You know the nagging thoughts that start with did I leave the coffee on and turn in to what if I give birth to Satan's baby? This hand-drawn animation explores anxiety, obsession, and one woman’s slippery hold on reality.
Interview with Writer/Director Eileen O’Meara
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thank you! First of all, I like making hand-drawn animation—especially hand-drawn animation that expresses inner states, dreams, or perceptions that can’t be represented in other ways. Second, I’ve been bothered by these repetitive voices — the voices you hear in the movie — for some time now. So I guess I hoped that making the movie would help exorcise them! And, for me, at least, the act of drawing can be sort of calming.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
I’d like you to be transported on this subjective journey through a panic attack—with all the crazy specific thoughts and fears.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
I think to some extent, we all worry about death, mortality... whether or not we left the coffee on... whether or not we’re pregnant with Satan’s baby...I find it sort of odd and funny that these different concerns can cause the same amount of dread.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
I’d be sitting in my car stuck in traffic and get absolutely overwhelmed by anxiety. Some of the repetitive thoughts were just ridiculous-- yet they filled me with dread.
I started writing them down. I thought that by writing them down, it might take away their power. I used the notes as a starting point, then did sketches and animated the sequences. After video-testing the sequences, I would decide if they matched the way I had been feeling. If not, I would try to figure out how to re-do them. Since the movie is all one shot (with no edits), I had to figure it out from beginning to end as an evolving sequence of drawings.
There is a major difference between the anxieties in my head and how the movie turned out. The thoughts seem to happen in just an instant. But when I tried to show all the thoughts at once, the movie seemed like a big confusing jumble. So I tried to stretch it out into something more fluid and understandable.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
People have been very receptive. One woman mentioned her own obsessive thoughts: Whenever I drive behind a truck with glass or sheet metal, I have to pull over because I become obsessed that they’ll slam on the brakes and I’ll be decapitated!
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I was surprised when one person found the idea of making a movie about panic attacks offensive—she had been hospitalized for panic attacks, and didn’t think it was appropriate to make light of them.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I’d be delighted if more people could see “Panic Attack!”, and my other projects as well.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
I’d be happy to talk to anyone who is interested. I’d love to reach a wider audience, and have the opportunity to make more animation.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I hope there is something you can relate to in “Panic Attack!”. Or for your sake, maybe not!
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How are your inner voices related to your perception of your self?
Would you like to add anything else?
You can see some of my other work at: www.eileenomeara.blogspot.com I’d love to work on any new animated projects. Feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I’m just starting a couple of other short animated projects. TBD!
Interview: June 2016
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Length: 3 minutes
Director: Eileen O’Meara
Producer: Eileen O’Meara
Writer: Eileen O’Meara
Sound Mix: Tim Maloney
About the creator: Eileen OMeara is an American artist known for her hand-drawn films “Agnes Escapes from the Nursing Home” and “That Strange Person”. She has produced and directed commercial animated spots for clients including Warner Home Video, Motown, HBO, and WEA Latina.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Yes!
Release date: April 2016
Where can I watch it? Palm Springs International ShortFest: June 23, 2016, 1:30 PM, Camelot Theatre, Melbourne International Animation Festival: June 19-26, 2016, FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival: August 9-14, 2016