26 Apr, 2023
17 : 25
We are proud to share with our community that Year 12 student Angela Wang has been nominated for Best Student Film 2022 by Around Films International Film Festival (ARFF), in Berlin, Germany, for her stop-motion movie titled ‘Let Me’. Around Films is a network-based film collective that selects the best filmmakers around the world through the annual festival. We spoke to creative mastermind and director Angela about the making of her animation piece, the story behind it and what this acknowledgement means to her.
Creating the Illusion of Motion
A colour-popping piece of cake swiveling rapidly, a clay figure attracted by it but seemingly changing its mind in reaching for it. Angela’s one-minute stop-motion movie is a vibrant feast for the eye, draws the viewer in and does not allow a second of stand-still. Short sequences of black and white 2D graphics and bright 3D animations display a whole range of different art forms, sculpting, drawing, sewing and photography while telling the story of inner conflict.
Angela shares that the stop-motion film was her final piece in her IGCSE art course. “We were free to make any type of artwork. I am a huge fan of animation and like to make my own in my spare time. Therefore, I chose to create a stop-motion for my final piece,” she explained.
After deciding on the category of her final piece came the difficulty of selecting and finding suitable material. “The first thing that popped into my mind when talking about stop-motion films is the 3D model, and the only medium I could easily access at the time was stone clay. It then proved to be the right medium as the movements within the stop-motion film require the hardness of the stone clay, such as positioning and repositioning or forming the changing gestures of the character in the movie. The steel wire within the clay model is also worth mentioning, as it acts like the figure’s skeleton and holds the clay together nicely. I enjoyed the sewing part as well; I used very basic fabric for the clothing. I felt like a dressmaker, designing the clothes for the model, cutting the fabric and sewing the single parts together. I also wanted to experiment with a mix of 3D and 2D visuals. Therefore I chose to use not only stone clay but also included hand-drawn frame cards for the 2D animation parts of the film.” she elaborated.
The Delusion of Emotion
Angela’s movie is not only a showcase of her ingenuity and honed art and craft skills, but it also conveys a meaningful message to its audience. “My stop-motion animation revolves around the topic of mental internal depletion. The main character in the film is constantly moving between fantasy and reality; he is fighting temptations to reach for the piece of strawberry cake on the table to eat it but feels distressed and anxious because worries about his figure are holding him back. In the end, the protagonist turns to tobacco instead to help him escape reality. The strawberry cake in the film is just imagery, it can represent anything in real life that may cause internal conflict. Tobacco is a symbol of those means by which we can escape reality,” Angela added.
The clay figure’s rigid eyes and the black backdrop also transmit the character's emotional struggle, while the fast sequence of images and the switch from black and white to radiant colours assist the film in retaining a certain lightness. “I wanted to attract a broad audience and give them the possibility to relate to this topic according to their own comprehension, as I think many of us have experienced this kind of thought.” Angela’s fascination for animation started in Primary when she saw Henry Selick’s movie “Coraline”, a stop-motion adaption of the spooky young-adult classic by Neil Gaiman. “I was amazed and terrified at the same time when I saw the 3D figure of the 'ghost mother' character. It left a profound impression on me and influenced me to make the clay models for my stop-motion piece.”
Nomination Follows Determination
Angela shares her feelings when she learned about her nomination for the category of Best Student Film 2022, “To be honest, I didn't expect my work to be nominated because amazing filmmakers around the world are also attending the festival. I‘m very thankful to ARFF and my nomination.”
She also expresses thanks to her teacher and fellow students as she reflects on the making of her artwork and submitting her work to the ARFF, “We are encouraged in our art course to attend international competitions or film festivals as it helps us apply to universities. My art teacher Mr Iestyn Shaw and my friends were all very supportive of me in realising this short film. Especially when I showed them the end product, everyone was very positive and encouraging. I‘m very thankful to them for their affirmative energy towards me."
“It was my first time crafting a stop-motion film, and I had no idea how it would turn out at the end. Luckily, it seems fine!” Angela describes how she spent several months finishing the film, especially as the making of the clay models was very time-consuming. “I needed to ensure the figurine could stand straight and be strong enough to play with.” Angela’s hard-working and humble approach to animation art is mirrored in her life motto: “Only through the coexistence of knowledge and action can we perfect ourselves and become better. Work hard at what you want to do, and you will be rewarded in the end.”
Tapping into Experimental Animation
Angela is currently attending Year 12 IB courses and is already looking into universities. “I would like to pursue animation filmmaking, and this nomination will help me with my university applications. I’m planning on studying Experimental Animation in the future. At this moment, I’m looking at universities in the UK where I would love to attend the University of the the Arts London (UAL) or Edinburgh University, whereas the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) would be my preferred university in the United States.”
We congratulate our student Angela for receiving international recognition from the ARFF for her stop-motion debut work ‘Let Me.’ She is currently working on a new stop-motion movie. Renowned stop-motion director Henry Selick once summarised the art of animation with the following words, “The beauty and mystery of stop-motion are in those traces of the animator’s hands.”
We look forward to Angela leaving more artistic traces with our school community and beyond.
Angela Wang entered YCIS Beijing as a Secondary student in Year 7. She is now in Year 12, continuing her IB studies. Art has always been her favourite subject. Besides drawing and animating, she is into skateboarding, reading, and analysing movies. Angela is also an active Scorpion supporting our school’s sports teams. She has been a member of the school’s U19 volleyball team and is currently playing on the U19 basketball team. Angela has also created a skateboard CCA, an excellent opportunity for like-minded students to improve their skateboarding skills together.