Substratae offers a glimpse of mythical lives glowing with subterranean energies deep within the earth's surface. A colourful array of characters interacts with metaphorical electronic components to present vignettes of activity and emotion.
Interview with Director/Producer Margie Kelk
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I made the film because people had seen the small ceramic sculptures I was doing of heads and suggested that they were quite expressive and should be animated. A friend introduced me to Lynne Slater, who is involved with animation, and together we worked out the premise of the film: there are currents of energy buried deep within the earth, and all earthly activity is governed by these. I had also been to Iceland and fell in love with the Icelandic mythology of the hidden people. My ceramic characters are hidden people in the film and interact with computer components which are metaphors for the subterranean energies.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
I think you would find the simplicity and naive rendering of the characters quite interesting and alluring. The sets are colourful and strange, and there is mystery in the film which fascinates the audience. The film is barely four and a half minutes long, yet people seem to sit there and watch it over and over again. Alan Sondheim's music complements the mysterious nature of the characters and activities in the film perfectly.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
When I was a child, I would lie down on the ground and imagine that I could enter it and be part of it. I always felt that there were currents of energy running below us, and I wanted to share in them. This feeling still permeates my thinking, and I utilized the electronic components to symbolize hidden energies or currents underground. In my view, the currents move everything and everyone; thus, they mingle in and out with the characters. The electronics become part of the natural order of things, symbolizing as they do, the energies which drive the earth and its inhabitants.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
There is really no script here; there are scenes of characters moving in various activities and interacting with each other. The film evolved organically; there was no story board or pre-established outline. Each scene organically generated the next. This seems to be the way I work.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The film has now been accepted into 22 film festivals and has won four awards as well. It is my first animation, actually my first film, and I have been amazed at how many people have said they enjoyed it!
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
No one has challenged my point of view, but people have entered into long discussions about the way in which I show subterranean energies which drive all life. Actually, no one has challenged my ideas, and no one has asked me my thoughts on a god that might regulate these energies. People have commented on the humour within the film. The film just seems to mesmerize its audience, for one reason or another.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I am a visual artist as well as a film-maker, and I hope that this publicity might lead my audience to look at other work I have done with ceramic characters, electronic energies, etc.. I also hope this film will cause people to think about the world in which they live and perhaps to question their own beliefs in the light of the philosophies expressed here.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Journalists, film festival directors and visual arts curators would certainly help to bring the film and its philosophy to the forefront. I am just starting in film, however, and I appreciate any positive attention it might receive.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I would like it to be received positively and as I stated early, I would like it to inspire people to think and question their own philosophies about life on earth.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Does humanity determine all movement of life on earth? Is there anything else which might influence it?
Interview: December 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
7 minutes long
Director: Margie Kelk
Producer: Margie Kelk
Writer: Lynne Slater
About the writer, director and producer:
Toronto-based multimedia artist Margie Kelk takes an exploratory and experimental approach as she appropriates and reconstructs visual fragments of ideas through diverse artistic media that includes ceramic sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, and animation.
Lynne Slater studied experimental animation at the Ontario College of Art and Design. Her work explores themes of nature and technology.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Release date: fall 2017