Voicing Silence

Details: HD (1920×1080), 3min, 2016, TV Paint

Synopsis

How do you move forward when events from a distant past continue to cast their grim shadow on the present? Can breaking the silence ever bring a much longed for quietude? Voicing Silence is one woman’s attempt to find her words that have remained muted for so long.

Background

This film was made with my friend Abhi, who approached me with her voice recording and asked if I would be interested in make a film with it. My initial response was to use metaphor to juxtapose with the very graphic narration. However Abhi explained that the problem with this issue in India is that no-one will talk about it, so it is touched on  in euphemism, hints or silence. She wanted to challenge this silence, be direct and stir up emotions, in response to this I decided to be more direct with the visual approach. She sent me photos of herself at that age, the area, and links to things that reminded her of the place and times, so I included these as references and in the design. I also included references to Lachmi, as the young girl wearing red and standing on a lotus carpet design, and the dance she is doing at the start (Bharatanatyam) is one practiced by higher caste Hindu girls as an expression of spiritual ideals. I did this because I wanted to heighten the incongruence between the idolised feminine and contempt for women and girls that leads to sexual abuse. I also used insects as a metaphor to add an extra layer of emotion and keep the audience active in their reading of the film. After making the middle section of the film, I felt that there needed to be some resolution to this experience, so I asked Abhi to record thoughts on how she felt about it now, and why she wanted to tell this story. She also told me that these thoughts occur to her when she goes running, which she likes to do to relieve stress. I liked the idea of contrasting the present with the past by highlighting that she is now in a different place physically and mentally. The live action, jogging, black and white, northern hemisphere winter, wealthy River Thames, is a good contrast to her childhood memories in India, bright colours, heat, rich culture, fixed camera, drawn animation. It highlighted the idea of a flashback memory that still continues to affect and motivate us many years down the line.

Awards

  • ‘Best Animated Film’ – NEZ International Film Festival, Kolkata, India

Festivals and screenings

NEZ International Film Festival, 2016, Kolkata, India
International Film Festival of SHIMLA, 2016, India
Crystal Palace International Film Festival, 2016, London
Tula International Film Festival, 2016, Russia
Chicago Feminist Film Festival, 2017, US
The 5 Minute Feedback Festival in Toronto June 2017

Press

View Abhi’s Blogg here.
Voicing Silence – TMFF Critique Review.

Here is the audience feedback from the ‘5 Minute Feedback Festival’ in Toronto

Credits

Narration – Abhi Arumbakkam
Music – Nefeli Stamatogiannopoulou & Stelios Koupetoris
Sound Editor – Louise Brown
Written by Abhi Arumbakkam
Animation – Lucy Lee
Edit – Lucy Lee
Live Action – Abhi Arumbakkam
Director – Lucy Lee
Producer – Abhi Arumbakkam

Technique

Drawn on a graphic tablet in using TV Paint, edited in Premiere.

Gallery

Password: VoicingSilence