Stephanie Chan
Dog Days
Screening Session: BLOCK 3 
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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A playful yet naughty dog tries to get his human's attention any way he possibly can. "Dog Days" is an animated short written and directed by Stephanie Chan.

Hi Stephanie thank you for talking to TNC, has this time offered you any creative inspiration? 

Covid has been a very stressful time for me, but I am lucky to have a family that I am able to fall back on. I am also very fortunate to have landed a job working as a CG Artist remotely from home so that definitely alleviates some personal anxieties. I don’t leave the house much and I haven’t seen my friends in person since the beginning of the year, but I am keeping myself busy to distract myself and pass the time.

This time spent at home thankfully has not affected my want to create. I have been continuously drawing, though I do miss sketching in public while people-watching. I’m also working on a couple new 3D portfolio pieces under the mentorship of Iveth Bueno who is a lighting artist at Dreamworks. In my down time, I’ve taken the time to explore other mediums such as weaving. Being on social media and seeing what other artists are doing has always served as a huge source of inspiration for me. 

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? 

I am extremely honoured to be a part of the Papaya Rocks Film Festival and I want to congratulate all the other filmmakers who were selected as well. I’m glad to know that my film resonated with people and I hope everyone enjoys it! 

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

“Dog Days” came about as an expression of my feelings about the stage of life I am currently in. I’m a recent graduate and I just turned 22 so everything is very volatile right now including the people in my life who will inevitably come and go. It’s very much about love and loss and what it means for someone in your life to affect you so deeply that they become a part of who you are in the time after they’ve gone. 

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

Covid was one of the biggest obstacles when it came to making the film. We were nearing the end of production when suddenly my university closed and I no longer had access to the facilities with the tools I needed to finish including the powerful computers and software I was using. Since I didn’t have one at the time, I quickly scrambled to buy a computer and sorted out licensing for all the programs I was using. My team was so fantastic, they really pulled through to help me in the final stretch and deliver everything I needed from them on time in order to finish despite them all being students and having worries and assignment deadlines of their own. I am so grateful for them. 

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

Truthfully, in spite of Covid and the complications that followed, I would not have changed anything about the process. Other than the biggest hurdle I could ever think of, creating the film went along smoothly for the most part because of the dedicated team I had. They really had my back and it made the experience of making this film such a joy. It taught me so much about not only filmmaking in general, but it also gave me the confidence to lead a team alone in a project as large as this one. 

Describe your film in three words? 

Bring the tissues 

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from? 

Animated television and movies have been a huge part of my entire life ever since I was a baby. I had a huge DVD collection of Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks movies. My parents told me that I was obsessed with Beauty and the Beast and I would insist on watching it everyday, something that may be reminiscent of the impact Frozen has on little kids now. As I got older I branched out from western animation and took a liking to anime and works from studios like Studio Ghibli. I have also been drawing my entire life and I love to tell stories so it just made sense. I believe animation is a medium rather than a genre of filmmaking and I enjoy it the most because of its versatility and the fact that you can make absolutely anything happen. You’re not confined to real world physics and restrictions; the limit is your imagination (and your budget). I think that’s pretty magical. 

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

Trust in yourself and the process that things will turn out alright. But if they don’t, then that’s okay too. Failure isn’t something to be afraid of, it's something to learn from. 

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

Of course! I think that is so important to keep innovating and keep things interesting. Everyone has a story to tell and it’s awesome to see new perspectives both narratively and visually. 

"Trust in yourself and the process that things will turn out alright. "

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

Don’t be married to one idea especially when you’re early in the process. Storylines and ideas will morph and change and you will find yourself scrapping and making additions, so it’s best not to be too precious with it. 

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

Everything is impermanent, so we should cherish the time we have when we have it.

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