BY SASHA ALEXDOTTIR
It’s a pearl-gray January day in Bournemouth. I’m lying on the cold ground in the park dressed in a sleeveless T-shirt and wondering if I have pneumonia or not after this scene. I am the first-year student of Computer Animation course and actually I have nothing to do with filmmaking (yet). But you know how it is: students from different courses help each other at no cost by participating in each other’s projects. At the moment I’m starring in a short film directed by Mohammad Mouselmani, a final year student of Film Production MA-course.
The producer, gaffer, best boy, camera operators, costume designers, make-up artists, technician and assistants – they all are students from Media, Film, TV & Music Production courses. They all are involved; they know that what they do contributes to a larger whole – filmmaking.
The film crew helps me up, wrap me in a blanket and give me a mug of hot tea. I feel surrounded by warmth and attention, but most of all I am proud to be a part of the close-knit team of like-minded people. Ironically the film we are making is about bullying and I play a victim of manipulation.
We are here to create something that we feel is important for us and for other people. Our team consists of people from different countries and backgrounds, cultural and religious, each with diverse patterns of thinking and communicative styles. The director, Muhammad, is from Lebanon, Camille, the producer is from France, Oliver, one of the actors, is from the UK, Tais, the gaffer, is from Ukraine, our cameraman (sorry, camera girl) is from Italy, etc. This is how the modern world of movie production and animation industry looks like today – it’s a creative collaboration that goes across boundaries and unites people from all over the globe.
I feel comfortable in this heterogeneous group. I feel comfortable because I like this atmosphere of creation and I like to think that one day I will also gather a similar team to make an animation about Gibraltar; kind of various thoughts and fantasies appear in my head:
Who will be the main character of my animation? Probably it will be the Rock’s history at a glance? Monkeys? Pirates in search of treasure? Or maybe the story of Yantar, a Bronze Age man in Gibraltar? Will I use 3D or mixed media?… Lying on a cold ground and staring at the sky I have plenty of time dreaming about film festivals in the future: “And the winner is…”
At that moment I did not know that my dreams would come true. The short film, product of our team’s joint efforts, Not Your Doll has won “Best Student Short Film” at Super Indie Los Angeles Film Festival and “Best College Short” at New Jersey Film Award and received nominations and honourable mentions at a number of other film festivals in 2020-21.
One year has passed since the shooting of this film. I myself became a director of a short animation Space Youth Project made for LGBT+ charity organisation in the UK. And, yippee! Just a couple of days ago I received email that Space Youth Project has been selected for Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival.
“And the winner is…hard work, multiculturalism and friendship!” I look forward to the day when the winner will be an international team from Gibraltar.