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15th BFI FUTURE FILM FESTIVAL 2022 
17-20 February 
Interview

Miles Jezuita 
Suburb

Section: Citizens of Earth
milesjezuita.com

Compared to the bustling life of London’s City, in the quiet, static suburb, lurk foxes. Suburb is a glimpse into what mischief these enigmatic creatures wreak on their man-made surroundings.

Hey Miles, thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?

 

Thanks for catching up with us! Finishing a creative degree from home was a process with quite a few ups and downs so we are definitely taking time to decompress and look after ourselves. 

 

Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration or opportunities?

 

I’ve been taking time to work on my showreel and storyboarding portfolio, while also working at Passion Pictures as an assistant on a very cool upcoming project. I’m learning a lot from the artists there.

 

What does it mean to be screening Suburb at the 15th BFI Future Film Festival?

 

I feel honoured to have the film recognised and screened at such an incredible venue.

 

Suburb is going to be in the Citizens of Earth Section of the festival, are there any nerves ahead of the festival?

 

It’s scary to be considered among so many talented people! I’m just excited to see all work people have made 

 

Can you tell me a little bit how Suburb came about, what was the inspiration behind your animation?

 

Suburb came from my obsession with foxes in London, and how the world that they inhabit is such an evocative liminal space. They live in the dark and the silence of a usually bustling city, which must be a pretty lonely existence. I wanted to capture their experience in this film - innocent creatures grappling with their place in a world too big for them to understand. 

 

When working on an animated short how close where you able to keep to your screenplay once you started shooting, did you allow yourself much flexibility?

 

In animation you spend a lot of time storyboarding and planning how each shot will have to look. We also took a lot of time on this stage of the production to perfect how the segmented panels in the film flow, making sure it was dynamic but easy to follow. After this point, animation and layout followed the storyboard quite closely.

 

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced bringing Suburb to life?

 

We worked within Photoshop and had to come up with our own pipeline to create a drawing and painting process that felt spontaneous and not too clean, while also trying to have consistency across shots and a coherent style. Achieving this took a lot of time and work from every member of our team.

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"Animation is not one genre and I think we are seeing a boom now of more mature stories and perspectives coming into the medium, which is amazing."

Since making Suburb what has been the most valuable lesson you have taken from this experience?

 

This film couldn’t have happened without my team of animators and background artists, and the lesson I’ve learned that getting on with people and having a laugh is is incredibly important when you’re trying to collaborate.

 

Where did you passion for animation come from and how was your approach to Suburb compared to you debut animated short Hook (Pink Mirrors)?

 

My love for animation comes from a place of nostalgia and fondness I have for cartoons made in the early 2000s, such as Samurai Jack, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Cow and Chicken, Adventure Time, Avatar, and so many more. There are so many styles and stories possible within animation.

 

My short Hook had a much tighter turnaround and was 4 minutes long. I also made it without any team, so I was doing all the animation and background, cleanup and colour. This meant I was able to make decisions about the style quickly but had to find things to help me speed up the process of animating such as rotoscoping and using limited animation where needed.

 

How important to you is the collaborative process of filmmaking to you?

 

It is essential. The best ideas come from bouncing them off others, not in the vacuum of your own mind.

 

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

 

Yes, especially in animation. Animation is not one genre and I think we are seeing a boom now of more mature stories and perspectives coming into the medium, which is amazing.

 

For anyone out there thinking about making their first film do you have any tips or advice you would offer them? 

 

Just start making something, whether it’s with a phone camera or sketches on post-its. When you have something to show people they will always have something to say, and more feedback you can get on your ideas the more chance you have of turning it into something you’ll be proud of.

 

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

 

I hope people connect to the core idea of feeling small and helpless in a chaotic world. It is a feeling that is difficult to escape in the world today.