The Breadcrumbs widget will appear here on the published site.
Hill of the Hapersnoks
Here at Quail Bell, we love to spotlight exceptional artists and filmmakers. Our staff film critic Alex Carrigan recently interviewed Rinny Wilson, a director and member of Traveling Cartwheel Circus. She recently released a crowdfunded short film titled Hill of the Hapersnoks:
What made you get into filmmaking?
At [Virginia Commonwealth University], I intended to be a character animator after many years of anime obsession. After I started my animation program, I also took a video class. There I realized that you can incorporate the playfulness of animation into live action film, and it grew from there. I started shooting, editing and doing motion graphics.
How did you get involved in Traveling Cartwheel Circus?
My friend Andrea Stefl at In Your Ear Studios and I decided to make Hapersnoks together. The Circus is something that we came up with to represent the two of us, not just for Hapersnoks but for all of our future collaborations.
Where did the idea for Hill of the Hapersnoks come from?
One weekend three of us got together, planning to make a little film one weekend. It was never going to see the light of day. But then we came up with the idea of troublemaking creatures, and we just couldn’t let it go. Suddenly we weren’t looking at two days for the project, but two years.
What made you go with IndieGogo to fund the film?
Indiegogo and Kickstarter differ in that only one of them will let you keep any partial funds you raised. We hoped to make Hapersnoks for $6000, but we raised $2200. Fortunately we were able to cut costs and get the film finished, but if we’d gone with Kickstarter, we would have ended up with $0. Our funders made it possible.
What were some of the challenges you faced with making this short?
We knew that a fantastical story like this couldn’t be shot in a friend’s backyard. Finding the locations was very difficult. We needed a picturesque hilltop, and we needed an old, cavernous building to be 'The Author’s Mind.’ The Virginia Film Office helped us tremendously to do this. “Sallowberry Hill” was shot out on State Farm, which is land that belongs to the Powhatan Correctional Center. Dawn Blacksten from the Film Office drove us around out there, even knowing that we were a little indie group without a cent to spend. None of the spots she showed us from the car looked right, but I had a feeling we should walk to the top of one that was impossible to really see from the road. When we got to the top, we saw the trees and the lake. It was more perfect than I could have hoped for. The Pump House was the same way. Unless you go at the right time of year and on the right day at the right time, you can’t get into that building. When we finally had the chance to see it, I knew it was perfect for the scene. The building’s caretaker, Lyn Lanier, was kind enough to let us film there. We were blessed with a lot of luck, but finding these locations was definitely the hardest part for me. (Not that transporting the bedroom furniture to the top of that hill was a picnic.)
In the film description, you mention that the film was made with a “feminist process” with 50% of the crew being female. What made you choose to apply a feminist process to the film?
Whenever I walk on a film set, I’m usually one of the only women there. The film industry is male-dominated, so their films are the ones we typically see. It only makes sense that when you include new voices, you get new stories too. Aside from the fact that Andrea and I are women, that’s why we wanted to do it. We didn’t have to try especially hard. We just called our friends who were good at what they did. As it turned out, half of them were men. I really think that Hapersnoks wouldn’t be the same film if it had been made by an all-male crew. It’s got a very feminine style to it.
What made you choose to mix live action and animation in the film? Do you often use animation in your films?
Animation is both costly and difficult, so I hadn’t tried something like this outside of Hapersnoks. We chose to mix the two mediums because it felt right for the project. We considered puppets; we thought about 3D; but in the end 2D animation is what worked. It allowed us to have freedom and to be playful. We were very lucky that Flatland Creative, a tiny Richmond company, was interested in coming on to help us. Their lead animator, Mark Trotter, drew every single frame and did a fantastic job. We could have been stuck with a hard drive full of useless footage without those guys.
The film has a very unique look and style to the setting and costumes. What made you choose to go with the sort of Victorian fairy tale look the film has?
Our first idea was that the Hapersnoks would drive Beatrice crazy. The more prim and proper she was as a person, the more effective this would be. So we immediately thought of Victorian dress and hair as being very high strung and easier to mess up.
Are you planning to take this film to the festival circuit? If so, what festivals do you have in mind?
We just missed the most popular local festivals, but we’re definitely going to submit to them next Summer/Fall. In the meantime, we’ll be sending Hapersnoks to festivals on the East Coast, and moving on from there.
Do you have any plans for your next film? Will your experiences with Hill of the Hapersnoks play into the next film you make?
We’re in the brainstorming process right now, but I have a feeling the next project will be nothing like Hapersnoks. I want to tell stories people haven’t heard before, and work with voices you don’t usually get to hear. That’s going to put us all over the map. That’s why it’s a Traveling Cartwheel Circus.
Is there anything you hope viewers take away from watching this short film?
Of course, the moral of Hapersnoks is that you ought to run your own show and write your own story, but we never expected to change anybody’s outlook with a 10 minute short. We just hope that people enjoy it.
#Real #Interview #FilmMakers #TravelingCartwheelCircus #HillOfTheHapersnoks
Visit our shop and subscribe. Sponsor us. Submit and become a contributor. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.