British Shorts 2023
Handmade work can create a strong connection with people. Stay is a 5-minute animated film made using hand embroidery, depicting the relationship between a daughter and her absent father. Don’t forget to spend more time with the people you love even though you are busy.
Hello Yu, it’s great to get to talk with you, how have you been keeping after everything that’s been happening?
It’s great to talk to you as well. Thank you for having me.
All good and I’m living my life.
Have you been able to remain positive and creative at least?
Yes, of course. I’ve been keeping posting new animation ideas every week on my Instagram.
What does it mean for you to be in the Cannes Short Film Corner with your graduation film Stay and what do you hope to take away from this experience?
Actually, I didn’t want to submit to this showcase. The rejection of the Cinéfondation came with an invitation of short film corner. So basically I just did what the festival suggested and chose to use it as a way of attracting attention to the film.
How did Stay come about, what inspired this film?
Stay is based on my personal experience. During the period of studying and living in another country, I missed my home so much which made me start to think about my relationship with my parents.
Did you have any apprehensions or doubts about making a film that was so personal to you?
I did honestly. I think it took me a while to decide whether I wanted to make a film that means so much to me. It feels like you are naked standing in front of the audience and telling you story.
You used hand hand-embroidery which gives the film an incredible emotional, genuine and delicate look, how long did it take you to master this craft?
It took me around four months to do the embroidery after I finished the digital animation. It might have been longer without the help of the sewing assistants. In the beginning, it took me 40-60 minutes to finish one frame. After 2 months of sewing every day, I can finish one frame in 20-40 minutes.
The fact is I have a natural fascination with needles and thread, so embroidery is not a difficult craft for me to master. The difficult thing is I need to sew on tracing paper rather than fabric.
"For the future students, I would say don’t see yourself as a student but a filmmaker. Be bold and brave to push your boundaries."
Looking back at the making of Stay what would you say has been the most rewarding experience you have taken from this whole process?
I think I gain a lot from the whole making process. I would say the best rewarding experience it is to re-realise my passion of animation. I remember I just couldn’t wait to get up every morning to work on the film. I wish I don’t need to sleep. Besides this, I really appreciate everyone in our little team. They are amazing people and they taught me the power of teamwork since I used to work on my own.
What would you say have been the biggest challenge you faced bringing Stay to life?
The big challenge for me is to digest different suggestions and figure it out what you want for your film. This is because we had many tutorials with different tutors during the making process. They did give me many helpful suggestions but sometimes my opinion of the film could be very different. At that moment I didn’t know whether I need to change or not, but I ended up with following my feelings. So I think it is the biggest challenge but also help me to stick to my ideas and confirm what I want to add to Stay.
How important was it for you to be flexible with your process of making Stay?
Stay was not made in a big production so it gave me a lot of flexibility. In terms of the visual treatment, I finished all the digital animation by myself. And when it came to the sewing part, just me and a few sewing assistants worked in my classroom together in London College of Communication.
Have you always had a passion for animation?
I was a huge fan of Anime when I was a kid. And since then I always had a dream of making animation.
What has the experience been like being part of the MA Animation course at London College of Communication, and do you have any tips or advice to offer future students?
It could have been a good experience but unfortunately due to the pandemic last year, we had a lot of online sessions and it was hard to meet our classmates and tutors.
For the future students, I would say don’t see yourself as a student but a filmmaker. Be bold and brave to push your boundaries.
Is there any advice you wish you had known before you started out on your filmmaking journey?
Failure is normal. Stressful is normal. Being misunderstood is normal. But if you just give up doing what you like due to that, your passion might be fake then.
And finally, what would you like audiences to take away from Stay?
Always remember to spend more time with the people you love even though you are busy.