Fun, informative and engaging, A Film About Poo from filmmakers Anne Wilkins and Emily Howells deals with… well… poo. We caught up with Anne to find out more about the film and the filmmakers
What’s you background and how did you come up with the idea?
Our background is in illustration and animation, which we both studied at Kingston University. We both specialised in animation, but we still studied with illustrators, so their work and influences tended to filter through. Drawing was a big part of the course too, and is still something we both do all the time.
We came up with the idea when I saw a competition advertised for Global Handwashing Day. The competition was to make an animation to raise awareness about the importance of washing your hands after you go to the toilet. We had already decided we wanted to make a film together, but we hadn’t thought of a story – so this seemed like a great idea. The idea for the different images in the film came from looking at other artists and illustrators, and just sketching ideas together.
A Film About Poo feels like a quirky public information film, do you have others in this style – an is this an area you’d like to pursue?
Neither of us have ever made a film like this before, but I think we’d love to do something like this again. It was a lot of fun to make, and it was good to have a specific message to get across. The format – ie non-narrative – also gave us more freedom to use different types of animation, and work on interesting transitions and styles – we didn’t have to worry as much about the clarity of the story or the audience empathising with any characters.
A Film About Poo has had some success, what do you think that has been down do, and what has been the most exciting so far?
I am not sure why the film has done well. I think maybe it is easy to like, because it is bright and colourful and it’s all over quite quickly! The song is really good – our friends wrote it – and it’s really catchy, so I think that helps! Emily and I are both pleased with the film, and we’re really happy that festival audiences enjoy it. For me, the most exciting thing so far might be the premiere screening, which was at the London International Animation Festival, where we won in our category. We were so excited just to be showing at the festival, and then to win was really unexpected but very lovely! We’ve also been to Canada for the Ottawa International Animation Festival. We went there for a week, which enabled us to see lots of other films and meet other filmmakers, which was really fun. The city is taken over by animators for a week; it really feels like a community. We didn’t win there, but we both had such a good time, so maybe that is the most exciting.
How has A Film About Poo influenced your other films?
We haven’t made any new films since this one, but I think it will change how we approach filmmaking. I think we will just be more laid-back – we had a lot of fun making this film, and we didn’t put too much pressure on ourselves, but we still made something we’re really proud of. We also used a lot of animation techniques, and successfully mixed them from one shot to the next – in previous films, we only used one technique, for example, just drawing. From now on, I think we will be less rigid over how we animate.
We’re still sending the film off to festivals, so we’ll keep doing that for a while. We have already started talking about our next film. We’ve got a couple of completely different ideas, so I really don’t know which direction we’ll go in. At the moment though, we’re both working and I have moved away from London to Manchester, so we don’t live very near each other! We’ll definitely make another film next year, but I don’t know when.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Thanks for showing A Film about Poo!
Check out Anne and Emily’s work on their Anne and Emily website
• The D+CFilm International Open Screening takes place at the Exeter Phoenix during Two Short Nights, on Friday, November 27 at 6.30pm. Tickets cost £3 (£2.50). To book call the box office on 01392 667080