journey?


Write everything down. No idea is a bad idea. Something small might end up as a big project, something you might think wouldn’t go anywhere might help fix an issue in an existing project. Just write everything down, visual ideas, story ideas, theme ideas, or even something that gave you an interesting thought out and about, whatever it is, keep it! Don’t put pressure on yourself. Everyone has a different way of working; everyone has a different speed of working, sometimes taking a break is the best thing you can do, find your way of working. I’m not sure I could pinpoint one single piece of advice I’ve been given over the years but the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is the importance of sharing your work, both at the end of the project and during the process of making. It’s a scary thing that takes practice and I think for a lot of us or even most of us it will always be scary, but it will help you so much on your film making journey. Something you might think isn’t working or looks terrible or is just generally a bad idea, others might think is amazing and will help your project out a lot. Actually one thing that was always said to me and my classmates over the years is to stay organised because files get very messy and things can get lost, so be organised from the start, find your own way to doing this. A simple bit of advice that seems obvious but somehow, no matter how organised I think I am, things just get confusing!


And finally, what do you hope you audiences will take away from Just One Pint?


I hope the people watching my film will think differently about those of us that might deal with difficult times in an unhealthy way, and realise that by passing judgement will only push others further away and more towards these unhealthy habits. Or that those going through something similar feel heard and less alone.

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