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Student Showcase Archive

Hunting for Hockney

Hunting for Hockney is my first-year film. It is also the first film I have written, animated and directed alone and it was an interesting journey. It is a digitally hand-drawn, animated short film that tells the story of two friends who go on a search for David Hockney as an escape from the realities of a bereavement. On the journey, we see how grief can toy with the senses, change the way we see the world and heighten the need for adventure. The style references Hockney’s work throughout and the choice to create it as a 2D digitally hand-drawn animation was a tribute to Hockney’s iPad paintings of the Yorkshire countryside. 

The film is based on a true story that happened to me last year (after the death of my friend’s mother, we really did go and look for David Hockney). However, it was not my intention to make this event into a film. We were given ‘DUST’ as a brief and initially I had a totally different film idea in mind. However, as I tried to develop the original idea, I kept coming back to the trip as it was all still so fresh in my mind. I worked closely with my friend to see how I could express what she was feeling (both mentally and physically) through the use of animation. It was a very cathartic process for both of us.

In my work, I always like the making process to reflect the project in some way, whether through the choice of materials or the type of animation I choose. Originally for this film I wanted to do all the animation on an iPad and so I did a lot of test drawings and animation on location in the countryside. However, partly due to the short amount of time we have to make the first-year film I eventually stuck to a laptop, a Wacom, Photoshop, Flash and After Effects. However, I love the potential that the iPad has to allow animators to animate on site, rather than be tied to their desk.

After writing and re-writing the script numerous times, I recorded the sound fairly early on in the making process. I gathered sound effects, got friends to voice some of the parts and used a song by Tom Rosenthal for the film score. This process meant that with the narrative and timing locked down, I could focus on the animation without worrying whether or not I would have a film that would work at the end.

I have finally finished the film and am in the process of applying for it to be included at film festivals. It will be online sometime in 2014 and in the meantime the trailer can be viewed here. It is possibly the most personal piece of work I have ever made, so it is both nerve-wracking and exciting to see the reaction it will get at festivals and online.