St Kilda Film Festival - Lime Green As


Despite the 100% jack-up in prices at quirky Seu-Ling's iconic lime green corner shop, customers perpetually return because they know they are buying a piece of her.

Interview with writer/animator/director/producer Helen Chun

Main photo: Lime Green As, a life-snippet of a corner shop conversation


Congratulations! Why did you make your film?

I lived a lime green existence. Perhaps the colour lime green is cool now but it wasn't when I was growing up. Working and living at the back of a family owed corner shop, I watched my quirky Chinese mother, along with her lime green corner shop, become iconic figures in the (Surry Hills) community. 

Immigration is a hot topic in the global media currently, and often carrying negative connotations. Being the daughter of a migrant I've seen the evolution and impact of migrants of a generation past. Hence, I felt compelled to give insight on how these new arrivals had significantly shaped and enriched the multicultural Australia we have today.

The animation medium has a way of disarming people, so facilitates uncomfortable topics such as racism and immigration, to be addressed in a non-didactic manner and often, provides the audience with a chuckle.

Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?

This film is a celebration of Australian corner shop history. One thing that's clear is that huge corporate supermarkets and convenience stores have all but wiped out the family-owned corner shops and replaced their quirky charming proprietors with impersonal faceless numbers.

You've either walked into a local corner shop or not. For audience members who grew up with a local shop around the corner, it is a taste of childhood. For those who equate them with convenience stores, one, they are NOT and two, it gives them the experience of popping down to a corner shop and meeting an authentic character, Seu-Ling, in an Australia of bygone years.

Visually, 'Lime Green As' provides a unique stylistic approach that is not seen in the typical Claymation set. I have incorporated my love of Dr. Seuss, Theatre and Impressionist Art. The set replicates the improvised theatre stage set which encourages the audience to push their imagination into accepting the backdrops and props as believable working pieces. My drawing style pays tribute to the genius of Dr. Seuss and the brilliance of Impressionist Artists.

How do personal and universal themes work in your film?

Tolerance and assimilation are no doubt the driving themes of this short, however there are other social themes surreptitiously emerging from the obvious. The protagonist, Seu-Ling, when asked about her mother-country China, refers to it with a phrase that is derogatory. In the 80s the phrase would have been deemed as a racist Aussie joke inciting baneful laughter.  However, the manner in which Seu-Ling expresses the phrase is deadpan neutral. Thus it leaves today's millennial audience introspecting whether they are racist if they laugh, or not if they do. If the latter, it is presumed they recognize the intention of the film, which is to highlight the irony and underlying power Seu-Ling has given herself by reclaiming the derogatory phrase as her own, and thereby evoking humour.  The ending of the film gives the audience reprieve from this dilemmatic question.

 Seu-Ling's Iconic Lime Green Corner shop, up the road from Central Station in Surry Hills (Sydney)

Seu-Ling's Iconic Lime Green Corner shop, up the road from Central Station in Surry Hills (Sydney)

How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?

Claymation is a very emotive technique and a lengthy process so you end up developing a relationship with your puppet as it is built. During this organic process there is a sense that the puppet tells you their story. So in my case, the script definitely has evolved during the process. It was originally a story scripted to portray the shop front story of a quirky charming shopkeeper but evolved into one where the audience is allowed into who Seu-Ling is and the past she has overcome.

The dialogue was derived from an existing 'talking head' interview, which I transcribed and then spliced into the story she (the puppet) wanted. I went through several scripts before the final one had Seu-Ling's 'voice'.

What type of feedback have you received so far?

Amazing! I was excited when it was selected for the St Kilda Film Festival. And then when informed that it would have its debut screening on Opening Night, I was so honoured. I met Oscar winner, Adam Elliot who loved 'Lime Green As'. Then the Director of the festival, Paul Harris, invited me to do a radio interview on Triple RRR Melbourne. On the whole, the audience chuckled and ooo-ed and ahhh-ed in the right places but there is nothing like when your fellow filmmakers express how much they enjoyed it. I've been humbled by the overall response.

Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?

I guess when you are passionate about a project and when you've been working on it intensely for a long period, you know all your intricate intention behind every action. Because my film, Lime Green As was the shortest short at SKFF (1 minute 20 seconds), I was not sure if the degrees of my intent would be read. However, the feedback so far has shown the audience to be sophisticated in perceiving meaningful subtleties. I feel Australian audiences are hungry for more serious content in the Australian context peppered with the good old Aussie irreverent humour. And it's so exciting to see all these Australian filmmakers doing just that at this festival.

What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on

Like all emerging filmmakers, I'm looking to build up my profile so I can continue making more of these films. And in the bigger picture, would like to see the profile of women directors, producers and animators flourish in Australia so instead of wishing it I got doing it.

Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?

At the moment, I've been directing, producing, writing and animating everything myself. I am currently looking for people who are passionate about getting content that is uniquely personal within an Australian context. And a crew that want to develop a working partnership with me that can be nurtured. I would love to be included in more festivals especially Australian ones and of course would love to attract buyers and distributors who are interested in 'Lime Green As'.

 Seu-Ling, more than a shopkeeper

Seu-Ling, more than a shopkeeper

What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?

I see so many levels to this question. Ultimately I just want people to meet Seu-Ling and have the opportunity to fall in love with her, just as hundreds and hundreds of regulars had done in bygone years. And as immigration is a contentious issue at the moment, I would this like this film to facilitate introspection that our multicultural Australia is a beautiful Australia due to people like Seu-Ling. She is example of immigration that works.

What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?

What is Aussie humour today?

Is it cool laugh at an ethnic joke if you are outside of that culture?

I'm a big fan of witty irreverent Australian Humour. And just as the perception of immigration has evolved, I believe that the good old Aussie humour has moved forward from jocular poking fun at oneself (and diversity) to actually using diversity as a clever vehicle to evoke introspection on Australian pop culture.  Questioning what Australian humour is today, ultimately leads to the reflection of our diverse culture. After all, the ethnic joke is doing the Aussie thing and poking fun at its own culture. However, who is permitted to laugh is debatable. I believe it lies in the contextualization of the joke to whether an outsider can join in.

Would you like to add anything else?

I'm in the process of making a long form of 'Lime Green As', as there are countless stories that came out of that lime green corner shop. However, I would love to hear from your readers their experiences and/or stories of corner shops. They can contact me on

What are the key creatives developing or working on now?

I'm currently in preproduction for the long form (series) of Lime Green As.

For further info on projects in development see my website


Interview: May 2017


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



Lime Green As

Despite the 100% jack-up in prices at quirky Seu-Ling's iconic lime green corner shop, customers perpetually return because they know they are buying a piece of her.


1 minute 20 seconds


Helen Chun


Helen Chun


Helen Chun


Helen Chun

About the writer, director and producer:

Helen Chun is a Sydney based Director/Producer/Writer/Animator who graduated from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in 2016 with a combined Animation and International Studies degree. Previous to that, Helen ran her own graphic design studio for over 10 years and now heads up Sublime Green Films. Helen's film, Lime Green As, was officially selected in the 2017 St Kilda Film Festival's Australia's Top 100 Shorts. It had its premiere screening on Opening Night.

Key cast (voice):

Seu Ling Chun

Susanna Wang

Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):

Looking for producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists


Where can I see it in the next month?

After its premiere screening at the St Kilda Film Festival on Opening Night and Saturday 20 May 7.30pm session, the film will be touring around the Victorian state.