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Josephine Lohoar Self’s Amazing Animated Film The Fabric of You screens at the New Jersey Film Festival this Sunday, January 31


By Al Nigrin

originally published: 01/25/2021

Josephine Lohoar Self’s Amazing Animated Film The Fabric of You screens at the New Jersey Film Festival this Sunday, January 31

Here is my interview with The Fabric of You Director Josephine Lohoar Self who is originally from Glasgow, Scotland but is now residing in Berlin, Germany:

Nigrin: Your lovely and touching stop motion animation The Fabric of You focuses on a gay, twenty-something-year old mouse tormented by the memories of his lover's tragic death. Please tell us more about how you got involved in making this film.

Self: During the summer of 2018 I applied for ‘The Scottish Film a Talent Network’, a scheme which aimed to foster Scottish filmmakers to make their first short film. At the time I applied to the scheme I was inspired by a number of books and graphic novels including Franz Kafka, Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk and Maus by Art Spielman which influenced the screenplay I applied with.

Nigrin: Your film reminded me of J.J. Grandville’s 19th century caricatures and George Orwell’s Animal Farm.  Were there other literary or visual elements that influenced your film?

Self: Having spent some time in Paris prior to writing the screenplay, I developed a real interest in graphic novels and comic books after hanging out in the Latin Quarter of the city (well known for its array of comic bookstores).  I became fascinated with graphic novelist such as Charles Burns, Will Eisner and Craig Thompson. Although none were as influential as the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman. When I read it I was incredibly moved by its portrayal of Spiegelman’s father’s experience in the Holocaust. In the novel Spiegelman portrays Jewish people as mice and Nazi Germans as cats, in a highly stylised postmodern style. Maus exposed me to the world of graphic novels and demonstrated the power ‘book-form’ graphic novels could have. A theme which I look to explore in my work is how the past and present interweave. ‘Maus’ moves between two timelines. In the narrative present, Spiegelman interviews his father – Vladek, about his experiences in the Holocaust, and the narrative past we see these experiences play out. Vladek experiences pan from the lead up to World War II to the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. Taking inspiration from ‘Maus’, I wanted to write a story which explored grief while using a narrative weave.

Nigrin: What techniques were used to create the look of your animation?



 
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Self: The film is predominately stop motion animation while also incorporating VFX elements. For the central characters in the film, I made custom made puppets which incorporated ball and joint armatures, latex and alpaca fur.  One of the most enjoyable elements while working on this film was having the chance to work with a fantastic VFX supervisor who worked tirelessly to create the water effects you see in the film.  

Nigrin: Your film is set in the Bronx in the era of 1950s McCarthyism. Why did you choose to set it at this time?

Self: For the setting of the film I took inspiration from Will Eisner’s epic graphic novel A Contract with God, which revolves around a poor New York City tenement. Having lived in tenement blocks myself, Eisner masterfully creates atmospheric drawings of the confined tenement spaces in which his characters live. I based the set of The Fabric of You on Eisner’s drawings, as well as Hitchcock’s film Rear Window. I wanted the confined environment to reflect Michael’s (our main protagonist) grieving mental state.

Nigrin: Are there any memorable stories while you made this film or any other info about your film you would like to relay to us?

Self: One of the most memorable memories I had while making this film was traveling down to London to record the voices of Isaac and Michael with the actors Iain Glen and Damien Molony. I got a real master class in professionalism and found it incredibly exciting to watch how the two characters, which had existed in my head for so long, were brought to life.

Josephine Lohoar Self’s Amazing Animated Film The Fabric of You screens at the New Jersey Film Festival this Sunday, January 31

Here is more info on this film and the Super Shorts I Screening:

The Trouble With Angels – Sam Chegini (Qazvin, Iran)
The innate urge to reach out to a stranger, following a chance meeting in Monte Carlo. Combined with the monochrome memories of Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, where a moment of crisis is redefined by something magical. This beautiful animation features the music and likeness of Jakko M Jakszyk who is currently performing with King Crimson. 2020; 6 min.

Tides – Andre Silva (Wilmington, North Carolina)
Filmed at Masonboro Island, an undeveloped barrier island in southeastern North Carolina, Tides contemplates the liminal space between the modern technological world and that more ecological dimension we label as “nature” or “the environment.” 2020; 8 min.

The Fabric of You – Josephine Lohoar Self (Glasgow, Scotland)  Set in the Bronx, in the era of 1950s McCarthyism, everybody wants to look the same. Michael a gay, twenty-something-year old mouse, hides his true identity while he works as a tailor.  When Isaac enters the shop one day he offers the escapism and love Michael craves. In Michael’s confined apartment, he becomes tormented by the memories of Isaac’s tragic death. Michael’s memories and flashbacks are triggered when he notices Isaac’s jacket draped on the back of a chair. Haunted by the solace Isaac once offered, he struggles to come to terms with his loss. 2020; 11 min.

Haiku – Martin Gerigk (Krefeld, Germany) Haiku is a symphonic audiovisual project for two Japanese performers, alternating percussion groups, soundscapes and rhythmicized video sequences. The film is an experimental approach to pay tribute to the extraordinary art of Japanese haiku poetry. In Japanese, subtitled. 2020; 17 min.



 
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Gloria – Felipe Vellasco (São Paulo, Brazil)  Gloria is a revenge story which happens in a near possible future, in Cuba, where the economic embargo has ended and the country faces a fast social transformation. In this context, an old inveterate communist tries to resist his family's ambitions and to deal with ghosts from the past.  In Spanish, subtitled. 2020; 24 min.

Sunday, January 31, 2021 - $12=General

Film will be available on VOD (Video On Demand) for 24 hours on its showdate. To buy tickets for this screening go here:

https://watch.eventive.org/newjerseyfilmfestival2021/play/5faa8c7b0630a100306d7346

Information:

https://newjerseyfilmfestival2021.eventive.org/welcome

https://newjerseyfilmfestival2021.eventive.org/schedule


(848) 932-8482; www.njfilmfest.com

 

 

 



Albert Gabriel Nigrin is an award-winning experimental media artist whose work has been screened on all five continents. He is also a Cinema Studies Lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Executive Director/Curator of the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, Inc.

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