A vain and arrogant youth dares to enter Baba Yaga’s living house of bones. What emerges will forever fill our nights with terror.
Interview with Directors Dale Hayward and Sylvie Trouvé
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thanks! We were attracted to the original short story by Maura McHugh because it filled the literary gap in the folklore; how did Vlad the Impaler become Dracula? Then having the Slavic witch Baba Yaga be the metaphorical mother to this legend, AND she dwells in a living house of bones, was just too great of a concept not to develop it into animation.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Aside from the visuals our team worked on for years, a good reason to watch Bone Mother is that it aims to bring the stereotype back to the archetype. Baba Yaga is not the clichéd animated witch: she’s the one who gives you the answer that you need, although it may not be the one you came for.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Aging is a reality to us all, and the quest for beauty and immortality can be a major driving force in some people’s lives. Should we accept age or risk the dangers in trying to prevent it? It’s also about the risks a mother takes for her child, and it questions what it means to be a mother.
Careful what you ask for. Curse of immortality. Birth, death and rebirth.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
Great question. For such a short story (7 min), it’s incredible how many script versions it took. A lot was changed from the original short story, and our story version evolved quite a lot, even during the production, but the essence remained intact. We incorporated peer reviews at the NFB with fellow directors, producers and other staff from the office. These were some of the hardest meetings, but definitely the most valuable; they totally changed our own understanding of the film and made it better along the way.
Whole sequences that we loved were cut by us just before we started shooting them because we realized they got in the way of a greater theme later on. At the animation stage it was just the two of us, so it was fun to have the ability to make changes quickly while keeping the production flowing.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The film visually impresses most people. We used 3D printing for most of the sets and 1,500 uniquely hand-painted faces. (Yes, 1,500!) We didn’t try to hide the 3D print look either, in fact we enhanced it to create “natural” wrinkles. People have also been excited about Baba’s connection with Vlad; it adds another layer to already rich characters.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
We’re really glad people have enjoyed it so far, but it’s just starting its festival run, so we’ll see!
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Excited to show the film community that animation is a medium not just for children.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
So far, we’ve had a great response from the genre festivals and occult/goth community, so we’d love to have more exposure in other niche groups; these have been some of the best and most encouraging responses. We will continue to make animated shorts, but hope to also create an animated feature that resonates with adults.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Not only for people to gain a greater respect for animation, but for them to look at the elderly as a source of knowledge, and to trust in their age as a source of wisdom. Also, to know that death is a part of the cycle, and through death there can be a rebirth.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Is it wrong to look for a quick fix for our aging bodies? Our technological world is making it possible to be immortal… but do we truly want to live forever?
Would you like to add anything else?
Thanks so much!!! Great site!
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
We just finished working on a short film in Portugal for three months and are gearing up to animate another in our studio this fall in Montreal. We are also excited to further develop a few short and feature projects that are pushing animation in totally different ways even for us.
Interview: September 2018
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTQIA+, POC, First Nations, scifi, supernatural, horror, world cinema. 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: 8min 24s
Producer: Jelena Popović
Writer: Sylvie Trouvé - Dale Hayward - Lanan Adcock
About the writer, director and producer
Sylvie Trouvé is a professional filmmaker and animator who lives in Montreal, Canada. With more than 20 years of experience in animation, she has worked on a wide range of productions, from education documentaries and feature films such as The Little Prince to commercials for Honda and Lego. In 2009, she was part of the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship program (Orange), where her passion for photography and animation truly merged. Subsequently, she created the abstract film Reflection in 2012. Her short films have screened at prestigious international film festivals and in public spaces such as galleries and airports. In 2011, she co-founded See Creature Animation with her husband, Dale Hayward. Their latest venture is the stop-motion animated short Bone Mother, a dark, folkloric tale produced by the NFB.
Dale Hayward is a Montreal-based animator and director with a background in 2D animation. He specializes in stop-motion and is well versed in digital media and new technologies. Throughout his 10 years of experience, Hayward has worked on a wide range of productions, from feature films such as The Little Prince to commercials for Nike, Tim Hortons and others. In 2011, he co-founded See Creature Animation with his wife, Sylvie Trouvé. Their latest venture is the stop-motion animated short Bone Mother, a dark, folkloric tale produced by the NFB.
Producer at the NFB Animation Studio since January 2014, Jelena forged her skills as production manager and associate producer on conventional, interactive and hybrid documentary and animation films. She directed and co-wrote the documentary The Knights of Orlando (2007) and edited Patrick Doyon’s Oscar-nominated short Sunday, as well as three editions of NFB’s acclaimed Hothouse program. She co-produced with Marcy Page Theodore Ushev’s Blood Manifesto (Prix Créativité, FNC 2015), Sheldon Cohen’s My Heart Attack, (Best Animated Short, Cleveland Int’l Fest) and Munro Ferguson’s Minotaur VR. With Maral Mohammadian, she co-produced Naked Island, a series of public service alerts by some of the top Canadian animators exposing the dark underbelly of modern times. Her latest releases are Hedgehog’s Home, a stop-motion fable about cherishing one’s home directed by Eva Cvijanović and co-produced by Vanja Andrijević (Bonobostudio, Croatia), which won over 30 prizes including Special Mention at Berlinale and Prix Jeune public in Annecy, and Manivald, a gender-ambiguous tale about the boomerang generation by Chintis Lundgren, a coproduction with Estonia and Croatia selected at Sundance, SXSW, Annecy and awarded at OIAF, LIAF, NYSFF, Aspen, Denver, Manchester etc.
Baba Yaga - Renée-Madeleine Le Guerrier
Prince Vladislav - Rafael Petardi
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): N/O
Social media handles NFB:
Hashtags you use: #BoneMother
Where was this filmed? Montreal
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month?
The world premiere of the film will take place at the Festival Stop Motion Montréal on Sunday, September 16, at 10 a.m. We will also be giving a master class entitled Behind the Scenes of Bone Mother on Saturday, September 15, at 4:30 p.m.