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

Miles Jezuita & Rainie Kim 
Suburb 

Section:
Citizens of Earth

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.

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

 

Miles - 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. 

 

Rainie - It is true that we all have been through tough times. I have tried to focus on what I can do, not distracting from negative thoughts. 

 

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

 

Miles - 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.

 

Rainie - As an international student, I expected to have a creative job in the UK. However, with the pandemic, I had no choice but to come back home and endured a difficult time seeking a job opportunity. Fortunately, I am currently working at a Studio Roomer in Korea as an animator with many creative people. 

 

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

 

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

 

Rainie - I feel honoured like Miles, and I think it means that the Suburb team gets the compensation for working hard for the film.

 

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

 

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

 

Rainie - Yes, I am nervous. I hope people cannot find any errors in the film. I hope our film can make good moments for many people. 

 

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

 

Miles - 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. 

 

Rainie - The original idea is derived from Miles, and then our team developed the story together. So, Miles knows the initial inspiration of the film. But I would say that Suburb came from human's curiosity about how these enigmatic creatures live in man-made surroundings.

 

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

 

Miles - 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.

 

Rainie - We had plenty of time spending how each shot will finally look. I had rendered a few different panel movements to choose the best one and BG artists sometimes changed angle or perspective as we developed the layouts. Therefore,  I would say that we had enough flexibility between the storyboard and the final look, at the same time, animators tried to stick close to the final storyboard. 

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

 

Miles - 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.

 

Rainie - We had plenty of time spending how each shot will finally look. I had rendered a few different panel movements to choose the best one and BG artists sometimes changed angle or perspective as we developed the layouts. Therefore,  I would say that we had enough flexibility between the storyboard and the final look, at the same time, animators tried to stick close to the final storyboard.  

 

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

 

Miles - 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.

 

Rainie - As a producer and compositor, I had faced with pressure to render our film's outcome with my small laptop. We had a different pipeline, not like other teams, using Photoshop as the main production program. Nevertheless, we overcame the challenge of using Photoshop and tried had to maintain the consistency of paintings. 

 

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

 

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

 

Rainie -  The most valuable lesson that I learned was teamwork is everything in the animation industry. It does not matter how talented you are. If there is no respect for others and teamwork when you are in a group, you can not complete anything alone. Having been in the producer position, I think I learned the way to work with a number of people before going to the real industry. 

 

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

 

Miles - 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.

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"I wish filmmakers keep making a variety of characters and stories in the world."

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

 

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

 

Rainie - The collaborative working process is necessary indeed in filmmaking. Since filmmaking is created by people composed of various roles, one person cannot do everything. Most importantly, creative ideas and imagination can come from many different people. Thus, collaboration creates powerful synergy.
 

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

 

Miles - 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.

 

Rainie -  Yes, they should. I think it is important that young artists keep tell their stories to others. This is because a film that you saw once when you were a child could remain in your memory for the rest of your life or have an impact on you. I wish filmmakers keep making a variety of characters and stories in the world.

 

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

 

Miles - 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 the more feedback you can get on your ideas the more chance you have of turning it into something you’ll be proud of.

 

Rainie -  Don't be afraid of showing something to the world. If there are no viewers or audience, I hope you don't lose confidence. Creation itself is an amazing thing. Don't give up creating. Somebody will find you someday.

 

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

 

Miles - 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. 

 

Rainie - It is tough to live in this hectic world. Sometimes, we feel alone in a subway that is full of people looking down at their smartphones. Like small foxes are striving to survive in an environment that changed without their will, I hope people who watched our film find consolation from living in the rapidly changing world.