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Marnik Loysen  

Fri 21.1. 20:00 / Sputnik Kino 1

Avocado-Toast. An anxious millennial just wants to buy avocado on toast in peace.

Hi Marnik thank you for talking to The New Current, these have been some very strange times, how have you been holding up?

I’m very lucky to be working at Aardman, which has a great set of protocols in place for COVID and has been open since the first lockdown. So aside from the time I’ve taken out to work on my own projects I’ve been working non-stop and am very grateful! Currently we are shooting Chicken Run 2 and having an enormous shared goal like that is great to give us all a bit of normality and day-to-day joy. 

Was it easy to motivate yourself creatively during the lockdowns? 

After a period of nail biting angst in the first lockdown, I grew to find it incredibly creatively fulfilling. In an effort to find something I could cling on to in that weird time, I, like so many others, reached for every artistic and creative project I could muster. It’s the only time in my life when I’ve had that freedom; that open ended exploration time, and it became incredibly fulfilling and inspiring after a while. Out of this period grew most of the development for 'Brunch' including the script, designs and animatic. When life began to return to normal I was fully prepped and revved up to make the film.

With everything that is going on due to Covid how essential are festivals like British Shorts Berlin in continuing to provide a platform for Independent British short films?

Essential! Short films are without doubt in my mind one of the best ways to have wide ranging discussions about our existence, with different perspectives from all corners of the world. We all know how important art has been over the last couple of years and I’m so glad that film festivals have mostly been able to continue (albeit many of them online only) to help us get through!

Congratulations on having Brunch selected for British Shorts 2022, how does it feel to be at the festival and part of such an amazing line-up of short films?

Thank you, I’m delighted! There are so many talented people’s films on offer at the festival and it’s an honour to be among them. Watching a selection of selected shorts in a festival environment is one of my favourite things in the world. It’s just a shame I couldn’t make it to Berlin!


"Truly, for many creatives we hold such lofty aspirations for ourselves in our heads that we end up not even beginning so that we cannot fail."

How did Brunch come about, what was it about millennial and avocados what inspired you to make this stop-motion animation?

It was a joke that came up so often with various people my age - about how we’re all overly sensitive, avocado obsessed snowflakes. In many cases such as with myself, what was funny about it is that it’s a little too close to the truth. I can absolutely see my faults in this regard, and laugh at myself being a product of my generation and this age. It’s also funny because it is a weird stereotype that is used in relation to so, so many things. So, if you take offence at someone disregarding gender identities and spectrums, someone with a different sociopolitical viewpoint could link that offence directly to your love of avocados, etc. You can start to realise that so many news stories and culture wars are precisely connected to the generational divides that are going on. And we know these generational things have always gone on, but they seem to be more dramatic and fierce now than ever. 

It was also a great way to explore personal anxiety, because again this is linked to the generational divides I am discussing. Most people in their 20s, 30s and below will have personal experiences with anxiety and are often battling with it day-to-day. But I don’t believe it would have been spoken about in the same way 20 or 30 years ago; hence a division is built between how we deal with anxiety (and the madness surrounding us that causes it, such as social media, the climate catastrophe and the ongoing culture wars), and how are elders do/did. Not to say that anxiety is “new” by any means, but from personal experience it certainly seems to mean a different thing to different age groups. 

So from there I spent a while developing these ideas in to a very silly short film that could be both fun and a little sharp, and hopefully have a chuckle at everyone all at once - all ages and all viewpoints!

What has been the most valuable lesson you have taken from this film experience?

A lesson I am continuing to learn throughout my career is not to try and do everything yourself. Don’t let the ego take over! If you surround yourself by the right people, all of them enthusiastic and brilliant in their roles, all you need to do is oversee everything to make sure it aligns to the initial concept and themes. Be prepared to the max but be willing to scrap it all and adapt to what’s in front of you at any given moment. 

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

I’m not sure if I fully believe in pushing the boundaries. I believe we have a responsibility to be truthful, exploratory and to make the things our hearts our telling us to make. Because we are all individuals with different experiences, as long as we remain truthful our work by its very nature will push boundaries. It’s something I would love people to think about my work, but not what I am thinking about when I start a project!


Where did your passion for animation come from and how much has your time and experience at Aardman Features helped you bring Brunch to life?

I’ve always loved animation from a young age. A bit later in life I fell in love with filmmaking in general, and cinema of all varieties. I would love to make films in many different ways but animation is the only thing I’m competent in, so that has become my form! Working at Aardman has been incalculably helpful for my own personal work. Getting to work with many departments on projects big and small, many truly amazing individuals who know their craft better than anyone in the world, including the amazing directors at the company, has taught me so much. 

Do you have any advice you could offer an emerging animator? 

Just make stuff! Truly, for many creatives we hold such lofty aspirations for ourselves in our heads that we end up not even beginning so that we cannot fail. All you can do is start small and gradually learn lessons from each project. Before you know it you’ll be making stuff you’re really proud of. Try not to be too derivative - take inspiration from all around you but try to make something that feels truly ‘you’.

And finally, what do you hope audiences will take away from Brunch?

I hope they will be rolling in the aisles clutching their sides from laughter, then moments later rolling in their aisles clutching their heads in sadness and fear. I hope they leave the screening feeling disorientated, angry, lost, inspired, empty, but fulfilled.

Nah just hope it gives them a fun 5 minutes.

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